Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.
This week’s quick and energy-saving recipe is a whole-grain breakfast toast loaded with toppings that feature the Meyer Lemon.
A cross between a tangerine and traditional lemon, this amazing fruit is a little more orange in color and a little sweeter than its bright-yellow older sibling. Meyer lemons are in season from late fall to early spring, which means it’s easy to find these sweet and tart treats at your local grocery store now. I tend to purchase a couple bags of them to use them in dishes ranging from roasted chicken to salad dressings and pasta dishes!
One of my favorite foods to combine with Meyer Lemon Juice is whipped ricotta cheese. This delightful pairing is great for snack toasts or brunch meals, especially when you include an egg and some bacon.
For the ultimate loaded brunch toast, I always obtain a fresh loaf of whole grain bread from the grocery store, cut off thick slices, and then prepare them in the toaster (instead of the oven) to lower your energy usage. Even better – the flavor of the whole grain bread complements the marinated cucumber topping and whipped ricotta perfectly.
I use more Meyer Lemon Juice with sweet White Balsamic Vinegar to quickly marinate heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and fresh basil to create another no-energy-use topping that really completes the meal. Take things up an additional notch by serving with a poached or over easy egg and some bacon made in the microwave for an easy, energy-saving brunch!
Lemony Whipped Ricotta Brunch Toast
- 15 oz. Whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. Sea salt
- ¼ tsp. Red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp. Pink peppercorns, ground
- ½ tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 Large cucumber
- 1 Large heirloom tomato
- ¼ c. Sliced fresh basil (1 oz. bunch)
- 1 tbsp. White balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp. Sea salt
- ¼ tsp. Fresh cracked black peppercorn
- Extra Meyer lemon slices
- 1 Whole grain bread loaf
- 1 Egg any way per toast (optional)
- 2 Bacon pieces per toast (optional)
1) Prepare cucumber by peeling, de-seeding, and dicing it as shown in photos. Dice the large tomato and basil leaves into similar sized pieces.
2) Add the diced cucumber, diced tomato, sliced basil, white balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp. sea salt, ¼ tsp. fresh cracked black peppercorns, and a little extra squeeze of Meyer lemon juice to a mixing bowl. Mix everything together and let it marinate while preparing the other ingredients.
3) In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, 2 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice, ¼ tsp. sea salt, ¼ tsp. ground pink peppercorns, ¼ tsp. red chili flakes, and ½ tbsp. olive oil. Use a hand mixer or whisk and whip all of these ingredients together until they are fully blended and the ricotta is fluffy and full in texture.
4) Prepare any accompanying eggs and bacon as desired. The photos show an over-medium egg and all-natural, no-nitrate bacon.
5) Cut thick slices of bread from the whole grain loaf. Toast them in either a stand toaster or toaster oven to crisp the outside while leaving the center of the bread warm and soft.
5) Spread a medium sized layer of the whipped lemony ricotta mixture on top of your toast. If you made an egg, add it now, and then top with marinated cucumber and tomato mixture. Serve with bacon on the side.
If you skip the egg, just lay down a layer of the marinated cucumber/tomato/basil mixture and crack a little extra black peppercorn on top of the prepped toasts. Garnish with Meyer lemon slices and fresh basil.
If Meyer lemons aren’t in season or you can’t find them at your local grocery store:
Use only 1 ½ tablespoons of regular lemon juice instead of 2 tablespoons of Meyer lemon juice and add in ½ teaspoon honey to the whipped ricotta mixture. The result will have the same slightly sweet yet tangy citrus flavor and work perfectly with the white balsamic vinegar marinated fresh vegetables and herbs!
And you can skip the bacon for a vegetarian early spring brunch ready to impress anyone you serve!
Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan