HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE.. Do it!

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that’s homemade ricotta two ways.  Left with candied pecans, figs and candied jalapeños.  Right with hot pepper jelly/jam.  Served with crackers or French Bread.

 

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Here’s how it looks still in the cheese cloth-lined colander.  This version has 2 Tbs. coarse black pepper added during the stirring

HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE

Don’t be afraid to try this.  As long as you don’t let it boil over, and you use a good loose weave cotton dishtowel (or several layers of cheesecloth), you’ll be ok and you can amaze your friends!  I mean, who makes their own cheese these days except Dr. Mike? And this one doesn’t require any special equipment or expensive cheese kits.

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I love these cause they don’t need refrigeration UNLESS you want to whip it, then it                        needs to be COLD.

1 quart whole milk

1 cup heavy cream (see picture above)

1 Tbs. salt

4 Tbs. white vinegar

Before you start, assemble everything on the counter.  Put a colander into a deep bowl or pan and line with cloth (I use those muslin cheapies from Walmart.  If you use cheese cloth, be sure to use several layers.  Otherwise the “curds” will just slide right through the loose holes.  Ask me how I know.  It took me several ruined batches to figure out why I wasn’t getting the lumps you should get.  My cloth holes were TOO loose)

In a heavy bottom saucepan, place milk, cream and salt.  Bring it to a boil.  This is where it is critical that you are watching.  I usually set a timer for about 5 minutes and then start paying attention, because it takes a few minutes to come to the boil.    As soon and it becomes a “Rolling” boil, set the pan off the heat and drizzle the vinegar into the milk.  Stir once.  At this point you can add pepper or other additions, but the first few times you make it I suggest you leave it plain.  Let the pan set off the heat for 10 minutes.  Then gently pour the mixture into the cloth lined colander. You should see some “lumps”–those are CURDS!  You need to have some room under the colander for the “whey” or liquid, to drain into.  Be sure the colander has some clearance under it.   OR, you could simply set the colander in the sink,  let it drain and discard it.  But some people like to save it for recipes.  It is perfectly good to use in soups (especially creamy soups–in place of the water.)  For instance, when I make potato soups or chowders, I always start with 2 or 3 cups of water to boil the vegetables in.  This “whey” works great for that, and adds some nutrition to the soup.  The cheese is done when it holds together.  I let is set about one hour.  The longer it sets, the drier it gets.  This is the cheese you sometimes see in Italian movies, hanging on a line in a ball.  Thats a fun one for a party!  People say, “What is that hanging off your faucet, dripping into the sink?”  “Oh, that’s just my homemade cheese I make all the time!”

If you saw my Instagram (askmehowiknowcb), I did a video and showed the ricotta and a nice way to serve it:  on a cracker or French bread with hot pepper jelly.  Here’s the jelly  recipe.  Another seemingly difficult recipe that is SO easy!

RED PEPPER JELLY

4 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped

2 jalapeños, chopped and seeded (unless you like it HOT!)

Place peppers in a food processor and pulse quickly.    You don’t want pulp, you              just  want small chunks

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 tsp salt

Place all into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer about an hour, or till the ‘jelly’ is thick and reduced.  That’s it!  Cool and put into jars.  Serve with homemade ricotta cheese

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Another thing you could add to this would be chopped sun dried tomatoes, or jalapeños, OR parmesan cheese.  Try it!

 

 

 

 


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