Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Fresh Corn Salsa

July 7, 2018

My two favorite summer foods – tomatoes and fresh corn.  Throw in some onions, jalapeno, lime juice and spices and you’ve got salsa!  This is my favorite salsa.  You can do anything with it.  Eat it with Scoops as is.  Add black beans and serve it as a side dish.  Add chicken or shrimp, maybe some rice, and eat it as a main dish.  Super fresh, super easy/IMG_2671

The corn is the hardest part.  Shuck and silk it first.  No cooking needed.  My tip is that you keep your hands as dry as possible for the silking.  Water makes the silks sticky and hard to remove.  Then get a wide, shallow bowl and a sharp knife.  Put one end of the cob into the bowl and cut the kernels off.  The bowl will catch the kernels.  Then dice the onion about the same size as the corn kernels.  It makes the salsa easier to eat and it looks nicer.

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Seed the jalapeno and dice it finely.  Add the juice of one lime.  Add cumin, chili powder and salt to taste.  You can add chopped fresh cilantro if you like.

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Here’s another tip.  Don’t add the tomatoes until you’re ready to serve it.  You can refrigerate the corn mixture.  Tomatoes get mealy and lose flavor in the fridge so add them at the last minute.  You can make extra of the corn mixture.  It will keep for 2-3 days.  Just take out what you need and add tomatoes to it.

Enjoy!

 

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Farmers’ Market Fun

June 30, 2018

Nothing is better than food from the farmers’ market unless you pick it out of your own garden.  My garden is doing a whole lot of nothing this year.  Looks like I’m going to get summer squash, green beans, and radishes and not much else.  My tomatoes are mostly drowned and the peppers never really took off.  No problem.  I have many wonderful markets to choose from!

Now that it’s almost July in Central Virginia, the market is so full of wonderful things that it’s hard to resist buying too much.  I’ve been waiting for tomatoes and butter beans and corn to come in – and they have!  I also got some eggplant, potatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos, cucumbers, bacon, and a pork shoulder.  I was too late to get eggs today, but I had a few left for deviling so all is not lost!

Here’s the thing about food that was picked on Friday and you eat on Saturday or Sunday – it’s the very best it can be already.  Very little dressing up needed.  Butter beans cooked in salted water, drained, and with a little butter added.  Squash and onions cooked with garlic, salt and pepper until it chars just enough.  Cucumbers sliced and put in a water, vinegar and dill bath.  A London Broil cooked on the grill.  Dinner done.  Divine.

I had my first tomato sandwiches of the year today.  That’s really the sign that summer has started.  Soft bread, tomato with salt and pepper, and Duke’s mayonnaise.  Slider buns and large dinner rolls work great. The world’s most perfect food.  Add some cucumber or bacon for crunch if you like.

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The London Broil has nothing but salt, pepper and olive oil on it.  When I cook a fairly large piece of meat on the weekend I like to make it as plain as possible so it’s super versatile for the rest of the week.  The key is to take the beef out of the fridge about an hour before you start cooking.  Salt it when you set it out so the salt has some time to work it’s way into the meat.  It will flavor and tenderize.  This one is cooked 16 minutes total – 4 minutes, 90 degree turn, 4 more minutes, flip, repeat.  I like it on the pink side.  Let it rest while you cook the sides.

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Later in the week your veggies might need a little more than salt or butter to help them be their best.  This week you’re likely to see steak tacos with corn salsa.  Grilled eggplant with cucumber and feta relish.  Grilled vegetable salad with buttermilk dressing.  We’ll see how things go.  I’ve got cucumber pickles and deviled eggs to make everything feel a little like summer.  Can’t wait!

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Everything a “meat and 3” should be!

Too tired Friday

June 15, 2018

It’s been a long week, y’all.  And it’s not quite over.  Still, a girl needs her comfort food.  Lucky for me I had some leftovers and a few odds and ends to make a dinner that felt about nice enough to get me through.

Summer Friday night is often a little piece-y.  I’m always down to the last few items from last Saturday’s farmers’ market trip.  Tonight that meant a few fancy lettuce leaves; a baby squash; a sweet onion; and a mostly green tomato.  Here’s a tip. If you buy a green tomato to use as a green tomato you need to use it in 5-6 days.  As it sits around it’ll start to pink.

Combine the lettuce with the leftover peas and rice from earlier in the week.  Main course done.  My first squash and onions of the summer.  First side done.  And some barely pink fried green tomatoes.  Not a ton of effort, but tastes a lot like loving care to this girl.

What’s the first sign that a yummy dinner is on the way?  All three of my cast iron skillets on the stove at the same time.

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I’ll direct you to a previous post to get details on making fried green tomatoes.  For tonight I can tell you that going the lazy route doesn’t pay off.  A breading station has 3 parts:  flour, egg, cornmeal in this case.  I cheated.  Cornmeal, egg, cornmeal.  It’s not the same.  The flour on the bottom makes the coating fluffy underneath.  The egg in the middle makes everything stick.  The cornmeal on the outside makes a crispy coating.  Your other option is cornmeal on the bottom.  Egg in the middle. Panko or breadcrumbs on the outside.

Two layers of crispy isn’t the same.  Don’t misunderstand, they were darn good.  And I burned the tar out of my tongue eating the first one when it was still too hot, as always.  But there is a better way.  And this is it.

The second sign that a yummy dinner is on the way is that it takes more than one dish to get it to the table!  It’s not the prettiest meal I’ve ever made, but it did taste like summer.  And it did feel like a little comfort, so it did its job plus a little.  Some days that’s the best you can expect.

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Resurrecting Squash

April 2, 2018

This is more of a tip than a recipe.  I knew I was having catfish tonight.  I bought some on Saturday and yesterday being Easter, I hadn’t cooked it yet.  My choices today were to freeze it or cook it.  We’ll get to that in the next post.  What I needed then was a vegetable.  A dig through the freezer uncovered some squash and onions. Perfect.  But there’s a catch.  Check that date out.  8/13.  Nope, not August 13th.  August of 2013!

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I grew these squash and zucchini in my garden that year.  I bought a Food Saver that year too. I’ve had really good luck with things I sealed with my Food Saver and stuck in the freezer.  This might be the biggest test.  Nothing to lose by giving it a try!

First thing is to thaw the block of squash ice.  Put it in a pan over low heat and stir it gently.  You don’t want to tear up squash that’s already pretty fragile from being frozen for 5 years.   Then dump it in a colander to get the water out.  Getting the water out is key.  It looks pretty good, right?  Totally recognizable as squash, zucchini and onions.

Now time to put a little summer life back in.  This requires a cast iron skillet; some olive oil; and a little butter.  Heat the olive oil then thrown in a pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and begin to brown.  Swirl it around to evenly coat the pan.  Spread the squash and onions out in an even layer.  I like my squash a little charred, even when it’s the first day out of the garden.  If you want a little char, let it sit still in the pan for a couple of minutes before you stir.  If you like really even browning stir often.

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I have to say, this turned out better than I had any reason to hope it would.  The edges of the squash actually still had a little bite to them.  A little salt and it was the perfect side dish!  So, an endorsement for the Food Saver for sure.  And maybe a little resurrection luck because it’s Easter Monday! Smiley

Zesty Honey-Lemon Dressing

March 10, 2013

March potluck this weekend.  Since potluck was Friday night and I had a feeling that work might get a little hairy I signed up to make salad.  I made it as easy as possible without completely bailing on making something.  I make most of my salad dressings from scratch and I decided that counted as “making something.”

The main dish for potluck this month was a pasta dish so I did a green salad with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives.  That’s a lot of briny goodness so I needed a dressing with something sweet to balance it out.  This is a good one.  The honey and lemon come out really nicely.  The zesty is a little more subtle.  If you want more zest just add more dijon.  I left out the fresh parsley because I didn’t have any.  Probably a nice addition, but not critical.  I made it with the immersion blender because I’m too lazy to whisk enough to get a good emulsion.  Most of the time when I whisk by hand the dressing separates and has to be shaken before serving.  If I use the stick blender I don’t have that issue.  A regular blender will do too.

Not much else to say about this one.  It’s a keeper.  I’ll be using it throughout the Spring on early vegetables and greens.  Yum!

Good? Good.
Easy? Easy.
Good for company? Sure.
Special shopping? Nope.

Zesty Honey-Lemon Dressing

Ingredients

3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions

Blend all ingredients until completely combined. Keeps up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pasta

January 21, 2013

Next weekend is the Third Annual No Football Sunday Dinner.  I’ll explain that next weekend, but in short, it means that there are 10 people coming to my house for dinner so I need to start early on the planning and cooking.  The theme is Italian food this year so I spent today making pasta.  It’s kind of like playing in play-doh and way easier than making bread or pie crust.  I used to have a hand crank to flatten and cut the dough.  This was the debut of the pasta attachments for the KitchenAid.  Good stuff.

Pasta

There’s not much in the way of ingredients for pasta.  Essentially you’ve got a 2:1 ratio of eggs to cups of flour.  That’s it.  No salt, no oil, nothing.  You beat the eggs and put them in the middle of a pile a flour.  Use your hands to mix it up.  That part’s a mess.  Very sticky.  You mix in the flour a little at a time until it stops being sticky.  According to Marcella Hazan, from whom I will take any and all advice regarding Italian food, it’s the kneading and stretching that count.  She recommends that you knead the ball of pasta dough a full 8 minutes.  Gotta tell you that’s a really long time, but it’s kind of a Zen thing once you get into it.  At the end you have a beautiful, gold, perfectly smooth and silky ball of pasta dough.

When you’re ready to roll it out I really recommend a pasta crank, manual or on your mixer.  You can do it with a rolling pin, but you have to have mad skills.  You need the dough to be completely uniform.  You have flatten the dough a little at a time.  Again, according to Ms. Hazan, the rolling by degrees step (several passes on each thickness setting) is key to producing good pasta and it’s the step that is often skipped in commercially produced pasta.  I’m counting on that step being the difference between just passable pasta and really good pasta.  It certainly is the difference between pasta that takes 30 minutes to make and pasta you spend a whole afternoon on.

The good news about this is that once you’ve spent a whole afternoon on pasta making you don’t have to feel compelled to eat it all at once.  It dries perfectly well and can be stored for a few weeks.  Use an airtight container and store it in the cabinet.  I’m counting on this being a winning strategy also since the big dinner is still 6 days away.  I could have made my life easier if I’d remembered to twirl the freshly cut pasta into little nests, but I didn’t.  I’m going to have to store this in a long container or I’m going to have to break it up.  The pasta has to dry 24 hours so I can figure that out tomorrow. 

Good?  We’ll see.
Easy? Not at all.
Good for company? I can’t see why else you’d go to so much trouble.
Special shopping? Definitely not.

Homemade Pasta

Ingredients

4 eggs
2 C all-purpose flour, plus some as needed

Directions

Beat the eggs with a fork until well blended.
Make a well in the middle of the flour.
Pour the eggs into the well. Add flour into the eggs a little at a time.
Mix with a fork until the eggs aren’t runny.
Mix flour in a little at a time with your fingers, forming a dough.
Add flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.
Form a ball.
Knead for 8 minutes, or as long as it takes to make a silky smooth dough.
Cut the finished dough into 6-8 pieces.
Flatten the dough with a pasta press, beginning on the widest setting and rolling progressively thinner until you reach the desired thickness.
Roll at each level 2-3 times, folding the dough into thirds each time.
Cut the dough into ribbons and lay flat to dry.
Dry 24 hours if you plan to store it.

Cranberry Sauce

December 9, 2012

Ok, so I’m a little late on the Cranberry Sauce.  Fresh cranberries are all over the place so I keep looking for ways to use them.  Yesterday I found a recipe for an Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew.  It called for whole berry cranberry sauce so I decided to make my own.  Good call.

This is an Alton Brown recipe. You may have noticed that you don’t see a lot of those on here. I just find him annoying. And yes, that does influence the recipe choices I make. But I wanted to give this a shot because it’s sweetened with honey instead of sugar. That means my nephew could have some if he wanted. So, you may be seeing this again at Christmas. Well, you won’t, but my family might.

Cranberry Sauce

This is good stuff.  And wicked easy.  Just berries, fruit juice and honey.  They key, if you want it to set up like regular cranberry sauce, is to follow the directions.  Think of it like candy making, only easier.  You make the syrup, add the berries and wait for the magic to happen.  Cranberries have enough pectin in them that if you do it right they’ll gel on their own.  Just be sure you don’t overcook it.  If you do the pectin breaks down and the sauce won’t set up.  It’ll still taste good so don’t throw it out, but if you want to be able to slice it be sure you watch the clock.

Not much else to say except that this is better than any cranberry sauce you’ll buy.  Of course it won’t have those ridges on the side of the cranberry sauce like the log that comes out of the can.  If that’s important to you just put it in a can to set up!

Good? You bet.
Easy? Much easier than I thought.
Good for company? Sure. Or just to keep around. Or for gifts.
Special shopping? Fresh cranberries are only available for a short while so just be sure the mood to make it strikes you at the right time.

Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail
1 cup honey
1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups

Directions

Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.

Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.

Cranberry Curd

November 25, 2012

It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving and many of you are probably very tired of being in the kitchen.  I spent the holiday week in the Caribbean so spending a little kitchen time was welcome on such a cold day.  Turns out that canning is much less problematic when it’s 35 degrees outside than when it’s 95 degrees outside.  It’s kind of nice to have a warm steamy kitchen in November.  Lucky for me that a recent Cooking Light magazine included a recipe for Cranberry Curd, a nice twist on the traditional Lemon Curd.

The cranberry curd is in the small jars in the front.  The other jars are the mixed berry jam I also made today.  And in the way back are the peppers I’m drying to grind and use all year.  It’s a little bit “Little House” around here today.

Making curd falls pretty squarely in the ‘intermediate’ category of difficulty, maybe even toward the high end.  It has a number of steps and a fair lot of dishes too.  My kitchen was a pretty big disaster when I was done.  I have no experience with this kind of thing so I limited the recipe adjustments to one.  I left out the Grand Marnier because I didn’t have any.  I added just a touch extra lemon juice for the added liquid. 

So here’s the basic idea.  You cook down some cranberries in lemon juice; puree them in a food processor; and mash them through a sieve.  On the side you make this custard kind of stuff with butter, sugar, eggs and corn starch.  Cook it all in a double boiler.  Then begins the canning process.  Hot curd into hot jars into a hot water bath.  Twenty minutes later – voila! – you have shelf ready cranberry curd. 

I don’t have a lot of tips to offer except to follow the instructions.  Mashing the berries through a sieve is messy and a giant pain.  I was too lazy to get out my food mill, but I don’t know that it would have saved me much time or effort.  Maybe.  In any case you have to do it.  You’ll be tempted to skip that step because the pureed berries look pretty smooth when they come out of the food processor.  They aren’t.  You’ll be surprised how much peel you end up throwing in the trash.  You may also be tempted to skip some of the mixing between egg additions.  Don’t.  In order for the curd to be creamy and to thicken properly you need to beat the curd after each addition.  And be sure to stir frequently as it cooks.  You don’t want it to burn or get grainy from being ignored.  One tip about the double boiler.  If you don’t have one, no big deal.  Use a pot with a little water and a heat resistant bowl.  Regardless be sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.

I decided to can this in a hot water bath canner.  That way folks can store it on the shelf until they open it.  For you canners out there you need 1/2 inch of headspace in the jars and they process for 20 minutes.  If you don’t can, or just don’t feel like it, you can freeze it.  I recommend using Ball’s freezer safe jars for that.  Of course if you just want to use it up you can store it in the fridge for a week or so.  Cover the top in a little plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

I’m pretty impressed with my first batch of curd.  It’s thick and smooth and creamy just like it’s supposed to be.  It has a sweet/tart thing going on, so that’s good.  The cranberry adds a nice red color that’s very holiday festive.  Since most of this will be holiday gifts that works out well.  It’s not as red as the picture in the magazine, but maybe their cranberries were darker than mine.  If the color bothers you add just a touch of red food coloring.  That shouldn’t hurt anything.

What does one do with curd?  The magazine recommends adding it to yogurt or oatmeal.  I think traditionally it’s served with crumpets or scones at tea time.  You can also use it between cake layers or as a cupcake or cookie filling.  Make tarlets.  Serve it over ice cream.  This is really versatile stuff so if you decide to make it make a whole bunch.  I doubled the recipe you see below and still have the ingredients to make another double batch on another day.  I hope folks like it in their Christmas baskets!

Good? Good.
Easy? Not even.
Good for company? Absolutely. A lovely gift.
Special shopping? Nope. Just remember you can only get fresh cranberries in most places at certain times of the year.

Cranberry Curd

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Place cranberry mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Strain cranberry mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

2. Combine sugars and butter in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add egg yolks and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in cranberry mixture, cornstarch, and salt. Place mixture in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until a thermometer registers 160° and mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in liqueur. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Fresh Salsa Verde

September 30, 2012

Whew, happy to be home from some business travel!  And ready to put the garden to bed for the year. Of course that means that while I was away the garden was busy starting over, kind of.  Bunches of green tomatoes on the vine; a few bush beans; and more peppers than I know what to do with.  I took out the tomatoes, beans and squash yesterday.  I’m going to give the peppers another week to finish what they’ve started.  So, that left me with lots of green tomatoes to deal with – but not enough to bother with the whole canning thing.  Salsa verde it is.

Normally salsa verde is made with tomatillos, but I’ve found that really green tomatoes work just as well.  It’s a great use for the tomatoes left on the vine at the end of the season.  The small ones are best because they have fewer seeds and other tomato gunk.  I had a few dozen green Juliet tomatoes that worked great.  The great thing about these is that they don’t have to be husked, cored, peeled or anything.  I quarter them and throw them in the food processor.  Add some garlic, cilantro, jalapenos and salt; pulse a few times; and you’re done.  Couldn’t be easier.

It turns out a little briny; a little crunchy; a little sharp; and a beautiful bright green.  It’s perfect for a lot of things.  Feel free to eat it as is with chips.  I used 2 cups or so – half in white turkey chili and half as garnish – tonight for football watching.  I ended up with 6 half pint jars to spare and share.  Yum.  I’ll be using one of my jars with chicken or fish later this week I’m sure.  Try it with enchiladas too!

I put the leftovers in jars, but feel free to put some in freezer bags and lay them out flat for freezing.  It will keep for months and be easy to store that way.  This recipe is completely scaleable to feel free to make as little or as much as you like at one time.

Good? So good.  Maybe better because the tomatoes and peppers came from my own garden.
Easy? So easy. A knife and a food processor. That’s it.
Good for company? Sure, make extra for sharing!
Special shopping? Definitely not. Absolutely use tomatillos if you don’t have green tomatoes.

Fresh Salsa Verde

Ingredients

3 lbs small green tomatoes, quartered
6 cloves garlic
4 jalapenos, seeded and rough chopped (use more or fewer to adjust the heat level)
2/3 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chopped
salt to taste

Directions

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are chopped fine. Add a little water if needed.

Homemade Ricotta (on Homemade Pizza)

May 26, 2012

It’s official, I’m no longer impressed by restaurants that make their own ricotta cheese.  It’s so easy!  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I was intimidated – sure that it wasn’t as easy as the recipe suggests.  Wow, did I waste a lot of time.  In about 30 minutes I had made ricotta and cleaned the kitchen from some other cooking.  The is heads and shoulders above what you can buy in a tub at the grocery store.  I may never buy ricotta again.

Mostly you just dump milk and buttermilk in a pot and let it do its thing.  Maybe after some practice you don’t need the candy thermometer, but definitely use it when you’re starting out.  I used Homestead Creamery 2% milk and Kroger low fat buttermilk.  And I didn’t bother with cheesecloth I just used a clean, lint-free kitchen towel.  I have a collection of linen kitchen towels that are perfect for this kind of thing. I’m a complete novice at this so I have little advice.  I would say that you should be careful about draining the liquid.  Don’t squeeze the bundle.  You don’t want your ricotta to be dry.

Ricotta has a seemingly neutral flavor, but the creamy texture you get with this makes it well worth the little bit of effort.  And you can mix anything you like into it:  herbs, parmesan, salt and pepper, whatever.  I used mine, plain, on pizza.  Maybe it’s just that it’s been a long while since I’ve had pizza, but this was just shy of perfect.

I used Kroger fresh pizza crust from the deli section.  I hate making pizza crust so this was a good substitute.  It’s MUCH better than the crust you get in a can.  My only complaint is that I didn’t roll it thin enough.  I like my pizza crust cracker thin and this was a little too doughy for me.  Totally my fault.  I used a little fresh mozzarella, a little of the ricotta and some of the world’s most fabulous sausage.  Kudos yet again to SausageCraft.  My selection today was a very simple pork sausage with garlic, salt and pepper – that’s it.  It’s called San Miniato after the Tuscan village by the same name.  It’s 18 different kinds of yummy.  This is one of those cases where the food is so simple that the ingredients really matter.  Good dough, good cheese, good sausage.  I threw in some of the dried basil and dried parsley from my herb garden just to add a hint of green.  Seriously good stuff, folks.

If you have any interest in ricotta at all you should give this a try.  It’s really easy.  You can do other kitchen things while it’s cooking (chopping, dishes, sauteing vegetables, whatever).  I’d say it’s pretty much foolproof as long as you follow the directions.  I made a half recipe – partly because I wasn’t convinced it would turn out and partly because I didn’t want to have volumes of it. I ended up with just shy of 16 ounces.  The recipe says that the ricotta is good in the fridge for about four days so I’d better get cracking coming up with ways to use it.  Or maybe I’ll find some friends who’d like to have a little.  Either way I can’t bear to think about throwing it out so I’ll definitely find a good home for it!

Good? Oh, so good.
Easy? Oh, so easy.
Good for company? Absolutely. Impressive, n’est pas?
Special shopping? Nope.

Homemade Ricotta

Ingredients

1 gallon 2% reduced-fat milk
5 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preparation

Line a large colander or sieve with 5 layers of dampened cheesecloth, allowing the cheesecloth to extend over outside edges of colander; place colander in a large bowl.

Combine milk and buttermilk in a large, heavy stockpot. Attach a candy thermometer to edge of pan so that thermometer extends at least 2 inches into milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until candy thermometer registers 170° (about 20 minutes), gently stirring occasionally. As soon as milk mixture reaches 170°, stop stirring (whey and curds will begin separating at this point). Continue to cook, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 190°. (Be sure not to stir, or curds that have formed will break apart.) Immediately remove pan from heat. (Bottom of pan may be slightly scorched.)

Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon curds into cheesecloth-lined colander; discard whey, or reserve it for another use. Drain over bowl for 5 minutes. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Hang cheesecloth bundle from kitchen faucet; drain 15 minutes or until whey stops dripping. Scrape ricotta into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt; toss gently with a fork to combine. Cool to room temperature.

Note: Store in refrigerator up to 4 days.