Thursday, March 11, 2010

Real Dill Eggs (Baked w/House Ricotta & Sweet Potato Petals

I obviously enjoy challenges and meeting deadlines, and I really could have used a little of that, years ago, when I was in school. In 7th grade Science class I remember writing up my "Every 6 Weeks Report" the night before it was due... every 6 weeks. It's not like I didn't know it was coming up, so why did I wait til the last minute? I'm making up for that lack of spirit, by joining all kinds of online food challenges now and here's another one.
Real Dill Eggs: Baked w/ House Ricotta & Sweet Potato Petals
It's time for the 50th Anniversary of Paper Chef (one of the longest running food events online.) Last month I was the judge and chose the winner: Prospect: The Pantry. So, this month she's choosing.

Here's why it's fun to do
Paper Chef: You're given 4 ingredients and a theme, kinda like a Quick Fire Challenge or a Chef's Mystery Box. The freedom is fun, and no matter what happens you have an original recipe of your own when you're finished.
The ingredients randomly chosen were: Dill, Honey, Ricotta, Eggs and a Feeling of Rejuvenation for the theme. Since Daylight Saving's Time is getting ready to start here, (and can't begin soon enough for me) I thought of mornings and light, and flowers beginning to bloom. These baked eggs are surrounded by my version of sweet potato petals hugging a spoonful of honey infused homemade ricotta with fresh dill.

These are easy to create ahead:

~1 Large, long Sweet Potato will make at least 4-6 ramekins.

~Prick the potato lightly with a fork all over and place in boiling water for 3 minutes to par-boil (partially cook), then drop in ice water to stop the cooking and drain dry.

~Peel, and slice the potato very thin (a mandoline works best).

~Butter (or oil) each 4 oz. ramekin or baking dish very well.

~Place a potato slice in the bottom center and then circle the slices around the inside, overlapping.

~Add a heaping Tablespoon of the *Honey Infused and Dill Ricotta and spread evenly.
(recipe for **Homemade Ricotta below)
~Season with salt and pepper.

~Add a Large egg and season, again.

~Carefully place the ramekins into a deep sided baking pan on the middle oven rack, then very carefully add boiling water up to half-way around the ramekins (creating a bain marie).

~Cook in a preheated 350F oven for about 12-17 minutes (depending how you like your eggs). Finish for a couple minutes with the oven on broil to crisp the potato edges.

~Remove the pan, and very carefully remove each ramekin. (These will be very hot, and surrounded by extremely hot water, so use care.) Cool on a rack for a moment.

Serve in the ramekins or loosen the sides and gently remove from the dish and place on your serving platter.
~Garnish with more fresh dill, or fleur de sel.

*Seasoned Ricotta - For every 1/2 cup of Ricotta, gently stir in 1 Tbls. honey and 1 Tbls. minced fresh dill

** Homemade Ricotta - 32oz whole milk heated in a saucepan til just before simmering. Add 2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar or Fresh Lemon Juice and remove from the heat. As the milk curdles, stir gently for 1 minute. Leave the pan, covered and off the heat for 1 hour as the curds form. Pour the milk and curds through a double layer of "wet and squeezed out" cheese cloth over a fine mesh strainer. Pull the cheese cloth up and tie on a wooden spoon and let drain into a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove the fluffy Ricotta and put in a container and keep in the refrigerator - good for several days.

Quote from my husband - "These look all elegant, but taste real homey"

Please consider this your invitation to join Paper Chef for the next challenge, I'd love to see your creations!

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