I’m a big fan of cheese, especially creamy cheeses. I’ve been known to buy a tub of ricotta and just eat it on whatever is handy for scooping it up, whether it be some pasta shells, bread, crackers, veggies, or in times of true desperation–my fingers. That stuff is delicious.
I recently began reading the blog Smitten Kitchen, where I also got the recipe for the roasted red pepper salad I made a while back. Well, one of the writer’s recent posts was on homemade ricotta. I almost skipped over the recipe, because I figured it was terribly labor intensive and it’s hot in New Mexico–no extended standing and cooking for this lady lately. However, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to check the recipe out. Easiest thing ever. My mind was made up; I was going to make my own ricotta.
3 cups of milk, 1 cup of cream, a little salt, and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. That’s it. I brought the milk, cream, and salt up to 190 degrees (approximately, I was using a meat thermometer, as opposed to the more appropriate candy thermometer). Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Then you dump the mixture into a colander covered with cheesecloth, with a bowl underneath to gather the whey. I didn’t have cheesecloth, and at first attempted to use a paper towel, which was not porous enough, so I put the cheese directly into the mesh colander I have (this was after an hour of watching the whey trickle out drop by drop. I went to amazon and ordered cheesecloth right away…they are quick, but not quick enough for this first batch.
The cheese sat in the whey longer than I would have liked, so I am not sure how it impacted its overall quality. It tasted wonderful and was amazingly creamy. I’m never buying watery store-boought ricotta ever again.
I speared some on bread last night.
And today for lunch, I made lox bagels, substituting the ricotta for the traditional cream cheese. Yummy-ville.
Right now, I have some fresh squeezed lemon-lime juice sitting in the fridge. I got to take my new electric juicer for a spin (bahahahaha!), and I am just waiting for the juice to get nice a cold. 4 lemons, 4 limes, 1/4 cup of raw sugar, and about 5 cups of water. It’s so simple, so delicious.