Monday, July 28, 2008

My weekend in food

After having procrastinated on making the trip across town to the Westside Market all week, the bf and I finally boarded the M116 on Friday and went shopping. This is the one thing I feel deprived of in my neighborhood. We have a million little produce stands which provide a steady stream of avacados, onions and tomatoes and our big grocery store is good for buying all the necessities: milk, bread, cat food. But if we ever want any type of specialty food or some really good produce we have to trek from the East River to the Hudson to go to one of the good markets near Columbia University.

Ahh, the Westside market, how I love thee. Upon exiting the bus I begin to salivate in an ever-so Pavlovian manner knowing what awaits. The produce that sits in pyramids in front of the entrance beckons to me, begging me to sample. And the strawberries and peaches are so fragrant in the sunshine that I can't resist a little taste. I weave my way through the isles, testing ripeness and munching on free samples along the way (and free samples are abundant so I never worry about coming hungry). I always leave, paying probably a bit too much, completely satisfied with my bounty of delicious goodies. This weekend's menu: Tomato and goat cheese tart (my mom's recipe), falafel, lasagna (which actually ended up being eggplant lasagna, the result of buying all the fixin's for lasagna and realizing you have no noodles) and Sunday morning pancakes.

For a moment this weekend, the humidity and heat subsided just long enough for me, the bf and the dog to emerge from our apartment, blink into the bright sunlight, and head down to Central Park for some much needed Vitamin D. I soaked up some sun and watched a pitiful game of softball between two ragtag teams of news anchors and staff while the dog and bf wore themselves out playing fetch and tag.

Sunday was filled with glorious storms that soaked the earth and left lovely wisps of clouds in their wake. When the skies finally cleared and the cool of the evening began to set in, we strolled down the river and over the foot-bridge to Ward's Island and picked some fresh lavender and thyme. Deciding something fresh and sweet was in order we made our way home. Here's what I came up with:

Fresh cherries and ricotta tart
1 1/2 cup halved and pitted fresh cherries
3/4 cup ricotta
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey
6 sheets phyllo dough (although you can also use puff pastry)
3 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together thoroughly the ricotta, honey and vanilla. Layer the sheets of phyllo dough one on top of another, brushing each sheet first with butter. Fold the layered sheets in half and roll a small lip around the four edges and brush the lip with butter. Place the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread the ricotta mixture in an even layer over the dough, leaving the lip uncovered. Sprinkle the cherry halves evenly over the ricotta. Bake for about 25 minutes until the dough is puffy and golden.

It was delicious! And fairly healthy as far as desserts go. Now my aunt has just emailed me about icing filled cupcakes and I find myself dreaming up tonights dessert before I've even finished digesting breakfast (which happened to be leftover cherry ricotta tart, mmmm)!

No comments: