Monday, August 2, 2010

CSA Meal #1-Ricotta Stuffed Peppers

So we started getting deliveries from a fabulous farm up in Yolo County. I have a great affection for Yolo, having spent 7 years in Davis. The folks who run the farm are second generation farmers and second generation UC Davis grads, so yay!

I can tell already that something this Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) thing is going to do is get us thinking more creatively about our food. As part of the first box, we got an enormous bag of smallish yellow peppers, not bells, more like the tapered Italian kind. Also, a bunch of purple basil and a huge-ish musk mellon. Among other things, but this is what I'm dealing with currently.

So what to do with these little guys? The answer was Grilled Peppers with Herbed Ricotta.

For fresh ricotta, I used Michael Chiarello's recipe which is basically this: 1 gallon of whole milk, 1 quart of buttermilk, mix and cook over medium high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom so it doesn't burn, until the curds separate from the whey. Then remove it from heat, ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined strainer to drain, and let it sit there for like 20 minutes. This makes about 4 cups of cheese.

Here is what it looks like draining.

And here's what it looks like done. Kind of like really small curd cottage cheese.

So I took the peppers, cut off the tops and pulled out the seeds, and rubbed them with olive oil. Here they are being prepared to grill.

Then I grilled them over medium high heat until they were a little blistery and soft, but still held their shape.

I mixed minced garlic, fresh chopped basil, kosher salt and dried Italian herbs into the ricotta until it looked nice and herby. This is really up to you. I used 1 tsp each of minced garlic, fresh basil, and dried herbs for 1 cup of ricotta, and about 3 biggish pinches of kosher salt. Taste as you go. Here is the herby cheese.

When the peppers were done and still hot, I spooned the cheese mixture into them. That's it. Here they are. YUM.

I served them with half the musk mellon cut into slices and wrapped in prosciutto. It was delicious and super easy. The hardest part was making the cheese, and that wasn't really hard, it just took a little while (about 30 minutes to cook). Ta da!

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