Recipe Drop from DFC: Festive Ricotta Fritters

The cheese gods continued to smile on me (thank you) last week, when another recipe drop from DFC (Dairy Farmers of Canada) arrived on my doorstep, by the lovely food photographer Beth Dunham, no less. I was told in advance what the recipe would be this time, and was provided with the link to check it out. Thankfully, it was for a savoury appetizer (we remember what happened last time with the baking incident), called Mediterranean Ricotta Fritters. The recipe looked ridiculously simple… maybe even fool proof, but it still required baking something in the oven, which can be hit or miss with me.  I prefer to take many liberties while cooking… throwing in ingredients here and there, or changing things up. Baking doesn’t lend well to that.

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Everything needed for the recipe is pre-measured and dropped off. The first change I made was that, instead of adding just chopped herbs (parsley), I used the basil-arugula pesto that I had made a couple days before. This was incorporated into the batter. The batter recipe was so minimal, really just flour, an egg, ricotta cheese, Canadian Swiss cheese, a little bit of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. You then spoon tiny portions onto a baking sheet and just let them puff up until golden brown. I’m not sure if it was the additional ingredients in the pesto, but mine didn’t really puff up. They kind of did, then cooled flat. They tasted delicious, though, like a mini ricotta pancake. Fritters are normally deep-fried, so perhaps that would have helped.

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The two toppings — tomato sauce and black olive tapenade — were also provided. I livened up the tapenade by adding the life-changing olives we all know about from Pete’s, and a bit of roasted garlic oil. I did have the suggested serving utensil (wonton soup spoons) for a quick photo op, but in reality I took these with me on a board to serve at a potluck I was going to that evening. People liked them.

They are now referred to as Festive Ricotta Fritters because of the green and red. They look kinda, sorta close to the photo on the Dairy Goodness recipe page… right? Watch the steps below.

Ricotta Fritters

Ricotta Fritters

 

Big feast of small plates at Field Guide

If you haven’t been to Field Guide, at the corner of Gottingen and Falkland in Halifax’s north end, make plans to go this weekend. Whether you’re in the mood to sip and savour what are, in my opinion, the most expertly made cocktails in Halifax, indulge in local craft beer, wine, or experiment with small plates, Field Guide has achieved the hipster neighbourhood vibe without any pretension. No cold shoulders here; it seems we’re always greeted by the server named Josh, whose mannerisms and friendliness seem to suggest he’s an owner, although he’s not. (Best kind of server to have.) I’ve been to Field Guide a few times, to sit at the bar for drinks, to eat small plates at a low top table, and once even to interview head bartender Shane Beehan for a magazine article.

Classic gin sour.

Classic gin sour.

Just under two weeks ago, we met a couple friends there who like to eat like us (lots of different things in one meal) to fill up on small plates, before heading to the Matt Andersen (with the Mellotones) show at Olympic Community Centre. With Shane at the helm and Jeff Van Horne as a bar consultant, there’s no wonder the cocktail list is ever-changing and exciting, mastering, as Field Guide puts it, both “the classic and the contemporary”.

Hands down this place has the best negroni in the city, a favourite of both Geir’s and mine. As is encouraged, I ordered “off-menu” and asked for a classic gin sour. It did not disappoint. Next, we tried to please my friend’s tastes by requesting a gin cocktail that also had elderflower liqueur in it. Nailed it. Once over the summer I enjoyed a blackberry gin fizz here that I’m still thinking about. (I have a thing for gin.)

Trouts and beets.

Trouts and beets.

Food-wise, the chef and co-owner Dan was present in the kitchen, so you know there’s a lot of care being put into the preparation. The open kitchen is just behind the far end of the bar, not a very elaborate setup, but they make it work.

We perused the chalkboard menu and chose a few priorities; starting with a small charcuterie board and also the cheese selection, accompanied by house-made sour dough. Next, the trout and beets, such a delight, and what a pretty plate; crispy skinned trout, delicately roasted purple and golden beets, pickled onion and fresh dill. Next up the pork carnitas.  This was the second time I’ve enjoyed these. The beer-braise on the pork really amps up the depth of flavour and makes this dish; sour cream and a crunchy slaw seal the deal. We then tried the halibut with kimchi and sunchoke purée (this worked) and finished off with their famous donair steam buns. Josh deliberately served these last, as he says, if you’re enjoying a series of small plates, they obliterate your taste buds. Thanks, Josh. The texture of the steam bun is incredible, housing all the flavours (in one or two bites) of the ultimate guilty pleasure food… the Halifax donair; as one Instagram follower commented on my photo of them “these are crack”. Yup.