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
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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.

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    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.

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    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    Have you heard of "Knowledge Knights?" The idea of Knowledge Knights is to get a group of friends together to learn and teach something new. We've been to a few, and hosted our first last week! The only rule is that everyone must come with one thing to talk about for roughly five minutes (whatever they want). If you have ever gotten into a deep web of Wikipedia searches, reading about this and that and becoming totally lost in the world of random facts, this is for you. So here is what you do!

    First, invite your favorite people over. Give them the basic jist of what will happen. 

    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    Pick and research your topic (and ask all of your guests do the same). The sky is the limit! You can pick something that you already know like the front and back of your hand of you can use this as an excuse to learn something new. No ideas? Try answering a question you've always asked yourself, like "What causes volcanoes to erupt?" or "How did Mayans discover cocoa beans and how did they make Xocoatl? " (I tend to go for the foodie questions, go figure).

    Plan your menu--really this can be whatever you want, but most recently I made a couple of appetizers, like these Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites and it worked out great! 

    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites
    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    On the night of your party, crack open a bottle of wine and roll a dice to see who will go first! We don't like to keep people to their fixed five minutes--you are welcome to, but it's also fun to see what other questions people have and, of course, to joke around a bit. 😉

    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites
    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites

    Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

    A creative play on bacon wrapped dates, these prosciutto wrapped apricots are stuffed with goat cheese and a toasted pecan, for a little something different.

    Yields: 16   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 16 dried apricots
    • 1 four-ounce package prosciutto
    • 2 ounces soft goat cheese
    • 16 whole pecans
    • 1 cup baby arugula
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic gel (honey would also be good if you don't have this!)

    Directions:

    1. Toast the pecans in a oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
    2. Spread a small amount of goat cheese on the top of each dried apricot, and top with toasted pecans.
    3. Place a few pieces of arugula under each apricot.
    4. Remove top slice of prosciutto from package, and cut into 3 pieces, the long way, so that you have three strips. Carefully remove any plastic dividers from the prosciutto. Using one long prosciutto strip, wrap an apricot and arugula together. Place on serving tray. Do the same thing with the other two strips you cut (wrapping an apricot with arugula and placing on serving tray).
    5. Repeat step 3 until all prosciutto is used and apricots are wrapped. Keep serving tray wrapped in plastic in fridge until you are ready to serve. Before serving, drizzle with balsamic gel.

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