Zucchini and Ricotta Bites

Hi all!

I don’t know about you, but, for me, sometimes a big ol’ meal with mounds of bread and meat is the last thing I feel like eating. Sometimes it’s the only thing I feel like eating. But sometimes it’s not. So for the days that its not I’m probably in the mood for something light but that has enough good calories to get me through the day.

So I’m sharing with you today one of my go-to filling and healthy snacks that takes about 5 minutes to make and is almost impossible to screw up.

Zucchini and Ricotta Bites

I came up with this recipe because I am currently growing some gorgeous looking zucchini on my roof and they are gonna be ready soon so I need to have a variety of zucchini recipes tested and at my fingertips when my bounty is finally ready to be harvested. Plus I am one of those girls who loves zucchini. Really, I do.

Now, you don’t have to smear your ricotta onto your cutting board, I just did that for creative effect.

What you’ll need:

1 zucchini

1/3 cup ricotta, homemade or store bought

1 lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for your pan

*This will make about 15 zucchini pieces, so you can adjust according to how much you want to make

What to do with it:

Start heating some olive oil in a frying pan on medium-low, not to much, just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan

Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch pieces, cutting on the diagonal…this will give you slightly elongated pieces which I think just looks nice

Place the slices in the pan and generously sprinkle with salt and peper

Allow to gently brown on both sides without getting too soggy, remember, you want your bites to maintain their firmness so you can pick them up with your hands

*If you end up overcooking them, just use a fork to eat

Once browned, place on some paper towels to drain off some of the excess oil

Then place on your serving platter or plate and top with a small spoonful of ricotta

Squeeze literally 2 drops of lemon juice on top of each bite – too much more and it will overpower the light flavors of both the zucchini and cheese

Garnish, if you want, with very thin slices of lemon rind, making sure to avoid using any of the white pith of the skin because it will give your bite a bitter taste

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Goat Cheese

Good morning!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I am excited for today because:

1. I am Irish

2. I turned 21 a few months ago, so now I can finally enjoy the glory of today…GREEN BEER, YES PLEASE!

3. Green is my favorite color, though surprisingly despite my abundance of green paraphernalia, I barely have any green clothes.

4. Even though I work today, I’m off at 5, giving me ample time to celebrate

5. If all other plans fall through, I live 3 blocks away from an Irish bar that I know will be a good place to get down.

6. As silly as it sounds, today marks a year and a half since Matt and I started dating, so if nothing else, I will drink to that!

I thought that in spirit of today I would give you a sort of green recipe that I tried yesterday with my friends Sohini and Kati.

One of my favorite cooking magazines, Saveur, posted an article preaching the wonders and versatility of goat cheese – as if the world didn’t already know!

No matter, I promptly sent the link to Sohini, who loved it and insisted we cook all of the recipes, so I headed over to her house to start cooking up a goat cheese feast.

Ok, so there’s like 20 recipes and there was only 3 who would be eating, so we toned it down to 2, a savory and a sweet goat cheese application.

More on the sweet later.

For the savory, we settled on a Orecchiette Salad, which we altered slightly from the original.

Our recipe goes as follows:

16 oz Orecchiette Pasta

12 oz Broccoli, sliced thin and blanched

12 oz Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

8 cloves of peeled garlic, sauteed until golden brown

Zest of 1 lemon

Moderately sized handful of red pepper chili flakes

5 oz. Goat Cheese, or more, at room temp

A drizzle of olive oil

I love the color variants heirloom tomatoes provide!

The assembly is simple,

Boil orecchiette in lightly salted water until slighty al dente

Blanch broccoli in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to keep their bright color

Halve cherry tomatoes

In a large pot saute garlic until golden then add chili flakes

Incorporate pasta, broccoli, and tomatoes into pot

Drizzle with olive oil and zest lemon

Mix together

Top with small dabs of goat cheese

Allow the cheese to soften and then stir together

This may be one of my new favorite pasta salads. The goat cheese acts as a fabulous sauce and works well with the lemon zest and chili flakes. This is the perfect summer picnic salad or side dish at a BBQ because its so bright and flavorful! The best part about this pasta salad? Its just as tasty hot or cold! (I’m eating the cold leftovers this very moment)!

Us girls ate it as our entree, but we were also making a delicious goat cheese dessert, so we wanted to keep dinner light.

For a a little more protein some roughly chopped walnuts and/or grilled chicken would be GREAT in this!

Well, I am off to celebrate a very jolly Saint Patty’s Day! Everyone have a wonderful evening and be safe!