One way we’re saying Thank You for the support you have given us through this challenging year is inviting you to join us on Wednesday, August 12 at 6:30PT/8:30CT for a FREE cooking class via zoom to learn how to create a Summer Crostini with Heirloom Tomatoes and Ricotta!

Chef Kevin Mertens-Rowan

Kevin is an accomplished chef who has worked in some of the best kitchens in San Francisco (Flour + Water, The Ritz Carlton) and Portland (Renata, Han Oak).

He now resides in Silicon Valley where he was born and raised. Most recently, Kevin was an Executive Chef for LinkedIn.

Kevin will walk us through the recipe and will demonstrate how to create the homemade ricotta.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 crostini


Bread: Medium sized sautee pan, tongs

Reduced Balsamic: small pot

Marinated Tomatoes: Medium mixing bowl

Optional Homemade Ricotta: Medium sized pot, medium mixing bowl, pasta strainer, cheese cloth, digital thermometer, whisk


  • 2 slices country style bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 7 cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ricotta:
    • For pre-made Ricotta: 8 oz package
    • For optional homemade Ricotta:
      • 4 cups whole milk
      • 2 cups heavy cream
      • 1/2 cup good white wine vinegar
      • Salt and pepper


Country style bread:

  1. Add the butter to the medium sized sautee pan.
  2. Once it has melted put the bread in the pan, put one side down first to soak up butter then flip and leave bread on that side until it is golden brown, repeat on other side.

Reduced Balsamic:

  1. Add the balsamic vinegar into the small pot and turn the heat on to simmer, reduce this by 1/3 (15min)
  2. Once the balsamic vinegar has reduced, remove from heat and let cool.

Marinated Tomatoes:

  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and slice the heirloom tomato into medium to thick rounds.
  2. Place into mixing bowl and lightly add salt and pepper
  3. After about 5 minutes the tomatoes will have leached out liquid, save this for drizzling over the top of the finished crostini
  4. Chop the mint leaves and add them to the bowl with a generous amount of olive oil.

Homemade Ricotta (Optional):

  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into the medium sized pot. Turn the burner on medium heat and allow the milk to come to 190 degrees. Once it has reached the correct temperature. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 10-15 minutes until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  3. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. You have the option to save the whey and use it elsewhere or discard it if you’d like.
  4. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.