Loads of stuff in the fridge and cupboards to get rid of (leftovers, sort of, yet again – oh, the kinship!). With the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses I bought for a recipe I did not end up making, I threw together a ricotta-mascarpone pie with a gingersnap crust. I don’t know why.
Cheeses – pie to die for
The pie makes me think of my dear Italian friend in Iceland and the impossibility and rarity of finding ricotta and mascarpone in that far-flung island nation. When she visited me, she wanted to buy ricotta to take back – and of course that was the one time it could not be found. But then, although Iceland has some great dairy products of its own (skyr and Icelandic butter being the best!), some of the cheeses leave much to be desired.
Ricotta-mascarpone pie recipe 1 cup ricotta cheese 4 ounces/115 grams mascarpone cheese 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350F/175C
Crust: About one cup of crushed graham crackers or gingersnaps, melted butter – press into a pan, bake at 350F for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven before pouring in the ricotta mascarpone filling
Filling: Mix ricotta, mascarpone, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat until smooth. Pour into pie crust.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Chill for at least a few hours, if not overnight. Should be cold and firm when serving.
Leftovers leftovers leftovers. I had some rice and some chicken, so I tossed it all together to make chicken and prawn fried rice. I never used to be the type of person who casually prepared anything – from scratch or from leftovers (when it comes to cooking). It seemed like no matter what I cooked, I had to think about it and plan it. Now I have become something else. The casual cook who can throw things together.
I have always been able to bake casually, quickly, without a plan but always organized. Even when I made vanilla orange biscotti the first time and subsequent times, I substituted the required orange liqueur with orange juice. This time, for the first time, I was so prepared that I even had Cointreau on hand. Imagine that.
Cointreau-ified vanilla orange biscotti
Vanilla orange biscotti (did with Cointreau this time)
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (first few times around, I used orange juice but this time made use of Cointreau)
1 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest of an orange)
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup sliced/slivered almonds
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 175C.
Mix all ingredients together (except the egg white at the end, which is for brushing onto the logs of dough), adding the dry ingredients only at the end, just before the almonds, which will be added last. The dough is very sticky, so handling it will require either that you flour your hands or keep wetting your hands with cold water. Make two logs with the dough, each about 2 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch tall. (You will need your hands for this, and this is where the sticky part gets… stickiest!) Whisk the egg white and brush it onto the dough logs (will help them lightly brown).
Bake 30 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, slice the logs into 1/2 inch slices and turn them on their side. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C and bake on each side for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Sometimes I feel a lot like leftover ingredients. You buy a bunch of stuff for a specific recipe you really want – but then you may be left with ingredients. You make something out of what’s left because you don’t want to waste it. It’s in your face, in your fridge or cupboard – but you don’t want the ingredients and don’t really want whatever it is you will make out of those leftovers. Whatever it is will suffice, but it’s not the plan, not the dreamt of piece.
Today someone I don’t even know mentioned something to me about how he likes me, and then said, “Can you imagine being your real self and still be loved and appreciated?” It’s a good and fair question. It sounds a bit self-pitying, but I can’t actually imagine that. I am always and immediately skeptical, and I suppose this stops the sense or belief that it is possible to be appreciated simply for being who I am in any given moment – in the now. For a bunch of different reasons, I imagine people “like” me for some other reason – not me. This is how I am like a leftover. Someone might turn to me (i.e. “like” me) in the absence of someone or something else that was the first choice. I have a complex about being the “side dish” or “consolation prize”. Who really knows me anyway? Anymore, probably not many – because why should I let them? It is a self-defeating catch-22.
This was not my point, though. The point is that leftover ingredients have led me to bake one of my traditional, original recipe pumpkin pies. I have a big container of cream, loads and loads of brown sugar, tons of eggs… so pumpkin pie seemed like a delicious plan.