It’s grad season! If you are celebrating a loved one’s convocation and commencement, congrats!! It is an exciting time for sure. And, if you are entertaining guests for said celebration, or really, for any reason at all, I stumbled on something recently that made a houseful of people very happy, and I wanted to share it with you.
Earlier this month one of our children graduated from UConn — shout out, Huskies! — a beautiful ceremony, and an extraordinarily happy day. As is customary with such momentous life-events, there is almost certainly a party which ensues, or precedes the occasion. In our case, with extended family imported from down south, I made a few snacks and shareables ahead of time and stored them in the fridge. The standout in this smattering, was a small ramekin filled with creamy, fluffy, whipped ricotta cheese. The recipe came from a site named, aptly, “Ahead of Thyme,” and I only changed a couple of things around to customize it to my own taste. And, so delicious was it, that at one point I sneaked away with the empty dish and quickly made another batch to set out. It disappeared immediately.
Simple, and slightly complex, it is exceptionally versatile. A snack as tasty spread on toasted whole-grain bread, as it is a dip for crudite — most especially sliced red bell peppers. Add a simple pasta salad; a platter of blanched and chilled asparagus drizzled with vinaigrette; a bowlful of watermelon chunks; a baguette sliced horizontally, schmeared with store-bought pesto and piled with tomatoes, mozzarella, and Genoa salami or Parma ham, then sliced into small sections. And for something sweet: ice cream sandwiches made with Tate’s chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy the celebration! –HK
“Ahead of Thyme” Whipped Ricotta
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus
more for serving
½ tsp. honey
1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
such as basil, mint, thyme,
oregano or chives (I used
1 small garlic clove,
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
I added ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
In a medium bowl, add ricotta, olive oil, honey, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper(s). Beat with a hand mixer on medium until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Or use a food processor. Taste and add more olive oil, honey, or salt, if desired.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil on top, and garnish with more fresh herbs. Serve with slices of toasted baguette, crackers, or vegetables.