The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Decorating Style and Blackberry Ricotta Cornbread

I like Ikea. I think it has value and a purpose with a modern motif that fits my style, not everything but enough of the basics and a few knickknacks at a cost I can’t pass up. You can find a few Ikea pieces around our home. I have the Billy bookcase because it’s dark, simple structure appeases me and a wardrobe that houses my husband’s clothes…because I took over the small closet. Our kitchen has a few things, as does the open shelf, from an older Ikea design. We got the shelf from a nice, young couple on craigslist last year.

There’s an Ikea website (Ikea Family Live) that showcases actual homes from around the world with their pieces, not an entire house of Ikea but examples of inspiration which appealed to me since that’s how I work. It’s interesting and worth a look.

I’m pretty good at finding classic-modern, eclectic pieces and am proud to say that I calculated all of our furniture in the apartment and it totaled less than $5,000. (We’re talking CB2, Room & Board, West Elm, Baughman, Target and more.) Greg made our espresso colored platform bed and living room table years ago. I credit Minnesota’s craigslist for putting us in contact with a wider range of styles since we can travel to the metro and major cities. I don’t think that would’ve been possible in Indiana. But I wonder what we’ll do if/when we move across several states. We’ve never had “keeper” furniture so it was easier to leave.

I didn’t grow up by an Ikea; it wasn’t until I moved to Minnesota that I actually went into one and now, even though it’s by the crazy busy Mall of America, I enjoy taking a trip and roaming their set-ups, maybe get some meatballs and sit by the giant windows with Greg. When we get a house, the kitchen might consist of their cabinets and flooring. (We are more repair/design/stage and sell the house people in hopes of making a profit and we’re looking forward to that in the coming years.) I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog about design/decor and thought about starting a career in staging/design/decor, another passion of mine. I keep up on specific styles, not trends. I don’t usually like trends.

Greg has a fascination with the Ikea model of business, design methods and finishes the products have-being the wood/furniture engineer that he is. It’s a glimpse into potential competition or inspiration for later in life. Inspiration hits him from several sources and he begins to doodle. Some day he would like to start an RTA (ready to assemble) business with quality furniture, a bit better than Ikea and inspired by West Elm, Room & Board, CB2 and a bunch of designers and companies not recognized by the average person so I won’t bore you with that. (If you said too late, you are my kind of person. Good one.)

There are some people out there that do their best to put Ikea down and I can’t help but wonder if they are the same people that want to overhear someone they think is more of a hipster than they are deep down (making them the anti-hipster in hipster form). They spend their lives listening to other peoples’ opinions in order to conclude their own on things like bars, clubs, drinks, stores, and on and on. That or maybe they have no idea what it’s like not to have enough money or ever save enough to buy even a mock version of the Arco lamp and Eames chair (both things I wish I could have) and thus, not know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck or close to it.

That really does build character: a more self-sufficient albeit a little bitter but realistic character. I feel bad for those types; I have to think about how hard it must be to not feel confident enough in yourself that you prey on others so that you don’t look as vulnerable as you really are-sad. The “look at that person so you don’t look at me” tactic. But it’s hard when you’re their target and they surround themselves with similar people such that you are bombarded with messages that you aren’t ok just the way you are…I hate snobbery. I really didn’t intend to go that route. Imagine that star passed by and it says “the more you know” from NBC.

Recipe time! I posted a delicious new pizza concoction yesterday and one a few weeks ago- cilantro chutney pizza and asparagus, goat cheese and potato pizza-both involved yellow cornmeal for a great crunch on the crust. Amazing!

All of that said, I had leftover cornmeal and began a search for another recipe focusing on the ingredient. I came across eatmakeread’s blackberry ricotta cornbread-bingo. (I love that site.)

It was handy that I had ricotta cheese too. I decided that I wanted a sweeter version without the corn (since I didn’t have any) and even after adding honey, think it needed more sweetness. If you want a more traditional cornbread, leave out the extra sugar (I’ll supply both versions). You could add more honey, sugar or agave nectar-your sweetener of choice. Change up the berry if you wish. What a great breakfast, brunch, dessert, snack…let’s just say when you’re hungry.

Blackberry Ricotta Cornbread adapted from eatmakeread
Makes 8 slices

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tbsp flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
4 tbsp sugar (more if you want the sweeter version)
1 to 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar-optional (I added this)
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup cooked corn (I left this out)
½ cup ricotta
1 1/4 cups fresh blackberries
3 tbsp butter
whipped cream, butter, honey- garnish (add honey, for a change, in place of sugar if you make it yourself)

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, sift the 1 cup of flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, whisk the milk, oil, egg, sugar, optional honey and baking soda. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

In another bowl, coat the berries with the remaining 1 tbsp of flour and fold into the batter with the corn and ricotta. Don’t stir too much, just until incorporated.

Over low/medium heat, in a cast iron skillet, melt the butter. Be sure to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet. Cook for just a few minutes, until it smells nutty. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes. I had to cover it with foil half-way through so be mindful of burning. Cool for 5 minutes, cut and serve. Garnish with butter, honey, or whipped cream.

14 thoughts on “Decorating Style and Blackberry Ricotta Cornbread

  1. I fucking hate Ikea and not because I am some repressed hipster–no, it’s because no furniture store should be a rat maze with a checkout at the end. And when you finally buy that expensive and cheaply made shit you shouldn’t have to deliver and put it together yourself–with allen keys.

    1. Oh man, Greg would be pissed. Actually, he wouldn’t care but I disagree. It serves a cheap purpose and is an option for people with tiny budgets, although aggravating to put together. Greg zips through those things so I’m not the one doing it. Most RTA furniture created outside of Ikea is easier to put together but at a cost of course. That’s why Greg spends a lot of time creating methods of joints and whatnot to eliminate most aggravation. He’s not the biggest fan of Ikea-he just looks at places like that to learn. Plus, I’m the person that only buys things when shipping is free. We can’t afford to get things new unless it’s at an Ikea price or lower.

    2. It isn’t expensive, that’s the point. As far as being cheaply made, I have a chair and bed frame that I have had for two years and they still look good and work fine. I for one, will go through the rat maze and put things together if it is going to save me $$$. The style of bed frame I wanted was $1,100. The frame I found at IKEA was very similar and was $237. Yes it took me 2 hours to put together. Don’t care.

      1. We’ve not had a problem with things falling apart but I was used to furniture from Sauder growing up which, in my opinion, is similar but not as modern as Ikea and we never had a problem. I think Ikea does a good job of keeping “on trend” and that keeps me interested. I just mix it in with my other pieces and I’m not ashamed to say I bought something at Ikea…that is the good stuff from where I come from.

  2. So I also like Ikea…much to my husband’s chagrin! He’s too hip (but I agree, it serves a functional purpose). I love shopping at thrift stores for unique pieces, but sometimes you just need to get a simple table. This skillet bread looks amazing. I am so enjoying your blog (great pictures, posts, and wonderful layout). Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Monet! I love a bargain, I’m picky though. I get an idea of what I want in my head and research pieces I like, either try to save for it or find something similar in a lower price range. Thrift stores are fun and garage sales too.

  3. Great skillet bread…ricotta and blackberries great add to cornbread…love the pics…we have no ikea anywhere near us, but if we did..I would so be there..


    1. My favorite part about it is pretending to live in one of the set-ups and ultimately receive odd looks. I feel for you with no Ikea.

  4. I have dying to visit Ikea, but our closest one is about 3 hours away. Meanwhile, I pour over their catalog and visit their site. One of these days…but for now, I need to make this cornbread. How do you think frozen berries would work? I have some I need to use…thaw first or use frozen or forget about it and go with the fresh?

    1. Greg and I have friends that drive 6 hours to go to one-it’s crazy. Frozen berries work great, I used them although they called for fresh. Don’t thaw them, they didn’t turn everything purple that way or at least not so much, unless you like that look. One day you will make it to Ikea!

  5. Cornmeal, ricotta and blackberries – genius, and you make it look so wonderful in the black cast iron. Thanks! PS – IKEA is wonderful.

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