Friday, April 16, 2010

Another thing you never knew was so easy



I'm not sure why, but the thought of cheese making intimidates me. It just seems like one of those things that only a select few can master.
I have had this recipe for homemade ricotta cheese for a while. Actually, I typed it out on October 8th, 2008, so that's more than a while, right? Wow, that was a lot of commas. Ack!! Another one. Dang. My English 1A professor was right! I DO have comma diarrhea.
Anyway, where was I? Yes, so I've had this recipe on my desk at work since then. I have no idea where it came from. None whatsoever. I saw it somewhere, copied it into Word, printed it out, and on my desk it sat until last weekend. Then it happened. I took the plunge. I made my first cheese. While it's not an aged cheddar or Romano, it is was heavenly. I saw was because it's gone. Not a nibble was left.
I'm almost hesitant to tell you all just how easy it is. Mostly because I like people to think I'm fantastic. I use trickery to fool most of them. Easy recipes like this that produce fantastical results that seem so out of reach for the regular Joe, are how I keep up the mystique.

Ok, ok. I'll share. But only cuz you're cute.
Creamy-Dreamy Ricotta Cheese

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 T white vinegar
½ tsp sea salt

Gee, guess who shops at Walmart??

Warm the milk and cream over medium-high heat until foamy and steamy (185 degrees). Do NOT let it boil.
Allow me to throw in this little nugget: use a pot that is big enough. This one: too small. I hadn't even added all of the ingredients at this point!
This one: much too big, but I wasn't about to dirty a 3rd pot.
Remove from heat. Add vinegar and stir gently for 30 seconds; mixture will curdle almost instantly. I'll be honest here, it looks nas-tastic at this point. Push on, friend. It will all be worth it shortly. Add the salt and stir 30 seconds longer. Cover with a clean towel and let stand for 2 hrs.
Line a large colander with several layers of cheesecloth, allowing several inches to overhang. Set the colander in a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer curds to colander. Carefully gather the corners of the cheesecloth and close with a rubber band and hang over bowl.
You likey my fancy-shmancy system I rigged up here? Yup, that is totally a rubber-bandy headband.
Let the ricotta drain for 30 minutes, gently pressing and squeezing the cheesecloth occasionally to drain off the whey. Transfer ricotta to a bowl and use at once or cover and refrigerate.

Close yer yaps. Yes, it's that easy. The results are amazing. Seriously, you will never, ever buy the store bought stuff again. Ridiculous, right? Why did I let this recipe sit on my desk for a year and a half? Because I was intimidated by cheese making! Geez.

I used my ricotta to make the kick-assiest baked pasta dish I've ever had. My picky eater, Twin A, even liked it! She wanted a small bowl for herself. I drizzled it with honey and let her have at it. She declared it "the best thing I never had." Yeah, made me scratch my head too. Fairly certain she meant ever.


Enjoy.


4 comments:

Sassypants Wifey said...

Word. I am excited to try it. I will have to think of some kind of stuffed shell spinach dish to make with it. Ha, how bout stuffed shells... right?! So yeah, I love that you posted this though. I need something fabu for the next time the in laws swing over for dinner. I will fill you in later on why I am in the dog house... you can rest assure its dumb. Smoochies love bug!

JennyMac said...

Ok..I just learned to make butter which is also SUPER easy and now this? MammaDucky..I heart you. Thanks for sharing this info.

Sweet Tea said...

Thanks for stopping by my Blog and giving me the idea of Independent Study. I'm not familar with it at all but am going to check into it. I'd like to know all my options, so this is another possibility. I love the fact that you have done this so know about it first-hand. If you have any more info or suggestions you can email me at
bunkodeb@aol.com

THANKS!!

Chantel said...

Confessions of a cheese-aholic... Um, I think I love you. :)

I'm heading to the store now...