For October Unprocessed this year, I made myself just two simple goals (aside from having mostly unprocessed meals) – 1.make more bread from scratch and 2.make homemade ricotta cheese. Bread has never been my strong suit but cheese, I had never tried, and let me just tell you… this is so easy! It takes less than 5 minutes of hands on time to make this ricotta cheese and it is so fresh and creamy that there may be a few shouts in alleluia the kitchen once you taste it!
I’ve done October Unprocessed now for 3 years and every year I discover how much I’ve adopted into our regular lifestyle from what I’ve learned. Now, I hardly ever buy boxed or frozen dinners, I check my labels for long lists of unknown ingredients, and I keep mostly to the produce section at the grocery stores. So, when we were preparing for October this month I was really proud that it didn’t take much of a switch. My problem areas – breads and desserts. I eat too many sweets. And I love bread. This can be a problem.
I did try my hand at few breads, like homemade whole wheat english muffins (loved these!), whole wheat tortillas (weren’t amazing but we did eat them all), and whole grain dinner rolls (recipe coming soon!). To be completely honest, I didn’t use 100% whole wheat on all of these but I figured it was at least one step in the right direction. If you happen to have a good 100% whole wheat bread recipe I’d love to have it!
On the cheese goal. I tried just one, ricotta, and it came out marvelously. What we didn’t eat by the spoonful, we used it in this recipe for Swiss Chard and Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Bacon and church bells rang as we ate it! This is celebration food – rich and creamy, sink down in your chair, delicious. My recipe below is for a small portion because it only last a couple days in the fridge so I figure if it only takes a few minutes to prepare then I might as well make it fresh more often.
Here are a few more recipes to use fresh ricotta cheese in:
I wouldn’t say my month of eating unprocessed foods was a complete success (confession-I gobbled down a delicious tomato mozzarella sandwich on thick white bread that my friend brought me, I ate a few cookies and a slice of homemade pie with ice cream, and when treated to dinner out, I couldn’t resist) but this ricotta was a complete success and we had another year of learning and trying new unprocessed recipes which I’m sure we’ll continue to use in our repertoire. So, cheers to my blessed ricotta cheese and imperfection still being one step in the right direction!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe
- 2 cups 2% milk or whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- fine-mesh cheesecloth
- Line a colander or large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
- Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain at room temperature for 1 hour. Discard the liquid in the bowl below, then, place the ricotta in a jar and chill, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.
recipe adapted from Epicurious.com