01 March 2010

Family Cooking

Our family has been in the "food business" for the last 6 years. Like most family businesses this means work comes home with you, in our case, this is not a hardship by any means! (We always have a basket full of sample stuff that we are in the process of deciding whether to stock or pass.) We do love to cook together! We make the most god awful mess you're likely to experience, talk & like crazy and make some fabulous (and not so fabulous) dishes! Each of the girls have their "thing" and favorite TV chefs...as well as a list for grocery shopping!

Our youngest daughter, Jamie recently made a wonderful recipe that we all loved! We incorporated as many local items as possible (taking it's February in Michigan into consideration!) and used a few new ideas that I thought were really interesting and you might too! We are also quite spontaneous and this recipe contained most ingredients I had on hand! Kudos to Giada de Laurentiis as this was hers originally with a few minor alterations!

1/4 Ciabatta bread loaf, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla Sugar (recipe at bottom if needed)

1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Vanilla Sugar
1 cup fresh Blueberries
8 fresh Strawberries, hulled and quartered
8 fresh Blackberries

1 1/2 cup Ricotta, whole milk (I used Four Corners Creamery Ricotta)
3 teaspoons Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh Mint Leaves, sliced

Vanilla Sugar:
2 Cups Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
Process in food processor until combined evenly.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl toss together bread cubes with melted butter and sugar. Bake in a single layer for 8-10 minutes, until golden and cool completely.

For the syrup: Bring juices and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add berries and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.

For the cheese:
Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Construction: In a shallow bowl, spoon out cheese and flatten slightly. Top with berries and garnish with croutons and a mint leaf!

Can't you imagine this dish in early summer when all of the berries are fresh?!?! Enjoy!

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