Let me explain a little something about myself. And I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, or elicit sympathy comments. It's a fact of my life and I've been living with it for quite some time.
I have an acute cheese deficiency.
As a result. I always want to eat cheese. All the time. Chew it up with my teeth and eat it.
Don't cry or anything, but at this point in the post it would be alright if you got a look of concern and let your chin quiver a bit. You'd have to be a cold hearted kitten hater, not to.
It isn't something that's been officially diagnosed of course but that doesn't make it any less real. If you're conducting a clinical study on cheese deficiencies I'd love to be a part of it. Especially if treatment involves feeding me cheese.
So as a result of this "cheese deficiency", when I go to a restaurant, a lot of times I look for the dish that contains the most amount of cheese. Conversely, one time when my mother was ordering pizza she realized that all the toppings were the same price, so she ordered an all meat pizza, figuring she was getting the most bang for her buck that way. (no beverages included in the meal please) Turns out a ham, bacon, sausage and pepperoni pizza might make for a happy wallet, but not necessarily a happy intestine.
Recently I went to an all organic, whole foods, grown locally etc. etc. restaurant and ordered a salad that came with ... cheese. When I tried to replicate the salad at home (as I often do with restaurant dishes) it just wasn't right.
The cheese in the salad was ricotta. It was the creamiest, dreamiest, most delicious ricotta cheese I've ever eaten. When I searched for the best ricotta cheese in the grocery store ... it just wasn't the same. The grocery store ricotta was grainy. Which is good in certain dishes, but it just wasn't right for this salad. I tried whipping it, mashing it and stirring it, but nothing could get rid of that grainy texture.
So yesterday on a whim I made my own ricotta cheese. It took 4 ingredients and 30 minutes. And if you too have a cheese deficiency, you should do it immediately. You might have everything you need in your fridge right now.
4 cups homogenized milk
1 cup cream (any cream ... I used whipping cream)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Put everything in a pot and heat over medium - medium/high heat until it just starts to boil. Do NOT stir at any point. Remove from heat immediately.
Let the milk sit for 15 minutes to allow the curds and whey to separate. If you can't bare to leave it alone, go find a tuffet and sit until it's ready.
Meanwhile set up a strainer covered in cheesecloth over a large bowl.
Once the mixture has sat for 15 minutes remove the curds (such a grotesque word) with a large spoon into the cheesecloth.
Do this carefully so as not to break up the curds.
Let the cheese (yes ... it is now a form of cheese) drain for about 15 minutes.
After 10 or 15 minutes, it will look like this.
And will taste like this ...
In case your Tasternet isn't working let me describe it for you. The makeshift Ricotta is creamy, creamy, creamy with a slight sweetness to it because of the heated milk and cream. There's also a hint of a nutty flavour. It's the perfect ricotta for desserts or on an English Muffin with some fig jam and honey. Add some lemon juice to it and it would be a beautiful lemon ricotta. If you want a slightly less sweet ricotta just omit the cream and add in another cup of milk. (cream sweetens more than milk when heated) This is a slightly bastardized version of a ricotta that was featured in Bon Appetite magazine last month. I cut back the salt and used whipping cream as opposed to a regular cream. Another recipe I referenced used buttermilk. So take your pick.
Oh! I almost forgot. About my cheese disease. If you insist, you can send condolence cards to my email address or Facebook Fan page. If you insist.