Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

Boise is surrounded by golden hills, many of them charred by grass fires. But don’t be deceived: just and hour north, you’ll be among the trees, an hour further and the grass turns green, and just thirty minutes more, you’ll come around the bend into McCall and spot Payette lake, backdropped by Brundage Mountain. This is where we spent the end of August— in a cabin with family. 

We visited just two weeks after the annual huckleberry festival, but there were plenty of wild blackberries at the farmers market still, something you don’t see much of in the front range of Colorado! So of course, I had to take that inspiration and run with it— creating a massive list of things to make (yes, I do seem to have a thing for lists). And perhaps I’ll plant some berries in my yard next spring... blackberries, blueberries, and gooseberries too. 

Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash
Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

Between blackberries, we hit the trails, exploring the Payette Lake peninsula and Bear Basin on mountain bikes. On the hottest day, we rented a paddle board and kayak— the river north of town is breathtaking. 

McCall is truly a gem of a mountain town! Outdoor enthusiasts— put this on your list. You get the strangest feeling riding your bike through the woods, like you’ve been transported to the Red Wood Forest, minus the heat! I'll be sharing a few pictures in my monthly newsletter in just a few days -- sign up here

Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

Published September 6, 2018 by
   Print This Recipe

Serves: 6-8   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



Ingredients:

Baked Ricotta:
  • 2 cups of full fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons Parmesan (divided in 2 parts)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A few cracks pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Blackberry-Thyme Smash:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • For serving: crackers, crostinis, and/or crudités of choice

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 50-ounce capacity (about 3 cups) ramekin, baking dish, or cheese baker with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
    2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
    3. Using a spatula, transfer the cheese mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan. (Note: Do not over fill your baking dish. Make the cheese level or below the top rim of the baking dish (if needed, divide the cheese between two baking dishes. This will prevent overflow and a mess in your oven!).
    4. Place in oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Parmesan on top should begin to turn golden.
    5. While the cheese is cooking, make the Blackberry-Thyme Smash: place 1 cup black berries, leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme, juice of 1/2 lemon, pinch of salt, and honey in a bowl and mash with a fork until a saucy, jammy mixture is created. Add in remaining 1/2 cup whole berries (for texture).
    6. Spoon Blackberry Smash mixture over baked cheese, and top with a sprig of thyme as garnish. Serve while cheese is still warm with crackers, crostinis, or crudités.

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread
    Sage

    Make my coffee, and head to the garden -- this has become my morning routine. I'm hoping to share a slice of that with you in the next week or so (currently going through a pile of photos)! But today, here's one recent discovery I've had: sage in corn bread. 

    I've put hatch chilies in corn bread, jalapeños, fresh corn kernels, and even sautéd red onion, but never sage. But the sage is exploding the herb garden, so I've been scratching my head trying to come up with summery things to make with it (I'm not quite ready for a fall themed sausage or a roast chicken, which would require me to turn on the oven, and stuffing season is still a ways off). So why not? Throw that sage in corn bread (which I bake in our toaster oven (affiliate link!), in the garage, to keep the house nice and cool).

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Warm, with a pat butter, this corn bread makes for an absolutely delicious side served with chili, soups, or even barbeque beans! I'll eat it with a fried egg for breakfast, too. You could also bake each loaf in a mini-loaf pan, topped with a single sage leaf, and gift them to friends and neighbors. 

    If you grow your own sage, or know someone that does, this recipe is a must-make in late summer or early fall, and it turns out so pretty! 

    Enjoy! 

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread
    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Published August 30, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 30-40 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled + 1 pat of butter for greasing pan
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, minced plus 6 whole sage leaves for top of bread

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place 1 pat of butter in the a 10-inch pan (a pie pan, an oven-safe cast iron skillet, or a baking dish) and place in oven while it preheats.
    2. In a medium size mixing bowl, stir together the corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. Add yogurt, butter, egg, and honey, and stir using a rubber spatula until a batter forms. Fold in minced sage.
    4. Using oven mitts, pull baking pan from oven. Tilt it back and forth to grease the pan evenly. Pour batter into pan, spreading into even layer with a spatula. Arrange the 6 whole sage leaves on top as desired.
    5. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes (shorter time is needed for a cast iron pan — more for a glass dish). Test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle. The toothpick should come out clean, and the top of the bread should be golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes and serve with butter and honey.

    Chickpea Antipasto Salad

    Chickpea Antipasto Salad

    In the kitchen, there is the sound of a ticking clock. From the open sliding door on my right, the leaves rustling in the breeze. The high today is seventy-one degrees. The last time I could say that was probably early April, and it feels like a treat. 

    We had no idea what to expect when we arrived in McCall. Boise is surrounded by golden dry hills, the city itself an sprawl of big box department stores. But the further north you go the more trees you find, and the grasses begin to turn green. As you coast down the road into McCall's center you spot Lake Payette, like a gem in the rough. 

    Here, I'm going to be soaking up the cooler weather -- currently drinking orange cinnamon tea - but back home, I'm still defaulting to no-cook, no-bake, minimal effort meals, like this Chickpea Antipasto Salad. 

    This dish is a bit like pasta salad, minus the pasta, and all you do is mix. That's right: skip the oven, skip the stove, and even skip dishes -- it's a one-bowl wonder. 

    Now, back to my seventy degree weather! I've got a vacation to enjoy! 

    Chickpea Antipasto Salad
    Chickpea Antipasto Salad

    Chickpea Antipasto Salad

    Published August 23, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 4-6   |    Active Time: 10 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 sixteen-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, quartered and drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives, pitted and drained
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • Optional: serve over a bed of butterhead lettuce

  • Directions:

    1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to combine.
    2. Serve immediately, or make a day ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    3. Optionally, serve over a bed of butterhead lettuce leaves.