Prior to Kimberly Ragosta and her brood living on more than six acres of land with a river running through it, back when writing and publishing a cookbook was just a distant dream, and before three of her five children were born, the now-author was an egg washer at Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich. The experience would shape her understanding of how important it is to sustain and uplift a local food system.
“It wasn’t until 2021 that I had a great idea,” shares Ragosta. With a growing family and passion for cooking farm-fresh meals from scratch, she started reaching out to farmers to establish a symbiotic relationship, bringing home fresh meat and produce in exchange for recipe development. With the harvests, she would create and photograph recipes the farm could use on their websites, blogs, and social media. “This was a win-win for both of us and an amazing blessing to my family.”
Under the moniker of Little House in the Forest, Ragosta shares recipes and homesteading life on Instagram. Devising everything from creamy pasta with wild-hunted turkey to hearty stews and bakes, each meal features ingredients from Rhode Island fields and pastures. “I have always wanted to create a cookbook since I started developing recipes over 16 years ago,” she reflects.
Last month, the fruits of her labor reached bookshelves in the form of A Time to Gather, a whopping 560-page cookbook filled with over 500 farm-to-table recipes that Ragosta has developed over the years, published by Stillwater River Publications. “It was the hardest project I have ever worked on in my life, but I am so proud of the book that I have created,” says Ragosta. “I like nothing more than immersing myself in the local food community and sharing recipes with people.”
Meet the author at book-signing events this month at Pasquale Farms in Richmond on October 7, Windmist Farm in Jamestown October 8, and Emma Acres in Exeter October 15. Follow @littlehouseintheforest on Instagram for more events, and find local retailers stocking A Time to Gather by visiting KimberlyRagosta.com.
• 1/2 cups of your favorite tomatoes, chopped
• 1 small jar marinated artichokes, drained
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped, plus a halved
garlic clove for rubbing on bread
• 1 large roasted red pepper, chopped
• 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for cooking bread
• ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped (or a few sprinkles
of dried if fresh isn’t available)
• Pinch of kosher salt
• 1 small jar pitted kalamata olives, chopped
• Handful of pitted Castelvetrano olives,
• Ciabatta bread, sliced
• Favorite cheese or charcuterie items
1. Prepare a fire with a grate on top. Mix tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, roasted red pepper, olives, olive oil, salt, and basil in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.
2. Cook over a low fire or hot embers, stirring occasionally, until hot.
3. Prepare bread by brushing both sides with olive oil. Rub each side with a halved garlic clove.
4. Cook bread in a cast iron skillet lightly coated with olive oil until both sides are golden brown.
5. Serve toasty bread topped with hot tomato mixture, and enjoy!
Pro-tip: Serve as part of a charcuterie plate. Sometimes we like to spread a little Brie or soft cheese on the bread and then add the tomato mixture on top.
When not penning recipes, Ragosta is likely to be found roughing it in the outdoors with her family, whether hitting the trail, hopping on a kayak, or hunting and fishing – her son Jack even made headlines recently for spotting a rare blue frog in the area. “Rhode Island has no shortage of beautiful outdoor areas,” says Ragosta. Here’s a few family favorites:
Family-friendly hike: Browning Mill Pond in Arcadia Management Area, Hope Valley
Park and explore: Check the tide pools for aquatic life along the scenic Ocean Drive, Newport
Stepstone Falls in Arcadia Management Area, Hope Valley
Wood River, Richmond
for bigger kids:
Ell Pond Preserve Trailhead, Hopkinton
Equally comfortable gathering around a hearth as she is hunkering down for a wholesome camp meal, cooking over an open flame is one of Ragosta’s favorite mediums. “Campfire cooking is such a beautiful and intimate experience,” she shares. “My six- and eight-year-old love collecting sticks and kindling, my 13- and 14-year-old enjoy using their axes and knives to prepare the larger wood, my husband builds the fire, and my 11-year-old assists me with the food prep.”
Ragosta recommends scouring antique stores for your cast iron outdoor cookware: a 10-inch skillet and eight-quart dutch oven should do the trick for just about any meal. You’ll also want a large grate to place over the fire, long utensils like tongs and spatula, fire-proof gloves, and a big tupperware bin to keep everything organized. Plan ahead so you have plenty of time to work before the sun goes down.
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