Weather: 29 degrees, frosty
What I’m listening to: Starboy, The Weekend featuring Daft Punk
One of the most common misconceptions about chefs and those who work in restaurant kitchens is that we eat all day. Since I began working at the bistro, I’ve found the opposite to be more true. I eat less now that I work in a professional kitchen. I’m surrounded by food all day, yes, the sound and smell and feel of it – the sound that a massive pot of boiling potatoes makes, the earthy smell of a pan of roasted beets when the steam rises, the unique, slippery texture of a razor clam. I taste things here and there to check for seasoning, for flavor. I take one bite to make sure all of the ingredients work together, that everything is properly cooked, then I’m busily off to the next task. It is very, very rare that I have the time or the appetite to sit down to a whole plate of food. It’s funny how working around food makes your mind believe that you’ve eaten. At least that’s been my experience.
When I get home from working in the kitchen, I’m eager to wash off the food smells and get off my feet. It takes a while, sometimes hours, for me to relax, get out of fast-paced restaurant mode, and realize that I’m actually hungry. And then the last thing I want to do is cook. I crave something simple and low-maintenance with a little bit of comfort thrown in. A couple of years back, I did a ricotta toasts recipe in the summer with strawberries, fresh basil, and honey on crusty white bread. This is my fall version on hearty seed bread, orange-zested ricotta, sliced pears, and toasted almonds, drizzled with pure maple syrup. I finished it with a pinch of pie spice, for that hint of warmth and comfort for which I have been longing. It takes less than ten minutes to make and makes a lovely fall breakfast or snack.
Ricotta Toast with Pears, Almonds & Maple Syrup
Yields: 2-4 servings
- 4 slices hearty seed bread, toasted
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted and salted
- pure maple syrup
- pinch of pie spice (optional)
While the bread is toasting, stir together the ricotta and orange zest in a small bowl until combined. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the ricotta onto each slice of freshly toasted bread. Lay 3-4 slices of pear on top of each piece of toast. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle everything with pure maple syrup to taste. Finish with a sprinkle of pie spice (optional). Enjoy promptly while toast is still warm.