Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Artichokes on Toast with Ricotta, Garlic & Parmesan

Just to recap from my last post, we did boycott Thanksgiving and had a very low key holiday this year. My plan for complacency and family togetherness worked. Bwah ha ha..I am an evil genius.

We played old maids and go fish, baked a rather imperfect cinnamon-laden pie, sewed doll clothes, filled and put out all the bird feeders, which the birds and squirrels nearly finished in like two days. Birds are pigs.

We did some embroidery and started work on the girls playroom. I played with my new camera and irritated everyone with my picture taking until they refused to smile and put sheets of paper over their faces and now I have a hundred pictures with frowns, googly faces and serious poses.

We also babysat "Peek" and "Boo", Edie's class pets...

That's right, they're hermit crabs. And I spent half the five days, leaning into their terrarium wondering why they weren't moving and imagining having to tell Edie's teachers that I killed the class pets. I spent so much time poking them and bathing them trying to get them to move around that I'm pretty sure they are relieved as hell to be back at school.

Crabs are stressful, man. That's all I'm sayin'.

Now, I'm ready for Christmas. Sometimes Thanksgiving wipes me out. Not this year. I'm pumped.

I am making all the ornaments for the New Paltz Christmas tree. We are baking Christmas cookies this weekend and making the rounds to all the neighbors in the country to introduce ourselves with takeout boxes filled with homemade goodies. And I have a great gift idea for the kids in Lucy's class, teachers, my cooking class, which I will share after I shoot them. Okay, after I actually make them.

David will take the kids to the woods to get our tree for the country house. He will have a saw. God love him, he is so freakin' butch.

And there will be holiday-themed cooking with the kids in Lucy's class. There is the tree in Rockefeller Center. Our tree in the NYC apartment and the little mini-tree with pink lights and pink balls in their room. There is much decorating to do. And somewhere we must have a sleigh ride, with horses and jangling bells. And snow. Thick, puffy, billowing, cottony layers of it. I insist.

I feel light, and ready and excited. Santa is coming. We all still believe. And it feels magical.

xo YM

And I have a delicious winter snack or light supper for you to kick us off...for those nights you want something filling without all that fussing and sitting at the straight back chairs in the dining room...

I was puttering through Michaels looking at their 100 kinds of Christmas Cookie Sprinkles and wondering whether David would care that I was going to blow $100 on sprinkles and cookie cutters, when I spied a Martha Stewart Cookbook - no recall on the exact title - but I happened past this recipe as I was flipping pages and thought it would be a perfect casual supper with a salad or paired with an assortment of cheeses or charcuterie.

As I suspected we ate it and the cheese and a sizeable chunk of duck liver pate with a bottle of wine, standing around the kitchen, leaning on the counters and telling stories about our day. It was quite nice. I adapted this a lot from Martha's original recipe - forgive me Martha - but I believe both are along the same vein.

Artichokes on Toast with Ricotta, Garlic & Parmesan


2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
8 slices rustic bread, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
2 olive oil for drizzling
One 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained but moist and chopped
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Parsley, for granish


Thinly slice 1 garlic clove, and set aside. Rub the other over the bread slices and then, slice that thinly as well.

Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Toast slices in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden and crisp on both sides. Or you can toast these in the oven or on a grill. Transfer to a serving platter, and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon olive oil or so in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and artichoke hearts. Saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Spread ricotta onto toast. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon artichoke mixture onto ricotta. Season again with salt and pepper. Shave fresh parmesan over the top of each. Drizzle with olive oil. Finish in the broiler for about a minute or two. Garnish with chopped parsley.



The Mulligan Family said...

Oh My! I just finished eating lunch and truthfully I'm quite full... but that recipe has my mouth watering and my head wondering how quickly I can get to the store after work! Sounds delectable.

Cheers, Cindy

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

Last year we put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and let the under 12 set decorate.

This year it will be a small tree, ok I buy an 8 footer and have it cut down to 5, and decorate it only with white lights and crystal ornaments. We have the Waterford ornament for each year we've been married.

The Yummy Mummy said...


I actually didn't take you for a softy...what a romantic. And a lovely tradition. You always surprise me...


Warner (aka ntsc) said...

We have only been doing the Waterford tree since the 25th. Some years we have more than one ornament for since Waterford put out two or more some years.

By the way, the 2009 dry cured ham was opened on Thanksgiving day.

Lauren said...

I had hermit crabs - good thing you didn't kill them - the part of their bodies covered by the shell should not be seen by the human eye. Gross.

You've made me so excited for Christmas now!

Kristen In London said...

Perfect snack idea: what about a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts, does that sound like a nice variation?

I love the Waterford story because my mother-in-law has given us a Reed and Barton silver bell every year, with something engraved that encapsulates the year, and we hit the big 20 this month!

Merry Christmas.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

Two things on birds and feeders, or one each.

They really like sunflower seed and if you want regular guests you have to have feed out all the time.

Get a copy of Peterson's Eastern birds (it comes in an inexpensive version), then as you see and identify a bird, or the girls do, write down the date in the book on that page. It can be an interesting record over a long period of time.

Anonymous said...

Love the Paul Frank dressing gown! x

The Yummy Mummy said...

Lauren - So glad I didn't know that about the crabs BEFORE we took them. And...eeeewww.

Kristen - toasted pine nuts sound divine...David hates pine nuts so they are never in my head when doing a dish. But you have a normal husband, so please have the pine nuts for me.

NTSC - love the bird tips. The girls will enjoy doing that. We girls love a project. And are just a fountain, aren't you?

Anon - Those are actually Paul Frank hoodies from Target. Like 10 bucks a pop. They make an awesome gift for a fashion-conscious toddler. Not that Target pays me to say that or anything...

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon here again, sorry I actually meant hoodie, I was searching online for a dressing gown at the same time as commenting- whoops!

So cute though! :)