peaches

Stone Fruit Ricotta Crostinis

Do you ever just need a break from it all? I don’t mean, like, go all Eat Pray Love on me. More like, when you wake up one day and you just have this moment of clarity. You don’t feel like cooking, or thinking about cooking, or writing about cooking, or photographing cooking. And it is summer and you are traveling for weeks on end – work, vacations, weddings, blah blah blah. And so you just don’t.

You hear me? Or is it just me? Well, that’s been my summer so far. And I am perfectly okay with it. I certainly have not sworn off cooking, and I have eaten well, in my home and otherwise.

But today — today we are back. Playing and experimenting and taste testing. It feels good.

I can hardly call this a recipe, but it’s a start. Pack these up for your next picnic or outdoor movie or winery visit. Or serve them at a party. Embrace the art of not cooking.

Stone Fruit Ricotta Crostini

For each person:
2 slices baguette or small ciabatta bread, grilled or toasted
2 tablespoons ricotta
Freshly ground black pepper
About 4 thin slices stone fruit (eg, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries), peeled if desired
1 slice prosciutto or Serrano ham,  if desired, torn into pieces
Honey, balsamic vinegar, arugala, if desired

Spread ricotta on bread. Sprinkle with pepper. If desired, drizzle lightly with honey or balsamic vinegar. Place fruit slices over ricotta. Top with prosciutto. If desired, garnish with arugala, or serve alongside.

Chicken and Peaches Platter

Rotisserie chicken is a great gift to a busy cook (or non-cook). It is flavorful, fall-off-the-bone tender, and a versatile protein source. The best part? It is very economical: at my neighborhood grocery store, a chicken goes for $7.50 during the week and just $5 on Sundays. Roasting thr chicken yourself isn’t pricey, but I don’t think I can beat that deal.

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Whether from-scratch or rotisserie, I love having a chicken on Sundays and portioning out several lunches that won’t leave me bored or headed for takeout. I picked up a few fresh local peaches and put together a killer salad.

Rotisserie meet can sometimes feel a little greasy to me (compared to a chicken I’ve roasted myself). I discard the skin and am a little more vigilant on trimming excess fat and skimp a little more on the dressing; the meat is so moist you won’t miss it.

Chicken and Peaches Platter
Serves 6

2-3 heads romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips (you want at least 12 cups)
1 rotisserie chicken (about 2-2 1/2 lbs), skin discarded, meat removed from bones and chopped in large pieces
3 peaches, sliced (peeled if desired)
6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or try sherry, champagne, raspberry or your favorite vinegar)
1/4 cup (or less) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Arrange the lettuce, chicken, peaches, cheese, and almonds on a platter. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the salad when ready to serve.