Travel Eats

Entries in ricotta (3)


Baked Ricotta and Feta with Roasted Grapes

Idea for the roasted grapes purloined from Alexandra's Kitchen.  The baked ricotta and feta is a riff on an appetizer we had at Second last weekend, subbing feta for goat cheese.  What a simple and delicious dinner that saved us from leftovers.

To roast the grapes--wash grapes, toss with olive oil, kosher salt and thyme sprigs.  Roast at 450 until they begin to split and release some of their juices.

 They totally look like kalamata olives.  When Sophie was about 2 years old we gave her a kalamata olive and told her it was a grape.  Parenting fail.  Tonight she said, "Our dinner reminds me of Greece--grapes, herbs, feta, and the dress you are wearing looks like a toga."

For the baked cheese, mix 1 cup crumbled feta with 1 cup fresh ricotta, put in the oven a little bit before you put the grapes in.  It will be bubbly and beginning to brown on the edges when it is done.  Put a little fresh ground pepper on top.

Serve on toasts.

It pairs nicely with.....

 more grapes.


Jumping on the Homemade Ricotta Bandwagon


 Consider this blog post a public-service announcement.  Do you own a colander?  Can you stir?  Read a thermometer?  If you answered yes to these questions you can and should make your own ricotta.  I promise you will never buy ricotta again.  You will also need a candy thermometer---I bought mine at a restaurant supply store, and cheesecloth.  I was a total sucker and bought a reusable cheesecloth at a kitchen store, but you could also just buy a yard of unbleached muslin.  Clean-up is easier than you would think with just a quick soak in hot soapy water and a thorough rinse.

There is a plethora of recipes for homemade ricotta.  My first was a total fail, but only because I tried to make it low-fat, stirred it too much and didn't add salt.  Rubbery and bland.  Use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. 

If your milk gets a little too hot, say ~200F instead of ~190F, while you are watching You Tube videos of kittens, don't worry.  Your cheese will be fine. 

I drained mine for a little less than an hour.  For my purposes I wanted it a little softer.  It firms up even more in the refrigerator.  I made the 3 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream version.

Say cheese.  Store in refrigerator, but try to use quickly or it won't really be "fresh" ricotta and you didn't put a crap load of preservatives in it.


Cheesy Goodness

This is my second attempt at homemade ricotta and it is AWESOME!  Last time I used buttermilk and whole milk.  I drained it a bit too long, didn't add salt, and it was dry/rubbery and tasteless.  This time I followed the directions on Smitten Kitchen and used 3 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream. 

Just got this little measuring glass yesterday at Melissa Guerra--it would have come in handy making my cocktails on Friday.  Lemon juice is the acidulating agent in this recipe, and you can definitely taste it in the finished product.  It couldn't be simpler--mix milk/cream/salt, heat in heavy saucepan to 190 degrees, add lemon juice and wait 5 minutes and strain through cheese cloth.

I found a reusable cheesecloth--suprisingly easy to clean and it did a much better job than the disposable kind.  I drained for 30 minutes, but if you want firmer consistency for stuffing manicotti I would drain it a bit longer.  You should use it in the next 2-3 days. 

I am planning on making this.  I couldn't resist stealing a bite of it while it was still warm....

Ever hopeful...