Eating my Curds and Ditching the WheyMay 4, 2009 at 11:12 am | Posted in Appetizers, Lunch | 55 Comments
Tags: Cream, Homemade Ricotta Cheese, Lemon Juice, Milk, Ricotta, Ricotta from Scratch, Salt, Whey
Last Friday, I was babysitting my amazing and adorable 10-month old nephew. I love this kid like crazy, so I look forward to being able spend time with him, especially since I have all the time in the world at this juncture! Naturally, the best part of being with him is cuddling him, playing with him, and hell, the diaper changes are no big whoop at all because nothing ‘baby Zach’ is gross to me. One game he really loves I call ‘Bouncy Bouncy Boo Boo’. I lie on my back and lift him up and down – bringing him all the way to my face so we touch noses, then all the way back up so he can ‘fly’.
While we do this, I repeat “BOUNCY BOUNCY BOO BOO” sporadically, in a silly voice, which makes him laugh hysterically. His sweet and goofy laughter just fills my heart and makes it impossible not to smile so wide that my cheeks hurt. Well, he got into such a fit of laughter during Bouncy Bouncy Boo Boo last Friday, that when I brought him back down to touch noses, my gaping grin so wide that you could probably see my wisdom teeth from a mile away, he suddenly dropped his head full force – right onto my right front tooth – PAIN plus a CRACKY like noise, then numbness. It felt like an anvil had crashed through my roof and onto that tooth.
Of course, my first concern was him, but he was fine, still laughing – the babe has one hard head! After checking his head, looking into his eyes, panicking briefly, I afforded myself a nano-second to examine my tooth. A little blood, and boy did it hurt, but of most concern, after him, was the fact that it felt a little loose. OH NO! *stereotype alert* Is it time to pack me off to Appalachia with a case of pork rinds and a banjo??
Just my luck, my dentist wasn’t going to be back in the office until Wednesday for evening hours, but I was told that if it’s only slight mobility, the tooth will tighten up on it’s own within a few days to a week - just stay away from hard foods like apples, hard pretzels etc. Well, it has tightened up a little, and the pain has subsided, but it still feels weird, so I’m setting up an appointment for Tuesday or Wednesday, just to be safe.
Because of this, I’ve been existing on soup for the past week. I don’t want to take ANY chance of a chunk of even soft fruit in yogurt jostling that tooth. What a perfect time to try homemade ricotta cheese! It’s soft, no biting down..no gaping hole smile.
Technically, this isn’t how ricotta cheese is made, but it tastes exactly like (but better) the ricotta cheese we’re all used to and it IS ricotta cheese. Ricotta (meaning recooked) is usually made out of whey, the liquid separated out from the curds when cheese is made, like mozzarella, and recooked. In this recipe, you’re using the whole milk plus acid to make the ricotta and discarding the whey (although you can use it in homemade breads, or other preparations which I can’t conjure up at this moment). This is the perfect time to ask, Can anyone think of any good uses for the liquid whey outside of watering the garden? I have this weird thing about waste!).
Not only is this easy, with just 4 ingredients and a super rapid cooking time, but the results are well worth it. You’ll never want to eat store bought again, although it does take quite a bit of milk – as in 8 cups of milk plus 1 cup of cream for a yield of about 1 1/2 to 2 cups ricotta, OK, maybe you shouldn’t completely rule out store bought, but trust me – this is WELL worth tackling every so often, and the fresh, creamy result is to die for. BTW, it didn’t jostle my tooth, so I may not have to relocate after all. This is a good thing *stereotype alert #2* as demanding that someone bend over and “squeal like a pig!!” is not something I ever aspired to do, not even in a kinky way.
Finally, there is another reason I made this, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out *don’t you hate when people do that?* I know I’ve said this before and not come through (I accidentally deleted the photos of what I did with the all dark chocolate Valentino *I paired it with spiced, Frangelico poached pears, hazelnuts and creme fraiche*- and the supposedly soon coming post on the A-Rod deal), but this time it’s for real – I SUUUHWEAR!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese pilfered from Brooklyn Farmouse
-Large Mixing Bowl
8 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Line a large strainer or sieve with cheesecloth and place the strainer over a large bowl.
2. In a large pot or saucepan, bring the milk, cream, and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep milk mixture from scorching.
3. Add all the lemon juice, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring gently once or twice, for 2 minutes. The mixture will curdle immediately.
4. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let drain for an hour or two. Discard the liquid whey (Can be used in bread baking!) and refrigerate the ricotta or use immediately. If you want it really dry, wrap it back up with the cheesecloth, leave it in the strainer over the bowl, weight it down with something heavy, and refrigerate overnight.
Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh ricotta.