Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fresh Ricotta & the Farmers Market

So today I made cheese. Not the traditional ricotta cheese but more of a farmer cheese as it was not made from the whey leftover from making another kind of cheese but from whole milk & buttermilk. It's fresh, beautiful, creamy, tasty (still a bit flat as I haven't added any salt but will do so) and best of all I made it with my own mitts. I are a cheesemaker!

Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 Gallon Whole Milk
  • 1 Quart Buttermilk
  1. Mix both the above in a non-reactive pan such as stainless steel.
  2. Heat on high while occasionally skimming the bottom with a heat resistant rubber spatula
  3. Stop stirring when the curds start to form - the curds will start to separate @ about 150F
  4. Reduce heat to medium and bring to 180F
  5. Remove from the heat and let rest for at least 5 minutes
  6. Using a slotted spoon then a small strainer remove curds to damp muslin lined colander
  7. Gather the corners of the muslin and tie over a bowl to catch the whey
  8. Let hang for about 2 hours

Done! You can add salt now or as I will do it when you use it so as not to have the cheese "weep" any more of the whey.

Store in an airtight container but suggestions I read on the internet are to use anywhere before 5 to 7 days. I also read it makes great ravioli stuffing where the ravioli can be frozen and cooked straight from the freezer.
I saved the whey and used a bit of it for bread dough. I'll let you know how that one turned out with my next post.
In other news...
As I've posted before, the local farmer's market opened today and there was quite a crowd until most were chased away after about 3 hours when it started to rain in earnest. I was able to get local asparagus (As I try and eat locavoriously I have not purchased any yet this season and I am sooo excited!) and both baby leeks and organic bok choi for the sum of $9.00. Though not inexpensive I love the fact that it is all raised locally, organic when possible (but local is more important to me) and I can buy direct from farmers so I can put the $s back into their hands and support the little guy and not corporate farms wherever possible.
So far thee plans are to use these lovelies in the following dishes in the upcoming few days:
Bok choi -
  1. Stir-fried with sesame oil & seeds w/ soy sauce
  2. Added to Thai coconut chicken curry
Leeks -
  1. Added to steamed bulgur with scallions, soy sauce & sesame seeds for breakfast
  2. Sauteed in butter w/ lemon to sauce fresh steamed asparagus
Asparagus -
  1. Just wherever I want to have it. I will do my best to eat it about 4 days a week until the end of the season
In our garden -
Peas, radishes and lettuces are all coming up. I transplanted 6 new pineapple strawberry plants into a strawberry pot today (They look yummy, yellow and long berries; can't wait to try them) and a new artichoke plant as last year's died in the bad winter this year and I didn't mulch it.
Henry has planted carrots in 3 different sun exposures to try and "test" how they all do. I like that he is interested and curious enough to prepare such "experiments" to see how things grow.
So far we've been able to avoid any slug & snail attacks w/o the use of slug bait. I may set beer traps for them or put out copper tape and although I am not above the use of slug bait I want to wait until that is the only thing left in the arsenal.
That's about it for today and anyway the Sounders are about to kickoff against the Chicago Fire - GO SOUNDERS! so I'll be going now...


  1. Jim, I'm so freakin' impressed that you made your own ricotta cheese. Making cheese scares me. Just curious, how much cheese does 1 gallon of milk make?

  2. Hi Alice,

    It was really easy and it made about 2#. Since it was the first try I didn't use organic milk so I'm in it $3.49

  3. Wow thats so cheap. I'm going to have to make this... I haven't ventured into the world of making cheese but after reading this post I think I need to now.