Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

There are two types of cooking. At least, two that are currently in my mind right now. The first is cooking out of necessity, like getting dinner on the table after a long day or making breakfast in the morning when you are still groggy. The second is a work of art: cooking (or baking or what have you) for the sake of expression. 

When you are cooking for the sake of expression, you let flavor and sensation take you by the hand and lead the way. My good friend Christine, Chef and Owner at Fresh Thymes Eatery, would say that ingredients talk to her. A pot of simmering lentils would chime in: "Christine, add more wine!!!" (I hope it's ok I just told everyone that! 😉). I love this image: it paints a back-and-forth between chef and food. I've never had a bowl of lentils talk to me, but I know the dance: it waltzes you through the kitchen and over to a bottle of balsamic vinegar. You're not even quite sure where you're headed, but you know it will be beautiful when you get there. 

I love that type of cooking. It feels very visceral. 

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés
Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

When I started making this appetizer, both types of cooking came together. I was making snacks for guests, and wanted to create a recipe for Foraged Dish that used OrganicGirls' new Butter, Plus blend as a sort of crostini (this blend of butterhead lettuce hearts has as much iron as spinach, can you believe that?!). That's the tactical part... the part I can take credit for.  But all week a whisper had been at my ear: Ricottaaaa. Cantaloupe. A ripe cantaloupe. This is the two-step you find yourself in when the food is doing the thinking and you're just following it across the dance floor. Next thing you know you're munching on an appetizer that is totally new and different. And it always works: when the ingredients are whispering to you, it's because they know best. 

Give this sweet-and-savory canapé a shot for your next happy hour: grab a ripe melon (one that you can smell even before you cut into it), cook up some bacon or pancetta, and add a dollop of ricotta. Ricotta is like magic, so from there you're golden. The drizzle of balsamic gel is for extra credit.  

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés
Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

OrganicGirl provided me with product for this blog post, but the recipes and opinions are all my own. Working with brands to develop wholesome recipes is one way I keep Foraged Dish going! OrganicGirl helps me stock the pantry and keep the blog going. I only work with brands that I truly enjoy and use.  

Cantaloupe & Ricotta Canapés

Published July 20, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 15 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 container OrganicGirl Butter, Plus Greens
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cantaloupe, scooped into ball with a melon baller
  • 1 cup pancetta or bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces or smaller
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Spread the butterhead heart pieces out on a plate in a single layer. Spoon 1 tablespoon of ricotta in the middle of each piece of lettuce.
  2. Place 1 cantaloupe ball in the middle of each scoop of ricotta, and then top with a piece of pancetta. Drizzle with balsamic gel and sprinkle with pepper to taste.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)

This is going to sound obvious to most of you (Hi Captain Obvious! 👋), but... PEANUT BUTTER IS FREAKING AMAZING!!! 

I have been found sitting at my desk with nothing but a spoon and a jar of peanut butter (and my computer), in bliss mode: happily typing away and slowly savoring my snack. 

The other great thing about peanut butter? It's best friends with chocolate. And since chocolate is my favorite food (hey, it is a food!), peanut butter automatically makes it onto my list of favored flavors. What better way to bring those two together than in little brownie bites! 

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)
Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)

These brownie bites really do it for me because they are rich and sweet, but also have a touch of salt which makes everything pop. I used FatWorks' Ghee in these brownies, and it's great for baking: it has a truly buttery taste, and their ghee is grass-fed so I feel great about using it. It makes brownies super fudgy, and I love a fudgy brownie! (Don't give me any of that cakey stuff and tell me it's a brownie... that's cake. Still delicious, but cake.)

So, my advice to you on this lovely Tuesday morning: make brownies, include peanut butter, and give ghee a try. You'll be one happy camper just like me! 

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)

FatWorks provided me with product for this blog post, but the recipes and opinions are all my own. Working with brands to develop wholesome recipes is one way I keep Foraged Dish going! FatWorks helps me stock the pantry and keep the blog going. I only work with brands that I truly enjoy and use.  

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free)

Published July 11, 2017 by
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Yields: 24   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons ghee, melted (but not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and prepare a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder) until few clumps remain (small clumps are ok).
  3. In a second mixing bowl, mix the eggs, ghee, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
  4. Add wet ingrdients to dry, and stir until a batter forms and only a few clumps remain.
  5. Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner. Use a spoon to make a shallow divot in the center of each: this is where you’ll put the peanut butter. Now, use a clean spoon to scoop 1 teaspoon of peanut butter into each divot. Then, scoop a scant tablespoon of batter over top of the peanut butter.
  6. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the middle of a brownie bite comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Usually the words "secret ingredient" bring visions of mashed banana, finely chopped veggies, or some other secretly healthy add in. Like chocolate cake made with zucchini, or cookies made with avocado instead of butter. But not this recipe. Oh no. 

The secret to getting rich, buttery potatoes in this recipe? (Hint hint, it's in the title, so not that secret!) It's the same thing I will sneak into baked good to make them taste extra rich. Browned Butter. 

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts
Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

If you have not tried it yet, use browned butter in the next batch of cookies or coffee cake you make. You will never look back. You will fall, like I have, deeply in love with the caramelized flavor of butter that has been gently heated until golden. 

Brown butter's nutty flavor pairs well with things like dessert, but in this recipe it adds dimensions to mashed potatoes you've never visited before. These mashed potatoes take one look at gravy and laugh: there is no need. They are soft and creamy and rich on their own. Eat a bowl for dinner, or try them out at breakfast, like I did. Do not be ashamed. 

I top them with toasted hazelnuts to accentuate the nutty flavor of the browned butter and add texture. Then, a sprinkle of chives for color! But if you like to just keep things simple and traditional feel free to skip these and focus on just the browned butter. That's the most important part (and maybe the potatoes).

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Mash Potatoes with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Published July 4, 2017 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 40 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 5 yukon gold potatoes, chopped into quarters (skin them if you like, I leave the skins on)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped and toasted (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced (optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into a pot and fit pot with a steamer basket. Place potatoes in steam basket, and heat over medium-low heat with lid on for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened through.
  2. While the potatoes cook, brown the butter: heat butter in a sauce pan over low heat until it melts. Continue to heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to foam. Watch closely to prevent it from boiling over, and continue to heat until the butter becomes golden and fragrant. Here is a great tutorial.
  3. Strain the water from the potatoes, and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a fork. Add milk and 2 tablespoons butter and continue to mash until it reaches your preferred consistency (I prefer my mans potatoes a little bit chunky). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of browned butter over top of potatoes just before serving. Optional: Add toasted hazelnuts and chives as garnish.