Fish Out of Water


It’s that time of year again; the tail end of the school year when buying groceries is a gamble. Am I really going to use this stock of brussels sprouts or this whole bag of spinach?  With the excitement/craziness of finals week it’s hard to plan more than 24 hours ahead. So it’s at times like these when I go into a kind of Chronicles of Narnia mode. Instead of climbing into a wardrobe to reach mystical lands, I stare into my pantry until I find interesting dinner items.

It is also apparently prime time for meyer lemons. My co-worker brought in a huge bag of them from her tree early last week and I’ve been puzzling over what to make with them since then. Luckily I happened to have some homemade ricotta (recipe link below) that my mom and I whipped up during Thanksgiving week and it was calling out to the lemons. I also happened to have some black garlic, which is a great thing and loves to be mashed into cheese.

If you are sardine adverse, leave off the sardines.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch truffle salt (or normal salt)
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 5 cloves black garlic
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 cup orzo (dry)
  • truffle marcona almonds (plain old marcona almonds will work too)
  • 1 big handful arugula
  • 7 kumato tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 sardines in tomato sauce (or not in tomato sauce)
  1. bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of truffle salt or normal salt
  2. slice lemons thinly (remove seeds), saving the butts for the juice, slice 2 cloves of the black garlic
  3. cook the orzo 8-10 minutes or until done and drain
  4. meanwhile heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add the sliced black garlic and lemon, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lemons soften
  5. remove skillet from heat and add capers, stirring to coat
  6. in a shallow bowl crush remaining black garlic cloves into the ricotta, squeeze the lemon butts into the mixture. crush pepper corns with a knife and mix into the ricotta
  7. when orzo is cooked and drained, move to a large bowl or back into the pasta pot and immediately stir in the lemon-caper-black garlic mixture
  8. then stir in the ricotta mixture, mix until fully incorporated
  9. slice arugula and add into the warm orzo mixture
  10. serve in bowls then slice tomatoes and chop marcona almonds and sprinkle over the top
  11. then top with the sardines and you have a fish out of water

© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Giant Pumpkin Cookies with Spiced Ricotta Frosting

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad
Pumpkin everything.


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cup raw sugar +a little extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 walnuts (optional)

spiced ricotta frosting:

  • 3 cups Ricotta
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  1. pre-heat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment
  2. beat together butter and sugar with a fork in a large mixing bowl
  3. add egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree stir until combined
  4. add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and mix until combined
  5. spoon cookies onto baking sheet and cook for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown
  6. remove and let cool
  7. in a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together all ingredients for ricotta frosting until fluffy
  8. spread ricotta mixture over the cookies and sprinkle with remaining sugar, press a walnut on top
  9. great with chai tea. or red wine, as is everything

© 2014 – 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.


I was shocked by how easy it was to make this delicious cheese at home in less that 24 hours. Ricotta is great because of its versatility; we used it for a great dinner on fresh pasta and also had it for dessert on top of cake. We got inspiration and the recipe from Bon Appétit.
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  1. Bring milk, cream, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice; stir gently until mixture starts to curdle. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth set over a medium bowl. Chill until cheese is spreadable, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours (the longer it strains, the thicker it will be).

Original recipe:
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

After making the cheese, you’ll have quite a bit of whey leftover but don’t toss it! There are lots of interesting and useful ways to utilize it. This article explains all you ever wanted to know about curds versus whey:





© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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