Every week, Link Love introduces you to a blogger whose recipes made us hungry.
Meet Emily Stoffel, blogger behind The Pig and Quill, mother, and proud California resident. Her blog features recipes and flavors from many cuisines, from Asian to Mexican and the Mediterranean. But even while Emily honors and enjoys the brightness, heat, and freshness of these cuisines, she isn't above whipping out a can of SPAM for dinner! Emily often cooks without a recipe and develops simple, accessible dishes like this Summer Whipped Ricotta Toast 2 Ways that we loved. It showcases tomatoes that her husband and daughter carefully grew together, topped them with a vivacious basil oil that pairs well with the extra-creamy whipped ricotta. The toasts are customizable and she encourages her readers to take advantage of their local produce to create their own twists.
Here are a few words from Emily:
Emily and her family! Photo by Emily Stoffel
I began blogging almost 4 years ago on a complete whim. I've always been passionate about food and writing; I can think of few other things that are as transportative or expressive. But for some reason, I was a little shy about owning up to those passions when they were just for me, so The Pig & Quill was born as a way to catalogue some of my favorite recipes and share a buncha goofy little anecdotes with friends and family. To this day, it amazes me that anyone other than my mom and my aunties read along. And truth be told, the one reader I chase most—my husband, Chris—still only occasionally tunes in!
I literally grew up at the feet and in the arms of excellent cooks: my mom, my dad, my Gung Gung (mom's dad). Cooking and sharing food with others was always something met with joy and anticipation, so the kitchen was an instantly happy place. Even the soundtrack of the kitchens I grew up in was more than a cacophony of pots and pans. My mom whistling along to Carole King or Steely Dan over the distinctive pop of a frying steak, the tune my dad hummed while he shook eggs in the pan. It was enchanting!
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Today I draw inspiration from those experiences as I try to create a space of equal comfort for our daughter, Lana. Even if she doesn't grow up with the same passion for the actual act of cooking, I'd love for her to look back on our time together in the kitchen or around the table with a fondness. Like, "Thanks for not making it seem like making dinner every night sucked, Mom." Because it doesn't. (Usually.)
The ricotta toast is such a great example of how recipes come together around here in that it's hardly a recipe at all. Chris and Lana poured their hearts into growing those sweet little tomatoes, and I wanted to give them the chance to shine with very little adulteration. And the berries and stone fruit this year... Well, there aren't enough hearty-eye emojis or whatever the kids are using to express smittenness these days to convey my feelings for summer fruits. The crunchy toast and thick smear of whipped ricotta is just a vehicle for getting that seasonal bounty into your face, pinkies-up style. I also love that it's totally adaptable. In the spring you could do shaved asparagus or sliced strawberries with balsamic; in the cooler months, a little brown-sugar bruleed grapefruit or roasted grapes. I think what I'm trying to say is: You could live on ricotta toast, alone, for the better part of a year and be quite well-fed!