July 12, 2016

Creamy Ricotta Tomato Aspic

Cheese making season is finally upon me. I say "finally" because all my does have needed milk stand training. Between that and only milking once a day, it's taken awhile to get up to my usual cheese making schedule. Anyway, making cheese means making whey, which means making ricotta. I make a simple whey ricotta without additional milk (recipe here). The ricotta is a welcome byproduct, and I don't need to add milk to make more; rather, I need to find ways to use it up.

Some of my favorite ways to use ricotta are fat-free biscuits (recipe here), gelato (recipes here), and gnocchi (recipe here). The idea for a ricotta aspic occurred to me when I was looking for side dishes for last Saturday's dinner of chevon ribs. I had corn on the cob to steam and deviled eggs are a always good, but what else? I have plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers, so why not salad? And for a change, why not a gelatin salad? I hacked the tomato aspic recipe from Joy of Cooking, and even though Dan thought it looked weird, I thought it was pretty good.

A nice change of pace.

Creamy Ricotta Tomato Aspic
  • 3 cups tomato soup base (recipe here), or tomato or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup soft ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp powdered plain gelatin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I added salt because my ricotta wasn't salted)
  • 2 cups finely chopped vegetables (I used tomato, cucumber, and black olives)

Dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup cold tomato juice. Set aside. Blend remaining ingredients except vegetables and heat. When hot, stir in the gelatin mixture and chopped veggies. Pour into a mold and refrigerate until set.

This gives us another way to eat fresh vegetables, plus the additional benefit of adding more gelatin to our diet. Dan has trouble with his knees, and gelatin has helped a great deal. (You can read my research in this post, "Kris's Turn. Poor Kris." We get a lot of gelatin in soups and gravies made with bone broth (recipe here), but in summer we tend to eat less soups and gravies. This seems like a perfect way to continue to incorporate gelatin in our diets. Some aspic recipes call for broth as the hot liquid so next I'll try bone broth for that.

I've never been cared for jello, but this is different and I like adding simple nutritious variety to our diet. Maybe I need some fancy gelatin molds to make it look prettier. That and a bed of lettuce (out of season here) would be nice. Next time I'm in the thrift store I'll see what I can find.
Creamy Ricotta Tomato Aspic © July 2016 by

22 comments:

Kathy said...

Looks like spam with veggies. =) Try a Bundt pan or muffin pans you already have. Silicone jello mold or one of those old-fashioned copper ones would be fun. I see those at the thrift store often. BTW - ricotta freezes well if you're planning to use it in something like lasagna or a dessert sauce/cheesecake. The texture changes, so I wouldn't plan to use it plain though. Good luck experimenting! Thanks for sharing!

Farmer Barb said...

Somehow, I want to see chunks of white in there for visual appeal. It sounds delicious!

Leigh said...

Spam with veggies, LOL. +1 for freezing ricotta. I find it freezes very well for my favorite uses.

Leigh said...

Tasty it was, Visual appeal, less so. The chopped cucumber is pale green, but what would you use for white?

Debby Riddle said...

What a good idea, looks lovely!

Renee Nefe said...

while my family would eat all of that separately, together...er not a chance. lol ;) glad you were able to do this though.

Lynda said...

I agree this is not pretty but I would love the flavors. +1 for molding in a bundt pan, it makes for a nice presentation. Traditionally in the south, a dab of mayonnaise is served on top. Some even make a thin mayonnaise aspic layer molded and hardened before adding the tomato layer. That might improve the appearance and flavor; and you could make a base of whatever greenery you currently have - any summer spinach, radish tops, young mustard leaves or dandelion... shredded is okay if nothing is pretty whole.
I thought the black olives looked strange there. Plus you had to buy them. Other good choices in aspic are diced celery, chopped parsley or celery leaves, just use your imagination and work with what you have.
I am definitely going to make this as soon as the tomatoes exceed our ability to consume them - not yet this year.

kymber said...

Leigh - you know that i always appreciate all that you do...but i'm with Dan on this one. i'll pretty much try anything once...but please don't send me any of that - bahahahah! but i am very proud of you finding another way to use your ricotto!

sending much love! your friend,
kymber

Lynda said...

I sent you a message in the comments to your old post "Kris's Turn. Poor Kris." I have some information that might be helpful to Dan.
As for other food sources of gelatin, I am sure you have noticed how broth from long-cooked chicken jells. Lots of uses for this delicious gelee, as well as just eating the (melted) broth in soups.

DFW said...

Agree with all on the looks, but I think I would try it & bet I would like it. As usual, good job on finding new ways to eat whey!

jeaniebabb said...

Chopped hardcooked eggs would add white and yellow

Leigh said...

Seems anything could be put in it, doesn't it? Some of the Joy of Cooking recipes use broth as the liquid and add meat, although I'm not to sure about that one. :)

Leigh said...

Debby, thanks!

Leigh said...

Well, apparently Dan too. He doesn't like anything in his jello. :)

Leigh said...

Aw gee, and I thought the black olives were pretty clever. :) Actually, I'd have to buy celery too, since it's a cool weather crop.

Leigh said...

Dan is definitely a traditionalist when it comes to food, with the exception that he will eat anything he has to kill because he doesn't like feeling like its life was a waste. I've actually never had tomato aspic before, although recipes abound. My family did the traditional canned fruit in jello, or a layered Christmas salad with one layer containing sour cream. If I hadn't used the ricotta, it would have been clearish, I think and perhaps more appealing (?) I liked it with the ricotta though, so I'll never know!

Leigh said...

Thanks Lynda! I do make and use a lot of bone broth: in gravies, soups, and to replace water when I cook rice. Some of the recipes in Joy of Cooking use soup stock as the base in the aspic and added meat. Not sure about that one but I might sometime do half and half with the broth and tomato juice with the gelatin. If I did that it would have to be plain though, because Dan doesn't like "stuff" in his jello. :)

Leigh said...

It actually looks better in real life. :) Taste is very good, so as has been suggested a fancy mold and a bed of greens would help, And I like Lynda's idea of some sort of salad dressing drizzled over it too. Presentation is so much of food, isn't it?

Leigh said...

I want to add that I don't think the light green plate helped, but it was the one I grabbed when I turned it out of the bread pan. :)

1st Man said...

Hmm...I think it looks good and I'd certainly try it. Not sure 2nd Man would go for it though, he's a bit "texture" person. If the texture is odd, he won't like it. But I might just have to try this sometime. I just posted an Amish mustard egg recipe that seemed odd but we love it...hmm, wait a sec... Kymber said she wouldn't eat that either, ha!!!!

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Sandy said...

Leigh,

When I first looked at your picture, I thought you created an olive loaf (lunch meat). Then I read your post. This is something a tad different,I'm sure it tastes really good.