Posts tagged ‘ricotta’

April 1, 2013

Eggplant and Butternut Squash Bake

eggplant and butternut lasagna

I know, I know. I’m the worst.

I haven’t written. I’ve been in a hole of nine-to-five-ing. During the week I’ve been getting up to exercise at 6 am and not getting back home until almost 7 pm.

I’ve been cooking all along, but mostly after the sun is almost gone and there’s no pretty light. The food itself  hasn’t been the cutest. It’s been nourishing combinations of vegetables that don’t necessarily look that great, but it’s exactly what I need.

And eggs. There’s been a lot of eggs consumed.

On the weekends, I’ve been cooking too – and even taking a few pictures of the process. But mentally I’ve just been too lazy to put words to paper/screen. That’s real life.

I’m going to do better. I just need to find a new rhythm to my writing, cooking and photography that fits in with my real person job.

It’s a work in progress, but I’ll get there.

With the late summer and early fall weather we’ve gotten both butternut squash and eggplant in our vegetable delivery box for a few weeks in a row. I’ve cooked these two together in quite a few ways – with Moroccan spices in the slow cooker and roasted on a baking sheet. With quinoa, atop a bed of greens, with lashings of sriracha, and with a poached egg on top.

I would never necessarily think to put these two vegetables together, but they’ve been a surprising hit. They’re meaty and filling, complex and satisfying – the butternut squash brings a sweetness and the eggplant, an earthiness.

I thought about calling this a pasta-less lasagna but I landed on Vegetable Bake. The layering aspect along with the ricotta, pesto and tomato sauce is totally reminiscent of lasagna, but calling a pasta-based dish pasta-less is just straight up inconsiderate.

About these ads
September 27, 2012

Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins

Oh hi.

So…I’ve been gone for a few weeks. Ok, a month. But I have an excuse. Several, actually. I know, excuses are lame – so to make it up to you, I brought you muffins. Savory ones. With roasted vegetables and ricotta.

BUT first thing’s first – the excuses!

  1. I’ve been back in the US of A. We managed to make it to Long Island, New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans this trip.
  2. I attended two fantastic weddings of two beautiful friends. Both weddings were gorgeous and filled with love, the most excellent people and lots of booty shakin’.
  3. I was able to be there for my grandfather’s memorial. Gramps was a really cool dude and a great grandpa, and is missed by many.
  4. While in New Orleans, Mr. F dropped a knee, presented me with an overwhelmingly sparkly ring and we are now officially engaged! I mean, what?!

In summary, I have been missing because of limited computer access, lots of celebrating and general awesomeness.

Even though I’m never quite ready to leave New York, it feels great to be back in Australia – back to my routine and back to our little home – as fiances! (Clearly, I’m deliriously happy and love saying the word fiaaaanceee – BUT – I’ll stop before I use any more exclamation points.)

Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

While I enjoy a good sweet muffin, their savory cousins are a pretty good reason to bust out your muffin tin. A bit of cheese and some vegetables in a portable little baked good, what’s not to love? They’re a fun alternative to toast with your eggs or on their own, as you’re running out the door. Feel free to swap any vegetables and type of cheese you’d like. I’ve made a winter squash, feta and spinach version of these that I adore. I also think the addition of bacon would be a great call.

- 1 medium zucchini cut into half-inch pieces
– 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into half-inch pieces
– olive oil (for greasing the baking pan)
– salt and pepper
– a pinch of chili flakes
– a handful of chopped kale
– 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– 1/4-1/3 cup ricotta

- 1 cup milk
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup spelt flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon baking powder

FOR VEGETABLES:
Heat oven to 220 C/425 F.

Toss zucchini and peppers with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Spread zucchini and peppers on a baking sheet. Cook for 15- 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, wilt down the kale in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Add kale and a teaspoon of water to the pan and stir for 2-3 minutes until cooked down and water is evaporated.

FOR MUFFINS:
Heat oven to 260 C/500 F.

Prepare a muffin tin by greasing it with butter or baking spray.

Place 2/3 of the roasted zucchini and peppers and wilted kale in a large bowl with Parmesan and cilantro.

Add milk, vegetable oil and beaten eggs to the vegetable mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix delicately with a folk until just combined. It’s ok if there’s a few lumps!

Pour batter 3/4 full in each muffin cup. Top each muffin with a few pieces of the roasted vegetables and a dollop or two of the ricotta. Season with a bit of fresh cracked pepper.

Place muffins in the oven and then immediately turn down the oven temp to 205 C/400F and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

March 29, 2012

Vegetable Ricotta Schmear

I’ve had many amazing summers in my life, but the summer I turned 17 was a stand-out. Post-SATs and pre-college applications, it’s a time when teenagers really begin to experience freedom. It’s a kind of freedom unique to this period of life, bringing constant excitement without the tethers of real responsibility. I loved every minute of it.

My job that summer, while it didn’t bolster the vibrancy and zest for life I felt, didn’t detract from it either. I worked at a bagel shop. A Long Island bagel shop – the real deal. I learned how to cook a perfect bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (BEC) and slather on just the right amount of cream cheese. I burned myself on many a baking tray and reeked of garlic and onion bagel by the time I left each day. It was the opposite of glamorous, but it left my afternoons and nights free for shenanigans.

The two most valuable and lasting things this job bestowed upon me were 1.) a deep, deep love of coffee and 2.) the self-given right to call myself a bagel connoisseur.

Travelling only reinforces the established fact that good bagels are only found in New York and New Jersey. Of course there are exceptions, but by and large – this is truth.

I selfishly rate a bagel establishment by its ability to produce a perfect everything bagel and a flavorful vegetable cream cheese. That’s my bagel jam.

While I have been able to find good bagels here in Oz (wut up Iggy’s) I have been hard-pressed to find a decent schmear (schmear = cream cheese spread, for those of you not down with Yiddish.)

Good veggie cream cheese can be hard to come by in New York, let alone Australia. Matters, as usual with this sort of thing, have to be taken into my own hands.

This recipe was a ricotta experiment. Hypothesis: I can capture that favorite vegetable cream cheese flavor using ricotta in the place of cream cheese.

Why ricotta? Well, I love the mellow creamy flavor and whipped-like texture AND I bought a big tub that goes off on Sunday…

To call this a schmear, I realize, is all kinds of sacrilege (ricotta! baguettes!) – but probably no more so than some shiksa using the word schmear repeatedly.

And from a connoisseur, it hits all the right spots.

Vegetable Ricotta Schmear
– 1 cup ricotta, strained
– 1/3 cup grated carrot
– 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, finely chopped
– 2 medium scallions/spring onions, white and light green parts finely sliced
– 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme
– salt and pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a fork until everything is well combined.

Serve with bagels, baguette, whole wheat toast, or crudites.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

December 9, 2011

5 Ingredient Friday: Moroccan Spiced Apple Bruschetta


Happy Friday, ya’ll!

I came across a Mark Bittman recipe for Moroccan spiced apples which he suggested as a side to a nice piece of pork – you know, an elitist NYTimes version of Pork Chops and Apple Sauce. Just kidding guys, I love Mark Bittman. He’s not an elitist, he’s the master of simplification.

Anywayyy, I thought these apples would go well with ricotta instead. A bruschetta made on fresh bread topped with creamy ricotta and savory-sweet apples sounded just right to me.

Not for nothing, but these babies are perfect for a festive cocktail party or for enjoying by one’s self while standing/wiggling in the kitchen listening to LCD Soundsystem.

Moroccan Spiced Apples:
– 2 large or 3 small apples (I used Gala), chopped into bite-sized pieces
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 tablespoon Moroccan spice blend
– Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 220C/425F. Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Spread out on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the apples are golden and soft.

To Make it a Bruschetta:
– Fresh Ricotta
– Baguette

Slice baguette into 2.5-cm/1-inch thick pieces. Spread on as much or as little of the ricotta as you’d like. (I am biased toward a heaping spoonful, but that’s just me.) Top with apples, serve immediately.

Apples can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a day. Serve at room temperature.



Before you go…let’s talk about holiday things!

Technically not a Christmas song, but damn this gets me into the spirit

I LOVE Peter Alexander and all of these PJ shorts!

Cannot wait to make some festive (there’s that word again) cocktails like this and this.

September 20, 2011

weekend foodventures

I love going out to eat and discovering new restaurants as much as the next girl, but it can get pricey. I like to make going out to eat an event to share with my favorite people and I also love to cook at home, which makes saving restaurant exploring for the weekend the perfect compromise.

This week’s food adventuring  (fooxploring? No. foodventuring?…I’ll work on it.) involved one of my favorite weekend pastimes: brunch!

While I miss the bottomless boozy brunches of my New York days, nothing beats a beautiful, sunny day brunch by the beach. On Saturday we tried out Brown Sugar on Curlewis Street for our first brunch expedition as Bondi residents. Now, I’m a newbie when it comes to the whole Sydney Dining Scene, so I had not heard the buzz around the breakfast here until afterward, but the menu did the talking. Mr. F ordered the banana bread with caramelized bananas, fresh strawberries and yogurt and I ordered the Moroccan Eggs. I cannot resist stewed tomatoes and  melting poached eggy goodness before noon. I just can’t. It was delicious. But I must say, the banana bread was sinfully good in its own right. (Picking leftover crusts off of your dining partner’s plate kind of good.)

Afterward we did a loop through the Bondi Farmer’s Market and collected all sorts of exciting gems. Purple kale, a box of figs, dandelion greens, fresh herbs, a fantastic multigrain sourdough loaf and a remarkable stringybark honey from Tamworth.

I used the figs, herbs and dandelion greens on pizzas later that night (along with olive oil, prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted garlic, caramelized onions and Taste’s pizza dough).


I used the kale for seasoned kale chips – lightly sprayed with olive oil on either side and seasoned with salt&pepper, cumin and chilli flakes and baked for 10 minutes. They may sound a little on the healthy side, and they are, but the flavor and light/flaky/crunchy texture should be celebrated for just being a quality snack. I also threw the rest of the kale, along with their bright purple stems, into a barley, lentil and vegetable soup I made yesterday.

My favorite dish of this weekend, however, was surprisingly a condiment. I recreated Heidi Swanson’s (of 101Cookbooks.com) Magic Sauce. I did not have a bay leaf or fresh oregano on hand and I added two roasted garlic cloves (in addition to the two fresh) into the mix, but it still came out that sexy, paprika-stained color and it tastes fabulous. So far I have had it with a vegetable frittata, on salad and as a marinade for pan-grilled zucchini and carrot. My cooking this week will heavily feature foods that I can pour this elixir onto.

And that beautiful ricotta from last week’s visit to Harris Farms was the gift that kept giving. While writing this post (I tend to get hungry while writing), I polished the rest it off on top of a toasted slice of multigrain sourdough with  honey and cinnamon stewed pear and a dash of sea salt. Hand held perfection.

%d bloggers like this: