To Make / Homemade Ricotta

 
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     Buongiorno friends! With summer weather in full swing, it's time to head to Italy - or to their food, at least! Full disclosure: I have been to Italy, and we did eat a lot of delicious food (mainly gelato) while there - but I want to dive deeper than just the standard Italian food that everyone and their nonna has had. Italy has many different regions (that were all their own sovereign states up until the mid-19th century - yup, Italy wasn't unified until about 150 years ago), and therefore, many different cuisines. I want to explore all of them - starting with a cornerstone of many Italian regions: ricotta! You can buy a tub of ricotta in any grocery store, but it's one of the easiest cheeses to make at home - and now that I've made it, I think it tastes 5,000 times better than store bought. I smeared mine on whole wheat toast, and made a quick strawberry jam from the strawberries in our garden - very simple, very fresh, and one of the most delicious things I've eaten in awhile! Find the recipe below, and happy cheese-making!

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     Ingredients: 

- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar

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Directions:

1. Combine milk, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Turn up your heat slightly, and add vinegar and lemon juice. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture curdles - about 5 minutes. 

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2. Remove from heat and pour over a cheesecloth into your container. Let strain for about 20 minutes. 

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3. Once strained, use as you like! The ricotta will keep for about a week in the fridge. 

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4. Enjoy! (Preferably the Italian way - on bread with fruit and an espresso :))

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!

To Make / Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 
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     Good morning! This is one of those recipes that came out of wondering what the heck I'm going to do with a mostly full jar of (insert ingredient here)?! You know - those ingredients that you buy for a specific recipe that only uses a spoonful of said ingredient. It's usually something obscure that is really only used in that one recipe. Now, I really hate wasting food, so last week when I bought ricotta for a pasta dish (surprisingly, not lasagna) and still had the majority of the tub left after making the pasta, I had a pretty good brainstorming session. I racked my brain for a minute on what one does with a full tub of ricotta, and then it hit me - a memory of lemon ricotta pancakes that Brett and I had at our B+B in Denver two years ago! SOLD. I immediately searched for a simple lemon ricotta pancake recipe and scored with this one. Luckily, I already had literally all of the ingredients on hand, and guys - these are the best pancakes I've ever made! They're fluffy (thanks, random ricotta), tart, and sweet all at once. You can definitely say this is a "when life gives you ricotta (and also, ironically, lemons)..." situation. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients: Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbs. of honey

Ingredients: Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 3 tbs.'s sugar
  • 2 tsp.'s baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbs. melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp.'s lemon zest
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Directions: 

1. Preheat your griddle to 350, and grease. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together ricotta, butter, eggs, egg whites, lemon juice, and zest. 

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2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and mix until just combined. Scoop out your batter onto the griddle to form pancakes. Cook for two minutes until bubbles form on top, then flip and let cook until browned.

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3. While pancakes are cooking, make your blueberry sauce by combining blueberries and honey in a small skillet. Mash together with a fork and let cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

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4. Once pancakes are done, serve warm and top with your blueberry compote. Enjoy!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!