It's been a while. Since I posted, not since I cooked. I'm still cooking regularly, but the pressures of the beginning of the school year, graduate school and the deadlines of all the baking groups I had signed up for caught up with me. So, for the past month I haven't so much as commented on a food blog.
Tonight I'm attempting to get back into the swing of things, and I'm sharing with you a recipe I hinted at a few months ago but never got around to sharing.
Creamy, homemade ricotta cheese.
It was my first attempt at making cheese. The process disproved all of my assumptions. Making cheese is not expensive, and it doesn't require a lot of special equipment (other than cheese cloth, which couldn't be cheaper). It's the kind of recipe you can be happy with the first time you make it.
The process was simple. Boil some milk, cream and salt. Add lemon juice. Stir twice. Let sit undisturbed, and then drain to the desired consistency. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.
I served the ricotta atop broiled crostini, and I added a layer of roasted tomato confit to top it all of. The combination was perfect (thank you Thomas for the inspiration). My ricotta was a little on the lemony side (I'd use a bit less next time), but the lemon taste paired perfectly with the tomato confit.
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Deb suggests three tablespoons of lemon juice, but the lemon taste was quite apparent in the finished ricotta cheese. Next time, I'll try adding a bit less. The recipe yields a cup of ricotta cheese and will keep for three or four days, though I'm sure your ricotta will not last that long!
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart saucepan. Attach a thermometer, and heat the milk to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Stir once or twice to combine, gently and slowly. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Let the curds strain for at least an hour. The ricotta was spreadable and my ideal consistency after one hour, but you could let your ricotta sit for longer to yield a firmer texture. The ricotta will firm up a bit more as it cools. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to the refrigerator.