April 13, 2011
Friendship and Fritters
Over the weekend I had a visit from my nearest, and one of my dearest friends. She lives 6 hours away, but made the drive to spend a weekend relaxing, taking walks, cooking good meals, and catching up. The things friends do, right?
We also managed to make at least four recipes that were new to both of us which really helped push me out of my cooking rut. We had a flavorful Asian inspired dinner, a flourless chocolate cake, gluten free muffins and ricotta fritters. It was a welcome change to cook the recipes together and though we have different ways of working, our cooking roles flowed as easily as our conversation. There are the friends that you reconnect with like no time has passed and then there are the friends that you don't see often, but you stay in touch and are part of each others lives over distance and time.
Throughout the weekend we talked often about where we've been and more so where we think we might end up and where we want our lives to go. As a kid, it is so easy to take friendships for granted. Then, when everyone goes off to pursue their own path it seems like we can't do enough to keep our connections with friends as strong as we want them to be. Even though I have lost the simplicity of youthful friendships, as I've gotten older I have realized that there are friends I will never grow apart from. We might not talk for a month, or see each other for eight, but there are certain friendships that I know I will have for life.
On Sunday, I showed Emily how to make ricotta cheese and she asked for suggestions for cooking with ricotta. A perusal of cookbooks led us to a recipe in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for ricotta and spinach fritters. This recipe seemed just right for an early spring meal when we don't yet have newly harvested local produce but eggs and cheese are available. It makes the right amount for two people, accompanied by a salad, but could serve more. I think this would also make great little appetizers as mini, bite sized fritters.
Ricotta and Spinach Fritters
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone by Deborah Madison
These have a great flavor as is. You can also add fresh or dried herbs. We made a batch that included a heaping spoonful of pesto and I also tried some with lemon zest and thyme. I think there are a lot of possibilities for flavor variations that you could try.
4 cups of spinach leaves
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Clarified butter or oil for frying
Rinse the spinach leaves, shake out excess water and place in a skillet over medium heat until wilted and tender. Remove from heat, squeeze out any water and chop finely. Combine all ingredients, except the butter or oil, with the chopped spinach.
Place a skillet over medium heat, film with butter or oil. Drop the batter by spoonfuls and fry over medium heat until browned on the bottom. Flip and cook on the second side. Serve warm. Makes eight 2 1/2 inch fritters.