So you know how we went to Arkansas last weekend for the holiday and I got that enormous tree log splinter stuck in my thigh?
Well I have good news. We got the splinter out. And then we made cheese. And the cool thing was, the very tools and chemicals we used to get the splinter out of my swollen haunch were the exact same ones for cheese making!
That joke even grossed myself out.
Okay so technically I did not make this cheese. I begged and begged like a little kid doin’ the rubber chicken to my super amazing sister-in-law Carolyn to pleaaaaaaaaaase pleaaaaaaase pleaseleaselsese make ricotta cheese so I can watch and get learnt. She’s like, a CHEESE maker, you guys. She has a dairy thermometer and everything. And sleek blonde hair that makes you want to shave your own head and give up on life but that’s not rightly important right now.
My job, however in this ricotta cheese making was vitally crucial. Besides having a camera all up in her biz, it went down a little bit like this:
Me, “Okay so basically this is like cheese pee.”
Her, “Bev, stop.”
Me, “Oh oh oh. Check it. There’s no WAY we can WEIGH all this WHEY. Hahaha!”
Her, “Are you even watching what I’m doing?”
Me, “So if we ate those curdle thingies right now would we die?”
Her, “I dunno, Bev. EAT SOME AND LET’S FIND OUT.”
I love Carolyn.
It’s actually surprising how easy it is to make ricotta cheese. A little heated milk and cream, some lemon juice and about four Laverne and Shirley episodes later and leapin’ frickin’ lizards.
We added a little bit of minced garlic because we’re such zany gals like that!
Okay see all that liquid separation? THAT is the whey. The acid of the lemon juice combined with the milk causes the curds to magically appear like the face of God. And listen. I learned something. Ricotta cheese is sometimes (or mostly) made FROM the whey of milk. You curdle the actual whey and you get ricotta. Isn’t that cool?
It was wheying on my heart to tell you that.
(you had to see it coming.)
So there are the curds. So fluffy! I wanted to wiggle my fingers in them like Amélie but Carolyn looked at me with blood coming out of her eyes so I refrained.
Cheeeck it out! This was actually about five hours later as we got distracted because it rained for the first time since 1845. You should know, the longer it sits, the harder it becomes. Just like the lining of my soul.
You guys, insane. A little drizzle of olive oil with a good pinch of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of fresh parsley and you’re seriously left with a new sense of clarity and life direction.
My husband even ate some! Do you even realize the milestone in which we’ve doth reached? It’s like I’m a PUPPET MASTER. HooohahahaHAHAHAAAA.
Just give me a shovel already.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese:
What it took for roughly one cup:
* 3 cups whole milk (preferably not ultra-pasteurized if you can find it)
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 3 Tbs. lemon juice
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 tsp salt
Heat the milk and cream to the point right before a simmer. Is you’re using a dairy thermometer (which Carolyn highly recommends), the temperature will need to reach 190. It’s very important to get it to this temperature or else you’ll grow an extra head by morn’. You don’t want to boil the milk.
Add the lemon juice, the minced garlic, and salt and lightly stir to combine. Turn the heat off and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Place the cheesecloth in a strainer over another pot and pour the cheese curds into the cheesecloth, draining the whey into the pot.
Let the ricotta sit in the cheesecloth for two hours.
Serve on bread or with a spoon or your finger. Garnish with honey, oil, fresh parsley, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Nothin’ like it.