Welcome back to mmm-yoso!!! It's a long weekend and Kirk is vacationing somewhere in the world, ed (from Yuma) is staycationing (in Yuma) and Cathy is staying at home and blogging today.
Hi. Thought I'd do a quick post about one of my latest food obsessions, fresh 'Ricotta' I make at home. Ricotta means "cooked again" and the name refers to the production process used by the professionals. Ricotta is technically not a cheese, because it is made by coagulating milk proteins, using the whey remaining from other cheese making; re-cooking and not using caseins, which define cheese.
My version is quicker and I don't use leftover whey, since cheesemaking at home would have to happen. I enjoy the taste as well as the texture-like thick sour cream, with a soft, grainy component.
Ricotta is used in many Italian dessert recipes as well as lasagna. This version does taste slightly, pleasantly sweet, in the sort of way cream is sweet. This recipe is pretty versatile and you can eat it with everything...like grains, eggs, olive oil, salad, vegetables, pasta, bread, a spoon...
The ingredients to make about a pound/cup and a half of Ricotta. 3 C whole milk, 1 C heavy cream, 1/2 tsp salt. I use sea salt because it doesn't taste as 'salty' to me. Also, 3 Tbs of fresh squeezed lemon juice will be needed, later.
Put those first three ingredients into a pan (do not use an aluminum or copper pan) and, if you have one, a candy thermometer can be clipped onto the pan also. Stir (with a wooden spoon) while heating. You can see the milk forming bubbles and coating the wooden spoon. At 190º, the mix will begin to boil and basically boil over. As soon as you see the mound of bubbles forming, it *IS* 190º and you need to move the pan immediately to a 'cool' burner so the bottom stops heating. Let the contents of the pan settle down a bit (one or two minutes). Now it will be time to add the 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
Here is a photo of lemons on a dwarf tree in my yard. They are not ready to pick yet. I didn't take a picture of the lemon or juice used for this batch of Ricotta.
After it cools down more (but is still warm, ten-15 minutes) and you can see more curds form, you can pour the mix through a cheesecloth lined strainer over a bowl. The creamy stuff in the cheesecloth is curds, the liquid that falls through is whey...curds and whey...Little Miss Muffet...it's coming full circle! Let this strain at least an hour.
You can place this into another container for serving on the table, if you have guests or for some reason would not finish the approximately one cup of creamy, delightful goodness.
Home made "Ricotta"
3C whole milk
1C heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Mix first three ingredients in a non-reactive (not copper or aluminum) pan with a wooden spoon. Heat on medium , stirring constantly, until the contents reach 190º(the milk begins to boil). IMMEDIATELY move pan. Let cool for about one-two minutes, then add the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Stir gently, just to get curd formation. Leave pan alone for 15 minutes, until most curd formation has occurred. Strain through a cheescloth lined strainer into a bowl for at least one hour. This can be packed into an airtight container and refrigerated overnight. I don't know if it stays fresh for more than two days, since it is gone by then.