Don't judge, but I am on a total high from this weekend. One that comes from a combination of feeling like a pioneer woman, living off the land, making my own cheese and from knowing the possibilities that lie ahead after trying this new technique and tasting the results. What an incredible discovery! I didn't realize how easy this would be, or how delicious the outcome would be. It took two women I adore, Ina Garten and Gwyneth Paltrow, joining forces to get me to try making my own ricotta cheese. I love these ladies, Ina because she is an all knowing, friendly, food goddess with a never ending supply of foolproof recipes. Gwyneth I love because she is a total foodie (have you seen her TV series Spain...On the Road Again with Mario Batali and Mark Bittman? Awesome!), she is a beautiful Mom with an amazing fashion sense, she is married to Chris Martin and their best friends are Jay-Z and Beyonce, she has a booming career with an upcoming appearance on Glee, and I totally love her GOOP lifestyle website - which is where I found this recipe. And that is what this is really about. Also included in this post is a simple and delicious way to use your fresh homemade ricotta cheese (also from Ina/GOOP). Add fresh herbs and flavourings to make a simple but tasty topping for crostini. You can and should however, use this cheese for any recipe that calls for ricotta from this day forward, forever and ever, Amen.
colander lined with cheesecloth, sitting in a large bowl
bringing the milk, cream and salt to a boil
curdled milk after adding the vinegar
milky mixture draining through cheesecloth
Origin: Ina Garten via Goop
Notes: For best results, use the best quality organic milk and cream you can find.
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Set a large sieve/colander over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve/colander with the cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and cream into a large, heavy bottomed pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Pour the mixture into your prepared cheesecloth and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Occasionally discard the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta will be. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discard the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
Herbed Ricotta Crostini
Origin: Adapted from Ina Garten via Goop
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 scallions/green onions thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 crusty loaf of bread or baguette (Ciabatta is great)
additional olive oil
In a medium bowl combine, ricotta, scallions, mint, parsley and 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your bread into 1/2 inch slices and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle the bread slices with a little olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes or until just slightly browned and crispy.
Spread toasted bread slices with herbed ricotta mixture and serve.