fat free opinions on a food centric life

Home Alone with Baked Ricotta, Olives, & California Rose

It’s been a while since my husband and I have been home alone.  My mother stayed with us for six weeks after returning from her supposed to be permanent move to Virginia, and while we were on vacation, two of my sons traveled with us.  But my mother has found a place to live of her own, my older son is back at his place, and our teenager is visiting a cousin.  That means we have the entire house to ourselves.

Ahhh…

After my husband gets home from work, we’ve decided to either walk or swim some laps on alternate days.  Sounds more interesting than it actually is when you consider that the laps last about 10 minutes before tongues are lolling from our mouths in exhaustion.  Good thing there’s no one around to witness our inability to stick it out for a solid 30 minutes.  But to our credit, last night, we did work for 20 minutes, then feeling sorry for my husband, I decided we were done and walked the short distance to our house, dripping like drowned rats.  Dinner afterward is something light.  Well, lighter than normal, which means there are only two items on the plate instead of three.

Keeping with the “home alone” mood of things, I decided that an appetizer of sorts and something refreshing to sip on a pleasant summer evening after a dip helps make life seem a bit more glamorous.  Well, except for the part where we flopped on the couch and watched Harry Wilson’s War on a pay channel while we enjoyed our food.

But the food was excellent, and it just so happens that our light repast qualifies us for Blog Party #36:  Blogger’s Choice hosted by Stephanie, the Happy Sorceress of Dispensing Happiness, who is celebrating the third anniversary of Blog Party.  Three years is quite the accomplishment in the bloggosphere, if you ask me, so congrats, Stephanie!

Baked Ricotta with Herbed Olives and California Rose is my choice for a special get together when excellent flavor and little prep is required.  You can make it ahead, too, which means it’s even better.  To make it more than an appetizer that two can share, add a salad, and you’ll be satisfied.

 

Baked Ricotta

Ingredients

1 c. whole milk ricotta
2 lg. eggs, separated
1 tsp. dried thyme, or 2 tsp. fresh
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c. finely grated Parano cheese
pepper & salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and spray two 8 oz. ramekins with oil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg yolks, lemon zest, thyme, grated Parano, and seasoning.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites just until soft peaks form.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture carefully, making sure not to deflate the whites.
  5. Divide between the two ramekins and place on a baking sheet, then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
  6. Let cool and either enjoy warm, or let sit at room temperature to enjoy later.

 

Sauteed Herbed Olives

Ingredients

1-1/2 c. mixed olives (kalamatas, Mt. Pelion, Mt. Athos, Nafplion, or your favorites)
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pieces orange peel, trimmed and cut into several thin strips
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic, stirring for 1 minute.
  2. Add the olives and orange peel, stirring until well heated and aromatic.
  3. Stir in the thyme and parsley and turn off the heat to let sit and cool in the skillet.
  4. Cover until ready to serve.

Serve baked ricotta on a large plate and pour olives and seasoned oil over.  Enjoy with a crusty bread toasted with olive oil and garlic.

Pour a well-chilled California Rose and enjoy your evening.

Recipe Notes:

  • Before vacation, I made an appetizer of olives similar to this that I shared with friends on a lovely Friday evening.  For the life of me, I can’t find the recipe, but after a Google search for olives & thyme, I did find a recipe at Gourmet Girl which led me to the Baked Ricotta, which is excellent.  I’d had baked feta and goat cheese before, but not ricotta, and we both loved the dish with the olives which were already a favorite.
  • I made all except the toast before we went for our swim, and it was great to enjoy with no fuss or the usual dinner mess. The olives are excellent with the ricotta.  Don’t forget to drizzle the oil over all.
  • This particular Rose by Menage a Trois from the Folie a Deux Winery is less dry than what I’m used to.  And for those of you who aren’t quite sure about a Rose, no, it’s not White Zinfandel, and no, it isn’t sweet.  This rose is  light, fruity with a pronounced citrus, and is pleasant to sip.  It’s crisp and just barely dry.  Was it the best wine to serve with this baked ricotta and olives?  I loved it, but I’m only someone who experiments.  I know I enjoyed my meal, so that works for me!