Summer ain’t over yet

Peanut butter and grape jelly ice cream

As it’s National Peanut Day (Sept. 13th) and fortunately we don’t have an allergy to stop us, I made peanut butter and grape jelly gelato because man, it is still warm around here. I know it’s been quiet on the blog but there has been little things adding up to a pile of things and we all know how that goes. It’s those days that I feel like eating gelato – screw the cone, just give me the whole container and a spoon.

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I guess I’m on a ricotta roll…

Crostata with coffee and sambuca-flavored ricotta
Crostata with ricotta, coffee, and Sambuca

A couple of days after I vowed to brave the heat of the kitchen and bake like nobody’s business, the day temps dropped just enough to make life bearable and rainclouds arrived to drench our sun-parched surroundings. I used the broiler element, made pizza, bread, baked a mussel and rice casserole, and lastly, Casatella Terracinese, another crostata from one of my favorite blogs on Italian cuisine – Polenta e Baccala. This one mentions the use of sheep’s milk ricotta but I used the regular type, undrained, and flavored it with the coffee, cocoa powder, cinnamon and Sambuca called for in the recipe. I used my own sweet pie dough pastry as I prefer less sugar.

If you have time, do take a look and read more about this dessert from southern Italy. It is so good that it does not last long in our house.

If I’m going to ‘bake’ in this heat, may as well go all the way

Sheep milk ricotta and cherry jam tart
Sheep’s milk ricotta and cherry jam tart

Weather alert! We go through this every summer when the digits edge past 30°C, the humidity is up to 70%, and all I can think of is getting through the day without being too much of a grump for dealing with the heat. We don’t have air-con (it’s just not done in your typical Italian home and it is expensive!), and while an inflatable pool brings some relief, the wasps feel the same way and come around for a drink while we’re in it.

What to do then? Well, for awhile I was content to do the minimum of household work, garden stuff, and catching up on tv series, but that gets old real fast for what is morning coffee without homebaked goods to go with it? For the rest of the month I intend to try recipes, be it sweet or savory, from a long list of bookmarks. The only criteria is that it must include turning on the oven.

First off: a delicious sheep’s milk and cherry jam crostata by Polenta e Baccala. A crostata is equivalent to a tart, and if you don’t have sheep’s milk ricotta, no worries, regular ricotta works fine too. Recipe/post in english.