At our house, we seem to be rising later and later
on these summer days
The Chef and I enjoy breakfast before he leaves for work .. afterward the puppies and I busy ourselves getting ready to go to the pool or exercise class. In the afternoon .. it may be putting together a new salad for lunch .. hunting for wildflowers or other treasures at the farmer's market .. or maybe a long walk with only the iPod and my thoughts to keep me company.
July in Iowa. It's been humid .. the perfect weather for memory keeping .. everything
An email in my inbox from a season gone by .. the gentle reminder .. “Be proud of yourself that you were brave enough to say no. You're now able to spend more time with the people who bring you joy”
In the evenings we're homebodies .. I putter around in the kitchen wondering what might be good for dinner .. while he tends to things like chopping down rogue trees in the back yard .. or smoking his pipe on the back deck.
“Does he know how thankful I am to have him in my life?”
The sounds of neighborhood kids running through the sprinkler. “Is there anything more joyful than a child's laughter?”
“How are you?”
This afternoon .. the puppies and I were caught in a torrential(!) downpour while out for our walk. We didn't even hurry
Over the weekend .. we went to my parent's house for dinner. We ate summery salads .. drank some homemade wine .. and retired to the basement for a game or two of pool. To the casual observer .. the view from their basement window is to look at the greenery of raspberry bushes .. their fruit just waiting to be picked.
Though to look just a little closer .. was to witness one of the most incredible .. and beautiful sights I've seen all summer long. A Mom and Dad cardinal .. proudly protecting and tending to their nest that held a treasure
I couldn't take my eyes off them as they fed and hovered over their little ones .. just feet away with only the pane of the window separating us. We understand flying lessons have also been on the agenda. Come on little guy
you can do it
I'm tempted to catch these moments .. and store them in my mason jar on the nightstand .. to look at them over and over again. But then I think it wouldn't be right
A bit of the summertime magic is lost every day .. though with new taking its place. The beauty of innocence .. transformed by tiny shifts in perspective .. early summer to mid-summer .. mid-summer to late summer .. late summer soon to be
The sun looks a bit more orange to me .. even more than it did a few weeks ago .. and I'm reminded that time is passing
For now .. maybe I will be content to save all of these heartfelt moments in my jar on the nightstand .. the one with the tiny holes poked into the metal lid .. the holes that will let the light in .. the glass I can peer through .. to see and remember all of summer's treasures .. as they ..
This ricotta cheesecake was the perfect addition to Mother's Day brunch a couple of months ago .. and we've been making variations for breakfast ever since.
A nice alternative to the more traditional crustless quiches. It's light .. with a firm .. yet creamy texture. Its fragrance coming from the combination of ricotta, parmesan, eggs, shallots, garlic, dill, and lemon zest.
A few notes from its author
“To shred the zucchini, use a box grater – most micro planes are too fine, you want shredded zucchini. Not mush. Feel free to play around with the “add-in” ingredients – for example, use whatever chopped herbs you like. I had dill on hand, and I like how it tastes with summer squash, so dill it was. I suspect anything from chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or chives, to spices, chopped spinach, or corn could work here. Also, when I have the time and inclination I'll drain the ricotta through cheesecloth to get even more moisture out of the cake, but to be honest, most times I won't bother. Lastly, I use a springform pan here, but you could use an equivalent baking dish or deep tart pan as well” ~ Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks
ps: For planning .. note the longer than average cooking time
~ Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Summer Veggie Ricotta Cheesecake
- 2 cups zucchini unpeeled & grated
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 shallots chopped
- 2 handfuls radishes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
- zest of one lemon
- 2 large eggs well beaten
- 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbled
- a drizzle of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325F degrees
- Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan (** I used a 10" cast iron pan)
- In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes.
- Aggressively squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. (** This is important!)
- Set aside.
- In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini and chopped radishes.
- Fill the baking vessel with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for sixty minutes.
- (** If there's any moisture left on top of the cake at this point, carefully use a bit of paper towel to dab it off)
- Sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes .. or until the cheese has melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).
- At this point, if the cake is baked and set, but the top isn't quite golden, I'll zap it with the broiler (just about a minute) to get a bit more color on top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan.
- Cool completely, serve at room temperature drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.