St. Michaels FRESHFARM market food preservation workshop – homemade ricotta cheese – July, 2011

With support from Ball, FRESHFARM Markets, and Christ Church, the St. Michaels farmer’s market held a food preservation workshop last week in the Church’s terrific commercial kitchen. Market customers and neighbors shared recipes and tips for making two kinds of pickles, blackberry jam, fresh yogurt and homemade ricotta. Everybody learned something!

We’ll share the recipes in a couple of different posts. Today’s offering – Carol Bean’s homemade ricotta cheese.

This is so easy, quick, rich and delicious, you’re never going to want to buy ricotta again.

Ready? Here’s the recipe – it makes about 1 1/2 cups.

1 quart whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 scant teaspoon coarse salt
2 T. white vinegar

Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place in a bowl deep enough so that the strainer doesn’t sit on the bottom. Carol simply used a clean kitchen towel over a plastic strainer set inside of a roasting pan.

Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, add salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. A skin may form on the surface, but continue to cook until you see bubbles all over the surface. Once the milk has simmered, turn off the heat and pour in the vinegar. Let sit for about 1 minute without stirring, then stir slowly and gently. The milk will start separating into curds and whey (the liquid). The whey should become clearish in color, which will take about 1 minute of gently stirring.

Pour into the strainer, lift the strainer out of the bowl and pour out the whey, then set the strainer back in the bowl and let the cheese drain for about 15 minutes.

Once it has drained, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth, place the cheese in one hand and unfold the cloth. Invert a bowl or plate over the cheese in your hand and flip it over. Lift off the cheesecloth – it’s ready to sere, or refrigerate. Or, like Carol, simply spoon the cheese out of the towel and put in containers for refrigeration (or eating, whichever comes first).

Carol didn’t season the cheese at all. To call it delicious would honestly be the understatement of the year. We set out two bowls for tasting – one with salt and pepper, and one with fresh, local honey. Wow.

Serving suggestions for ricotta (from FRESHFARM Markets) –

For breakfast, sprinkle with a tiny bit of cinnamon and sugar, or drizzle with honey. Top with granola or museli. Serve with fresh berries.

At cocktail hour, pile the ricotta high in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve with slices of semolina bread.

For lunch, serve on bread with a big farmers-market green salad or roasted red peppers with capers and anchovies.

For dinner, toss with pasta, a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese, olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, red pepper flakes, and freshly grated pecorino. You could even add some sauteed dandelion or chard for a more hearty meal.

~ by kbosin on August 3, 2011.

6 Responses to “St. Michaels FRESHFARM market food preservation workshop – homemade ricotta cheese – July, 2011”

  1. Oh my gosh! Making this this weekend!

    • I remember making ricotta cheese back in St. Louis with Jen Schmidt, and I never remember it being this thick and rich. And of course, we were using supermarket milk back there. Try finding some local milk – whole milk – which hasn’t been pasteurized. This milk was from Nice Farms Creamery, and I think the quality of the milk has everything to do with the rich flavor. Bon Appetit!

  2. What a fun workshop. I always enjoy working with others in the kitchen. So much of the time, cooking is a solo activity but something wonderful happens when you add a few more hands.

    I’ll be making more of this ricotta now that my figs are ripening like mad and can’t wait to share it with you, Kathy.

  3. It was totally fun, especially when there were three separate things going on at once – kinda like a circus. Figs and ricotta. O yea!

  4. I want that homemade cheese even more than I want to make pierogies. YUM! although, I would go with lots of cracked pepper, or some raosted garlic, or … something other than honey. Savory over sweet.

    Carol Bean is seriously cute and doesn’t even wilt in serious steam? WTF is up with THAT? Unfair.

    Rachel says “Hi Kathy. How’s Zip?”

    • Yes, me too – savory yum.

      Yes, she is and she doesn’t – she’s a farmer, remember? Tough as nails.

      Xo to Rachel. Zip is terrific. Come see us soon?

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