Homemade Ricotta

 

Who wants to make their own cheese?  When people talk about making their own ricotta cheese from scratch I figured it would be some long complicated process.  Boy, was I wrong!  This is a really easy step by step recipe that results in some fresh creamy ricotta that you will really enjoy.  This just takes some time and patience and then you will be able to say you made your very own cheese!

Ingredients:

4 c whole milk

1/2 c heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt

1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice

Combine the milk, cream and salt in a very large pot or saucepan.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and set inside a large bowl.  Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring occassionally with a spatula.  Don’t let the mixture scald.  Once the milk has reached a steady simmer add your lemon juice and stir gently.  Stir quickly just to blend.  Let the mixture sit for a minute or two (turn down the heat slightly so it continues to simmer but doesn’t reach a boil).  Stir with spatula for another minute.  Once it looks like the mixture has seperated into curds and whey (cheese curds and liquid) it is ready.  Drain the mixture in the colander lined with cheesecloth and let it drain at room temperature for one hour.  Transfer your ricotta cheese to an airtight container and then refrigerate.

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New Year’s Martinis

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  I had a fantastic time celebrating with my family and I did not want to head back to work, but such is life.  I am looking forward to ringing in 2012 with a couple of new martini recipes that I thought I would share.  I love trying new martinis at home on New Years while enjoying some good quality food and playing board games with my family.  Sure, we have Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest on in the background, but we are usually dying of laughter while playing some hilarous games and sipping on some coctails.

French Martini

2 oz vodka

2 oz canned pineapple juice

1/2 oz raspberry di Amore liqueur or Chambord

twist of lemon juice

Fill a shaker halfway with ice cubes or crushed ice.  Pour in vodka, pineapple juice and raspberry liqueur.  Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass and add a twist of lemon juice.

New Years Eve Martini

2 oz light rum

1/2 oz Grand Marnier

1/2 oz white cream de cacao or cocoa

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

dash of simple syrup

Fill a shaker halfway with ice cubes or crushed ice.  Pour in rum, Grand Marnier, creme de cacoa, lemon juice and simple syrup.  Shake well and strain in a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

I am so excited about the possibilities for 2012!  Happy New Year!

What is your New Years cocktail of choice?

My Go-To Dip

This is the time of year when lots of people are having parties and gatherings with family so what is better to serve than a really good dip for snacking?  This is one of my go-to dips care of Giada De Laurentiis that everybody seems to love.  Most of the ingredients are things you will usually have on hand in your pantry except for maybe the white cannellini (also called white kidney beans) so stock up on some of these if you don’t have them already and get to dipping!

Ingredients:

 One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves of garlic

2T fresh lemon juice

1/3 c plus 4T olive oil

1/4 c italian parsley

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add salt and pepper to taste and then transfer bean dip to a serving bowl.  Serve with some gluten-free chips like the ones pictured here which you can score at Vitacost for $2.50 per bag:

Green Goddess

I’m really enjoying trying a lot of the 5 Ingredient Fix recipes.  They are so simple to do.  Of course, as with anything, you may see something on t.v. that looks amazing and then when you make it you are left disappointed.  It’s like a blind date with food.  He sounds really nice and your friend says he is really hot, but when you meet him for the first time you want to run for the door.  While my experience with one of  Claire Robinson recipes over the weekend called Green Goddess Rice was not THAT bad I WASN’T giving him my number. 

I didn’t have any basmati rice on hand so I used long grain rice.  I thought the Green Goddess sauce tasted amazing by itself, but I wasn’t a big fan once I mixed it with the rice.  It was like the guys body was smokin hot, but his face was not attractive.  The green sauce was fresh, creamy and had a strong pop from the basil.  I just think I would prefer the sauce over some chicken or mixed with vegetables next time.

Ingredients for the sauce:

1 haas avocado – pealed, pitted and chopped

1 package fresh basil leaves

3T extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

1/4 c water

freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon juiced

Put avocado, basil, lemon juice, oil and water in a blender and puree. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add more water if necessary (the sauce should be the consistency of sour cream).