Monday, July 4, 2011

Healthy Summer Snacks

Ricotta with Honey

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I was indulging myself today with one of my favorite super easy dessert snacks when I realized I needed to post them on my blog. The first dish is something I picked up from watching Lidia's Italy and before I knew it, it has become one of my favorite healthy snack. Lidia used to feature local dairy and produce farmers in her show and most of the time when ricotta is featured, it is always served with either homemade jam or local honey. Every now and then, fresh fruits especially berries are thrown in as well. I have to say my curiosity got the better of me one time and the end result is a very simple dessert that does not even require any cooking or measuring. To start, all you need is a big scoop of cold ricotta cheese (or two if you want second helpings) and drizzle in your favorite honey enough to allow you to have a bit of honey with every spoonful of ricotta . Throw in some fresh berries and voila, instant snack.

Yogurt with Strawberry in Balsamic Vinegar

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This second snack is equally simple to prepare as the snack featured above. How I came across this dish escapes me but it is really the perfect way to cool down during the hot summer season when strawberries are aplenty. The way you prepare the strawberries though might freak out some people but the combination of flavors really work. To start, you will need about 2 cups of strawberries. I prefer to hull and slice them in half. The next step is to add 2-3 tbsp of white sugar and 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Mix well to coat the strawberries and cover with a clingfilm and let the mixture rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes to one hour. This process is referred to as maceration and the idea is that the vinegar somehow enhances the flavor of the strawberry by bringing out the sweetness of the fruit.  When you are ready to serve, take a scoop or two of plain yogurt (or vanilla ice cream) and place on a bowl. Top with the strawberries and garnish with a chiffonade of a couple of basil or mint leaves. Truth be told, I eat this dish without the garnish. I still can't get over the fact that I'm eating basil leaves with strawberries and the mint, I just don't care for it. As they are, the macerated berries are good enough to eat but the yogurt or vanilla ice cream balances out the tartness of the vinegar and believe me, you'll be truly amazed.

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