Rocking Ricotta

Our menu has been pretty simple since the baby was born. Fancy cooking? "I ain't got no time for that!" I do have time, when the baby is sleeping, to try to use up some of the things in the freezer. I'm all for re-purposing ingredients. Not only using them, but stretching them to their fullest capacity. One thing we stock up on is milk. The kids drink it, but I also do a lot of cooking and baking that requires milk or milk products. It's not only more cost effective to make my own, but it also tastes better without all the preservatives and additives that come in products you would buy at your local grocery store. 
The last couple of days I've made both yogurt and some Ricotta cheese.

They are both really easy to make. And I feel kind of, ya know, handy making something "fancy" myself that I would just go and grab off a shelf in the refrigerated section at the grocery. At this point, I'm happy to be able to answer that I did something useful during my day, aside from keeping my young ones alive that is. ;) I'm sure you other care-givers can see where I'm coming from there. The fact is, though, that all I did was strain the curds and hang them to drain overnight. It's not really that complicated, so when I actually say it out loud it doesn't sound as magical as it seems. That's ok, though. I still accomplished something between diaper changes, feedings, meals and laundry. I'll pay myself on the back and call it a day. Follow the recipe below so you can feel accomplished, too!
You need:

One gallon of milk
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 tsp salt

In a large pot, heat your milk slowly to 180 degrees. Stir often. This will take a while.
When the milk reaches 180 degrees add the salt and vinegar. Give it one or two stirs and then let it sit for a few minutes to let the mixture curdle.

Strain it in cheese cloth. I hung mine to strain overnight. If you like it softer, strain less of the whey.
It will keep for about two weeks. If you don't eat it all at once that is.

One gallon of milk made just over 1 lb of cheese.
You can also save your whey to make more Ricotta, or use it in baking or other foods. You can even use it in shakes.

On my to-do list today....Cannoli dip using, you guessed it, my fresh Ricotta.

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