Yesterday’s post was epic and last week was busy with a daily canning post. Today, not surprisingly, I don’t have many words. We took time out this weekend to relax, and my Aunt Jenny’s lakeside home was the perfect place.
A terrific cook, my aunt nourished us with roast lamb and other delights; it was wonderful to be cooked for. In-between meals, I sought solace at the end of the dock to process the past month and ponder what lies ahead. Life continues to be unpredictable, wonderful, tragic and mysterious.
I brought a jar of homemade ricotta out to my aunt’s and served it up for breakfast, spooned into bowls and topped with roasted strawberries. I’ve been making ricotta, well, since I was about as high as a bar stool, when I would help my mother make cheese from our goat’s milk. There’s nothing like fresh ricotta.
As I made a batch on Friday, I wondered if I should give up blogging and start giving cooking classes instead (I’m not going to!), because nothing makes me happier than demonstrating to others how simple scratch cooking, such as ricotta, just is.
Perhaps you’ve only seen ricotta in a plastic tub at the supermarket and didn’t even know it could be easily reproduced at home. Well it can, and today, I’ll show you just how.
How to serve fresh ricotta? Well, when we’re not layering it in lasagna, spreading it on crusty bread, or enjoying it with strawberries for breakfast, I like to make a simple summer snack.
Easy entertaining in summer for me means setting out a few fresh ingredients and letting my guests assemble their own food. It may be a sandwich bar, a DIY ice cream sundae, or a simple one bite appetizer like the ones I’m sharing today.
Here I’ve paired a jar of soft, creamy ricotta with crackers and mini toasts, sliced radishes and a jar of slow-roasted tomatoes.
Skip the hummus and pita chips and bring this snack to your next potluck or picnic.
Recipe: Creamy Homemade Ricotta
This recipe is slightly adapted and used with permission from In Jennie’s Kitchen.
Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.
- 4 cups organic whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Prepare a fine sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with several layers of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel.
- Measure all ingredients into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. If you have a thermometer, attach it to the side of the pot. TIP: make sure the bottom of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot or you won’t get an accurate reading.
- As the mixture heats, it will become grainy, and then, between 175°F and 200°F the liquid will separate and small curds will begin to form. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Gently ladle the the curds into the cheesecloth. Once most of the curds are in the cloth, tip the pot and pour the whey into the cloth.
- Allow the ricotta to drain for a few minutes, longer if you want a firmer cheese. Enjoy the ricotta warm or transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to four days.
Wait! Don’t toss that whey!
I couldn’t bear to dump the whey from my ricotta down the drain and thought it might make the perfect base for crepes. A little experimenting and recipe testing later (the very best kind) I had a recipe for Whey Crepes, served with fresh ricotta and rhubarb compote, of course.
We’ve been enjoying these frequently for Saturday morning breakfasts.