5.28.14

It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with the eco-considerate caterers behind HeirloomLA. Their inventive spreads are sustainable to the core and, if we’ve planned to make a cameo at an event, we often end up camping out for hours if Heirloom is there feeding us. This recent celebration of author Judy Kameon and her new book Gardens Are For Living was no exception to the rule. Inside Individual Medley’s charming shop, garden-lovers gathered for a first glance at the book featuring Judy’s inspired garden designs and bites of Heirloom’s lavender shortbread, summer gazpacho and next-level avocado toasts.

We asked Tara to dish out these two lovely garden party recipes for our readers and they’re far too fun to make alone. Gather a few friends, concoct the cocktails first, then sip away as you try your hand at these homemade ricotta toasts and let us know how it goes. Stay tuned for more from Judy Kameon on recreating the inspired environments in her new book in your own backyard!

Garden Party in a glass
Serves 1

Ingredients

.5 oz fresh-squeezed lime
.5 oz fresh celery juice (juiced in a centrifugal vegetable juicer)
.5 oz cucumber (juiced in a centrifugal vegetable juicer)
.75 oz basil syrup
1.5 oz vodka or gin
2 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
cucumber wheel

For the basil syrup:
superfine granulated baker’s sugar
basil
water

Directions

For the cocktail:
Combine spirit, juices, and syrup into a mixing glass or tin. Add ice and shake hard for 10 seconds. Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Add 2 dashes of bitters. Garnish with a cucumber wheel and enjoy.

For the basil syrup:
In a pot, combine equal parts superfine granulated baker’s sugar, water, and basil. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool and fine strain contents into a bottle.


Avocado Toast with Fresh Ricotta
Serves 12

Ingredients

For the toast:
4 slices whole-grain bread (1/4-inch thick)
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt, pepper and olive oil
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced thinly
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (see below)
1 cup candied pecans (see below)

For the fresh ricotta:
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
salt, to taste

For the candied pecans:
1 cup pecan halves
1 egg white
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
3 star anise

Directions

For the toast:
Season bread with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil per side. Grill or toast bread in a sauté pan or over a grill until lightly charred. Remove from pan and rub with the garlic cloves until each part of the bread has been rubbed.

Lay slices of avocado over the bread and flatten by placing a piece of plastic wrap over the avocado and pressing down lightly to flatten). Crumble ricotta cheese over the toasts, season with salt and pepper and cut into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on plate and add crush pecans as garnish.

For the fresh ricotta:
In a heavy nonreactive sauce pot, whisk together milk, cream, yogurt, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a simmer while slowly stirring with a rubber spatula. When the milk mixture starts to simmer, add lemon juice and turn off heat. Allow to rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or mesh strainer/spider, slowly remove milk curds which have risen to the top and transfer to a bowl lined with cheesecloth and allow to chill 1 hour at room temperature. (Use leftover whey to soak beans or grains, as a stock or even dilute with water and pour over dog food or plants. It is packed with many nutrients so don’t throw it out!)

For the candied pecans:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and non-stick spray (preferably coconut oil).

Whisk egg white, salt and sugar until foamy then toss with pecans and star anise, transfer to sheet tray and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until dark golden brown. Allow to cool and set aside. Additional pecans will stay crispy in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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