A Post about Everything, Nothing and Cheese

I apologize in advance for the randomness of this post.  I’ve had a few things that I’ve wanted to talk about lately, and just haven’t had the time to sit down and do so.

So, now that I have your attention, here goes.

A couple of weeks ago (or maybe it was just last week, I’m not sure), I posted these Pear Crespelle, and I mentioned that I’d made the ricotta cheese from ingredients I had at home.  An anonymous commenter requested that I post the ratios of the recipe, so I’m going to do that at the bottom of this post.

In other, somewhat related news, I’m starting a 28-day diet challenge tomorrow.  The funny part about it is I’m not supposed to eat cheese while I’m participating.  So, I made cheese for this post, but I’m also giving up cheese in this post.  Sometimes life is just funny that way.  Don’t worry, I don’t plan on giving up cheese for good, but I do want to try this Eat Right America diet to see what it’s all about.  Throughout the challenge our local Harry’s Farmers Market is offering recipes, store tours, guest speakers, lectures and cooking classes to compliment the stages of the challenge. The whole point is to increase the number of nutrient-dense foods in your diet.  I’ll be blogging bits of the challenge here, so if you’re interested I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another thing we’ll be cutting back on is animal proteins.  As such, I wanted to go ahead and share some information with you about this steak you see pictured here.  It was delicious.  Really, really delicious.  That is all.

For real, though.  If you live in Georgia, I suggest you look into White Oak Pastures Beef.  If our family is going to eat beef in the future (and we will, I can guarantee it), then it will come from this farm or from one like it. Pasture raised, grassfed cattle that are humanely handled.  It may be more expensive (let’s face it, it IS more expensive), but it’s worth it to know where it comes from and how it is raised, handled and processed.

Did you watch the Golden Globes last night?  Did you see Claire Danes win for her role as Temple Grandin in the film of the same name?  Did you know that Temple Grandin helped design the animal handling and processing facility at White Oak Pastures?  Well, now you do.  Cool, huh?

Okay, onto the cheese recipe.

Ingredients
1 gallon of whole milk
2 tsp. citric acid, dissolved in 1 cup cool water
1 tsp. salt

Begin with a gallon of whole milk and some citric acid.  I’m showing the rennet here (the small bottle on the right) because I have used it in making ricotta before, but I didn’t use it here.  In the past I’ve had a hard time getting the curds to form, and have added the rennet (about 1/8 tsp diluted in 1/4 cup water) to help with that process.  Today it wasn’t necessary.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons citric acid in 1 cup water and add it to 1 gallon of milk in a saucepan, stir to combine.   Add 1 tsp. salt.  Turn the heat to medium-low and stir to prevent scorching.  Heat milk to 165-170F (I don’t use a thermometer, I just look to see if the curds are forming).
It will begin to look like this.  You can see the curds separating from the whey here. Continue heating to 190-195F and turn the heat off.  Let sit for 10 minutes or so.
Line a bowl with cheesecloth.
Remove the curds from the whey using a slotted spoon and place them in the cheesecloth-lined bowl.
Allow the whey to drain from the curds.
Refrigerate and enjoy!