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Ricotta cheese delight

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Kitchen Report

(Read caption) Ricotta cheese topped with fresh raspberries, dried figs, toasted pine nuts and swirled with honey.

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Earlier this spring, I rediscovered ricotta cheese as a simple dessert. Similar to cottage cheese, ricotta can serve as a substantial filling for both sweet (cannolis) and savory (lasagna) dishes. But it can also stand on its own as a low-fat, high protein dish. A recent brunch order in a New York City restaurant delivered a plate full of ricotta as the main course. And it totally worked.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in New York  for the James Beard Awards dinner, my mom and I paid a visit to Prune, the tiny, eclectic bistro belonging to Chef Gabrielle Hamilton. I had been wanting to visit Prune ever since I read her wonderfully written memoir “Blood, Bones and Butter” (2011).

Within of few steps of turning onto 1st Street in the East Village I could tell that Gabrielle had found a special place to nurture her talents. It was the trees. There was a comfortable marriage between the old boughs, heavy with spring blossoms and the solid front stoops that reached down to the sidewalk. I wouldn’t describe 1st Street as elegant, but striking in a wabi sabi kind of way – good bones, delicate flowers, and gritty concrete. For a fleeting moment, I felt transported to a European city where settling in to enjoy a hot drink alongside a bustling sidewalk of well-dressed people is a form of entertainment and relaxation. Gabrielle’s street is a tiny pocket of pleasure.

After a few paces, we reached Prune’s geranium pink awning. Even at 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, there was still a 45 minute wait. So we found a bench in an East Village garden across the street and passed the time watching small birds splash in a minute pond among stones and tall grasses. I wondered if in their leafy paradise they knew they lived in the one of the world’s largest cities? It hardly mattered.

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