pizza with homemade ricotta

I’ve spent a week promoting my new book, and I’m pretty happy with how that’s going. I don’t know if the book will be a financial “success”, but I’m proud of the work I did, and I’m satisfied that at least I gave the marketing a good effort. I’m also grateful to the nice people who have helped me by re-tweeting (especially good since I’m so bad at twitter), and sharing, and +1/liking, and all that. I have met some really wonderful people over the past year, and I’m so happy to call them friends ­čÖé

But today, I just want to NOT check my sales numbers! (lol, as if) and so at least here I want to focus on something more tangible than amazon statistics. Like food.

I may have mentioned in previous posts how fantastic homemade ricotta cheese tastes. To recap: homemade ricotta cheese is awesome. If you are vegan, or for some other reason dairy-free, I feel bad. I mean, I know it’s healthier and all that, so good job, but you are missing something really good here. So leave now, before you distress yourself.

If you do enjoy the occasional dairy product, here is the recipe, which I got from a nice cookbook called “The Homemade Pantry”:

1/2 Gallon Whole milk (Use good milk from a local dairy, or the best organic stuff from the supermarket. I don’t know if it tastes any different,┬ábut you are worth the upgrade.)

1/3 cup lemon juice

Seriously, that’s it. ┬áSome salt on top, and you have delicious fresh ricotta cheese. You need a heavy pot, a thermometer, a strainer with a piece of cheesecloth, a spoon, and about 45 minutes.

Here are some pics of the process. They were not only taken with my iPhone, but by my 9 year old (somewhat reluctant) daughter. So, typical photo quality for this blog.

IMG_0586Basically, you add the lemon juice to the milk, and heat it over medium heat to like 200 degrees (you need a thermometer, because it has to be exact). That takes a while (40 minutes maybe) Then you will have a curdled soupy thing.IMG_0587You strain it through cheesecloth. You’ll have a lot of whey, and a little curd. Sprinkle the curd with some salt (if you want) and that is it! You made cheese!IMG_0594I┬álike to save the whey, to use as the liquid in breads and muffins. You can freeze it. It is pretty high in protein, if you are interested in keeping track of that kind of thing. Sometimes I just feed it to my chickens.

1/2 gallon of milk makes about 2 cups of Ricotta. This time we used the cheese to make pizzas.

My pizza has: pesto, chopped tomatoes, artichoke hearts, homemade┬áricotta, mozzarella, cracked pepper. It would have been improved by┬áthe inclusion of olives. But sadly, I had none in the house. ­čśŽ

Before cooking photo:

IMG_0595

After cooking photo:

IMG_0596

Well worth the effort ­čÖé Try it!

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