Some days, I go to the playground, looking for fun, but find that it is deserted. I can see my good friends, Ideas and Inspiration, lurking in the shadows; just out of reach. As much as I coax and cajole them, they refuse to come out to play.
Then there are days, like today, when they are already there waiting.
This morning, while enjoying my breakfast of ricotta, fruit, and coffee, I was struck by the how the flavor of ricotta mingled with the coffee. I began to wonder if it was possible to unite these flavors before they hit the palate.
Ideas told me that this might be achieved by marinating the ricotta in coffee. Obediently, I brewed a fresh cup and stirred in some ricotta. A few hours later, I was dismayed to find that there was only a faint flavor of the coffee in the ricotta.
I was about to give up hope, when Inspiration suggested that because the ricotta was now a few days old, it had already 'set' and was not open to absorbing any more liquid, but that a fresh batch would still be porous. It seemed plausible, and because it is quick and easy, I made more ricotta.
While the fresh batch drained for the requisite 5 minutes, I brewed a fresh cup of coffee and stirred in the still- warm ricotta. This time, after only 20 minutes, the ricotta had taken on a rich brown color and tasted distinctly of coffee.
Before the ricotta cooled, I tried other flavors:
coffee caramel raspberry
Moving to the savory side, I had on hand some gelatin-filtered tomato sauce that I had infused with basil and garlic.
This tasted just like pizza!
I was having a great time playing with my friends (they get so wound up), but I had other things to do (like work). They did, however, convince me to try one more thing with ricotta before abandoning it for the day: ricotta caramel.
I cooked some sugar with a bit of water until it turned dark amber, then stirred in some well-drained ricotta. I had expected it to turn out hard and brittle, but instead it was soft and chewy, interspersed with flecks of curd. Interesting texture...more play for another day.