Honey Vanilla Ricotta with Fresh Berries

It’s summer! Make use of your stash of berries with this simple and super quick dessert. Sure to be a crowd pleaser (for kids and adults)… Enjoy! Recipe is below (and in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, page 110) AND you can also watch me make this on my youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvHnOrIlE

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Fresh Fruit with Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fruit: (feel free to make your own berry combo!)

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 pint blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination

5 large fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (2 tablespoons) plus 4 large whole mint leaves for garnish

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Whipped Ricotta:

1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom


In a medium bowl, toss to combine the fruit salad ingredients.

Put the ricotta, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Process or whip until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time for dessert.

To serve, divide the fruit into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of the Honey Whipped Vanilla Ricotta and garnish with a mint leaf.


Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Summer means sweet, ripe tomatoes in abundance and I just love when they start going off like wildfire in the garden and at farmers markets. This is usually the signal for me to start making big batches of  tomato sauce, freezing in abundance and roasting and snacking endlessly on cherry and grape tomatoes. And, of course, there’s one of my favorite tomato stand outs – the tomato sandwich. Bright, sweet, acidic, of the earth – it’s truly a summer delight – and here’s my take on it.


Heirloom Tomatoes Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta


Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Yield: 4 servings


For Basil Lemon Ricotta

1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained (I use Angelo and Franco brand ricotta)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest from one lemon

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 small garlic cloves, minced

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


For Sandwich

1 small ciabatta loaf or sourdough boule, cut in half widthwise and lengthwise, seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, different colors if possible, cut into ¼- and ½ -inch slices

16 medium basil leaves, hand torn

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Spread basil lemon ricotta over toasted ciabatta and arrange 1 layer of heirloom tomatoes on top.

Put some of the hand torn basil on top of the first layer of tomatoes and then add another layer of tomatoes.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Roll up your sleeves and dive in.



Week of recipes in review: asparagus, chocolate, cherries and strawberries

Just in case you missed last week’s recipes and/or are trying to plan your weekend menu and shopping list, don’t forget about these goodies which I posted on my blog last week.


Recipes in Review June 16 Week

Strawberry Kale Salad (top left)

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis (top right)

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta (bottom right)


Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus

Seeing the first stalks of asparagus at the farmers market means Spring has sprung… and when they start to thin out, it means Summer is on its way. Asparagus is nearly all but gone in Southern California, but I managed to get my hands on some the other day and made this delicious and very quick dinner dish. Here’s to another day of Spring!


Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small shallot, diced small, 2 tablespoons

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to seasoning

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

½ pound angel hair pasta

½ pound asparagus, bottom of stems trimmed, stalks sliced into1/8-inch rounds, tips kept whole

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta, drained *


In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt.

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). 30 seconds before pasta is finished, add asparagus to the pot.

After 30 seconds drain the pasta and asparagus, without rinsing, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.

Return pasta and asparagus to the pot and add the olive oil, parsley and contents of the small bowl. Mix to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta, if needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice.

Divide onto plates and top with a dollop of ricotta. Finish the dish with a touch of freshly ground black pepper (over the ricotta) and a drizzle of olive oil.


* Have you tried Angelo and Franco ricotta? It is made in downtown LA (they sell it at Whole Foods in Los Angeles). If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it – it’s creamy, thick and the taste is pure heaven!