Welcome back ricotta - by the book week 10

3/06/2016 08:55:00 pm

This past week I have become enamoured with the idea of being the kind of person who bakes their own bread, rolls their own pasta, and knows how to make cheese.

I mean, I can bake bread and roll pasta, given the time and an oven that has a thermostat rather than two burning hot embers seemingly powered by nuclear fission, but cheese... that's a new one.

I was going to do a class, but I ran out of time (and they're really expensive in Sydney for what is a glorified lesson in stirring milk), and also, I know how to use the internet. Soft cheeses are apparently much more beginner-friendly because they don't require rennet, or other exotic equipment. I don't have the patience just now for inoculation, and rinsing, and mysterious processes involving weighted boxes and rind. And I don't have any rennet.

Ricotta. I decided to start with ricotta.

And because I don't own an instant-read thermometer (I've always wanted one, but never quite got around to it, and now it seems silly to buy more stuff right before moving overseas), and also because we went for a swim today and my energy levels were low, I decided to make it in the microwave. I found this recipe on Serious Eats, so it is a legit way of doing it!

These tomatoes were in the fancy tomato section at Woolworths, and looked pleasingly irregular in shape. I think they are breeding them now to look like heirloom tomatoes, when in fact, they are still supermarket tomatoes, but they did taste quite delicious anyway. 

It's very simple. You put two cups of milk in a large microwave-safe bowl/jug, 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar), and a pinch of salt. Then you microwave it for 2-4 minutes, until the curds have formed and the whey has separated out. Then use a slotted spoon to scoop the curds out, into a waiting cheesecloth-lined strainer. Or in my case, use a spoon (because who actually owns a slotted spoon?) to get the curds into the waiting Chux dishcloth (it was brand new, ok).

I may have panicked and over-stirred at minute 3, resulting in slightly rubbery curds, but as a first attempt I was quite pleased with myself. It was a little tangy even though I rinsed the curds; next time  I might jhoozh it around a little more.

Apparently though, this is actually not ricotta because it's made from whole milk, not whey. I'm no purist though. 

But what to do with it? And what to cook, By the Book, on a rapidly fading Sunday afternoon?

Does this even count as cooking? I mean, it's from a book, and it was tasty, so there's that...

By the Book - Week 10 - Women's Weekly Great Fast Recipes (again)

Tomato, zucchini, and cheese tarts

Method (this is so simple that a separate list of ingredients is unneccesary)
Cut a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry into quarters. Place on lightly greased oven tray. Fold in edges to make a 1cm border (I failed at this miserably, somehow). Sprinkle grated parmesan over the pastry (or RICOTTA), top with sliced cherry tomatoes and baby zucchini. Sprinkle with a little more parmesan, and bake in a very hot oven (~220 degrees) until pastry is puffed and brown (10-12 minutes).

Easy, and now I have a mid-morning snack for work tomorrow.

And I used up some pastry that's been in the freezer for a Long Time, as part of my 'desperately trying to use up everything and rid myself of extraneous stuff' resolution.

What's a little bit a freezer burn between friends?

You Might Also Like

0 comments on this post

Leave a comment...you know you want to...