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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

ricotta cheese

What’s your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?  Do you like those simple recipes that look like they took a couple hours?  (Does anyone else remember the Rice Krispies commercial from the early 90s where the little girl dusted herself with flour after making Rice Krispies to make it seem like she was making something really complicated?). Why do I remember these things?  The things the mind chooses to store. Instead of that commercial, you could have stores some basic algebra, mind. Thanks a lot. :).

Maybe you’re more of a person who snatches recipes from friends. You go to a party or get together, have something you really like, and snatch the recipe. That way you always know you’ll like the final product in advance.

Or maybe your the mad scientist, who likes to experiment with weird things. I felt a little like a mad scientist when I tried this particular recipe. I mean, ricotta cheese…who makes their own ricotta cheese?  Me, apparently. And you know what?  It was a blast!

In a college cooking class once I made mozzarella cheese. It was such a weird experience. It really feels like you’re creating something out of nothing. It’s milk, it’s watery, and suddenly ta da!!!!!  It’s mozzarella cheese.  You kind of have the same experience making ricotta cheese.  It’s milky, mushy, and you think you’ve made a mistake. Then you strain it and alakazam!  Just a little swish and flick of your Hogwarts approves wand and you have ricotta cheese!

ricotta cheese

Just a warning for those making ricotta cheese: if you have pets, and they tend to circle like anticipating sharks when you head to the kitchen, this is one of those recipes that might bring out the begging.  Exhibit 1: Oliver Twist.  As you see, he’s usually pretty docile.  He’s pretty much all about the naps.  He is king of the naps.  But for some reason this cat loves dairy.  Eating a piece of cheese?  His eyes turn into Puss in Boots.  Put some cottage cheese on a plate?  Oliver Twist is right there.  And when I made this ricotta cheese he became the best friend of my ankles.  He was spreading it on pretty thick.  Sorry, sweet Oliver, I have plans for this ricotta.  Enjoy some catnip instead.

lazyoliver

So what exactly can you do with this ricotta cheese?  What, you mean besides TAKE OVER THE WORLD?  MWAHAHAHAHA.  Ahem, sorry.  Sometimes that just happens when I like a recipe.  Anyhoo, I found this recipe in the fantastic book First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple & other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More) by Allison Kave.  She uses it to make a Melopita (a Greek honey and cheese pie).  Which pretty much sounds like an awesome way to use it.  I would also suggest turning it into a lovely bruschetta, introducing it to your favorite lasagna, or you can do what I did: make the most awesome lemon ricotta pancakes.  Anything you do will be lovely.

Get your cheese on!

ricotta cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart whole milk (don't use ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar.
Instructions
  1. Place a cheese cloth (or a paper towels) over a fine mesh strainer and place that over a large bowl.
  2. In a large sauce pot, mix the cream, milk and salt.
  3. Bring this mixture to a full boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until it looks curdled. (Don't worry. It's supposed to look like that).
  6. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth and let it drain into the bowl for 20-30 minutes, or until it reaches the desired thickness for whatever you plan to use it for.
  7. Use it immediately, or place into plastic and put in the fridge for up to five days.

 

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