I've mentioned in past stories of dinner parties where I tried my hand at making homemade Ricotta. If you haven't tried making cheese at home, please do! And then tell me all about it because Ricotta is the only one I've made so far. I've heard that Mozzarella is also fairly easy to make, but the added ingredient of rennet always deters me (gotta find it, then go get it, you know, first world problems). One day I'll make Mozzarella, and lay freshly grown tomatoes and basil leaves on it from my organic garden, the garden that I hope will one day exist in my reality instead of just in my food fantasies. In the meantime, Ricotta will do because it's very very simple to make and is sure to wow any dinner party. I use the Ina Garten recipe, which only requires 4 simple ingredients. You can dress up the cheese however you like - my favorite is to use fresh herbs like dill, chives or even rosemary.
Homemade Ricotta - adapted from Ina Garten
|Curds and Whey|
4 cups of whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (white vinegar is fine)
Pour the milk and cream into a pot, preferably stainless steel or enameled and add the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat (so as not to burn the liquid) and stir occasionally. Once the liquids have come to a boil, add the vinegar and stir. Leave the liquid to stand for about 1-2 minutes. You will start to see the liquid curdle, eventually separating into two parts, the curds and the whey (yellowish liquid). During this time, take out a cheese cloth and put it over a sieve or a tall bowl to allow the water to drip down. Pour the liquid into the bowl and let it drain for about 30 minutes. The longer you allow it to drain, the thicker the cheese will be. Make sure the liquid does not touch the cheese cloth. Once you are done, transfer the ricotta into a bowl and discard everything else (unless you want to keep the whey - that's for another recipe). You can serve the cheese immediately or you can cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
|Mcgyver'd Cheese Drainer|
I didn't have a cheese cloth and used a nut milk bag instead, it worked fine. And since I didn't have a sieve big enough I Macgyver'd my way into hanging my nut milk bag onto a wooden ladle, which then hung over a stock pot. I also ended up draining my cheese for about 2 hours which made for extra thick ricotta. Very yummy.