Saturday, April 16, 2005

Week 1 - RICOTTA CHEESE

Saskatchewan Menu of the Week - April 18.

Breakfast – Sprouted wheat bread with honey.
Lunch – Bread with buffalo salami and mustard, raw carrots.
Dinner – Homemade ravioli filled with ground pork, ricotta cheese and rosemary.

Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is very easy to make at home. (Okay, it's not real authentic ricotta, but it sure looks and tastes just like it). You will need a cooking thermometer and a double-thick piece of cheesecloth for draining the cheese. Acidity can be obtained from either fresh lemon juice or powdered citric acid, which can be purchased at a drug store.

16 cups whole milk
1 tsp citric acid stirred into 1/4 cup cool water, or the juice of six lemons
1 tsp salt

Put the milk in a thick-bottom stockpot. Stir in the citric acid (or the lemon juice) and the salt. With the burner on very low, heat the milk until it reaches 190F stirring occasionally so the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

At 185F, you should start to see the formation of curds. When the temperature reaches 190F, take the pot off the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.

Pour the milk into a colander lined with the muslin, set over the sink. Tie the corners of the muslin together to encase the cheese, and suspend it to drain for an hour. (I hang it from a cupboard knob over the sink.) Refrigerate. You can use this cheese to make ricotta pie (see recipe at Week 9). Note: sometimes I save the leftover liquid and use it to make bread.

Sources: milk from a local farmer.

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