I cannot begin to express my level of excitement when I found out that Barefoot Contessa was releasing a new cookbook this Fall.  I pre-ordered the book, How Easy is That?, on the spot, and literally kissed it when it arrived at my doorstep.  I carefully flipped through the pages, stopping to devour every single recipe.  How on earth would I choose which one to make first? 

Luckily, the Queen Bee of all It Girl’s, Mrs. Gwyneth Paltrow Martin, chose for me.  In a blog post titled “Brunch with The Barefoot Contessa,” Gwynnie detailed her morning with Ina Garten making Herbed Ricotta Bruchettes from the new book.  Once my raging jealousy subsided, I decided that the elegant bruschettes would be the perfect sophisticated starter for my New Year’s Eve menu.

As I’ve never made cheese before, I was a bit skeptical about making ricotta from scratch.  I enlisted the help of my friend Cameron, and charged her with picking up ingredients from the market.  It turns out that Cameron was even less confident in our cheese-making ability, and bought premade ricotta “just in case…”  Our fears were abated when we tasted our perfectly smooth and deliciously creamy ricotta.  Even better - it took less than thirty minutes from start to finish.  We turned to each other and proclaimed in our best Ina-esque voices, “how easy was that?!”  xx tt

Recipes – adapted from Barefoot Contessa + GOOP

Homemade Ricotta


·  4 cups whole milk

·  2 cups heavy cream

·  1 teaspoon kosher salt

·  3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

·  Cheesecloth


·  Set a large sieve over a deep bowl

·  Dampen cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with two layers (fold cloth in half)

·  Pour milk and cream into stainless steel or enameled pot

·  Stir in salt

·  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally

·  Turn off heat, stir in vinegar

·  Let sit for a few minutes – the cheese will separate and curdle (it won’t look like it separated, but if you stir it gently you will see that it has)

·  Pour mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl (if you aren’t using a really large bowl, empty the water from the bowl after a few minutes so that there is room for all of the liquid to drain)

·  Let the cheese drain for 25 minutes

·  Transfer from cheesecloth to a new bowl

·  Congratulations!  You just made CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Herbed Ricotta + Toasts


·  3 scallions/green onions – white and green parts

·  2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

·  1 tablespoon fresh or dried minced chives

·  Kosher salt + pepper

·  1 round sourdough bread

·  Olive oil

·  2 garlic cloves


·  Mince herbs

·  Combine ricotta, herbs, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper

·  Cut bread in half and then into six pieces each – resulting in 12 slices total

·  Heat grill pan on high for five minutes

·  Brush bread with olive oil, grill on each side for two minutes until browned

·  Remove from grill

·  Rub each slice of bread on one side with garlic clove

·  Spread on herbed ricotta

·  Serve!