Home-made primo sale recipe

So I have seen this posts on-line with people making their ricotta at home and it seemed extremely easy, but then I investigated further and saw that the easy procedure (add lemon to almost boiling milk) is not the proper way of doing ricotta. It apparently delivers a product that is remarkably similar to ricotta, but is not quite the same. So I kept investigating, and I found that to make proper ricotta you first have to make some other cheese using rennet and then use the left over whey to produce your ricotta.

I studied further and I figured that the easiest cheese to make is primo sale, a fresh cheese similar in flavor to queso blanco. So I set out and collected all of my ingredients and prepared my first cheese. It turned pretty well!

Ingredients

  • 2 quart organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon rennet
  • salt

Directions

  1. First I put my organic milk in a pot with some yogurt. I read that the addition of the yogurt helps the milk to coagulate as it increases the bacteria and yeasts in the milk. I left it out of the fridge for a while, between 1 and 2 hours. Then I warmed the milk up to 96-98F and added the rennet and a pinch of salt. I found the rennet at whole food after going from coop to coop to see if they had any, one coop had rennet but they were out of stock, the other didn’t. If you want to do cheese I’d suggest you go to whole food directly and save yourself same time.
  2. I then mixed everything very well and put the covered pan in the sink filled with warm water (about 105F) and let it stand for about an hour. At that point I took the pan out of the water and checked the milk. The milk had miraculously coagulated. The whole thing had the consistency of greek yogurt.
  3. I then used a whip to break the coagulated milk into crumbs the size of a peanut. Finally, I poured the mixture in a colander lined with a cheese cloth. I placed the colander over a pot to save the whey to make ricotta and put a little weight on the cheese to help all the whey get out. After a couple of hours, I salted the cheese, wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge.
  4. This cheese is mild in flavor and goes well on salads, particularly with arugula, with tomatoes or in pretty much anything that work with queso blanco or possibly paneer.

Home-made ricotta recipe

So as I said in my primo sale post I set out to make ricotta at home. And I did it!. After making primo sale I took the left-over whey and made ricotta. I have to be honest, ricotta didn’t turn out as well as the primo sale, I think part of the reason is that I used 2% milk for ricotta instead of whole milk, so I will have to try again using whole milk. Anyway it was on-par with most of the ricotta you find at regular supermarket in the fridge section, just not as good as the good fresh ricotta you get from specialty stores. On the other hand it was much cheaper…

UPDATE: I made ricotta again using the whey from the first batch of ricotta and now it turns out great! So don’t despair even if the first round is not that great, you’ll get there!

Ingredients

  • whey leftover from making primo sale or some other cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Ricotta is pretty easy to make once you have the whey from making some other cheese. I just warmed up the whey mixed with some milk to about 195F and then added in the juice of 1 lemon. Kept mixing for a couple o minutes and then panicked… It seemed it didn’t work! there was sort of a white foam on the top, but I didn’t think it was ricotta… then I checked my sources and I read that ricotta looks like a foam: pfiui!
  2. With much relief, I poured the ricotta in a colander lined with a cheese cloth. About half an hour later the whey had drained out and the ricotta was ready to eat. I reserved the whey and froze it once cooled down. Apparently it keeps for about a month and can be reused to make ricotta. Haven’t tried it yet but hopefully it will work.
  3. UPDATE:I tried using the frozen whey. I added about 1 quart of whole milk to the whey and brought the temperature up to about 190F and the milk coagulated into ricotta without even needing to add any acid. And the result is much better than the last time! Needless to say, I saved the whey and am going to freeze it and use it again!
  4. Ricotta doesn’t keep long and is better eaten within the day.

Beef stew with peas recipe

I went to Costco to buy the usual necessities. I was supposed to just buy things like boring toilet paper and flour and sugar for my cakes and cheese (I find they have a great selection of cheese) and that was about it, of course I got out with a full cart and spent much more than I anticipated. But one of the things in my cart was fresh, shelled, English peas!!

Peas are one of my favorite vegetables and they are extremely hard to find fresh over here, so I had to grab a couple of bag and use them ASAP. And that is what I did! As soon as I got home I started preparing a beef and pea stew.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb diced beef for stew
  • 1 lb shelled peas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 oz. diced pancetta
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • wine
  • salt
  • clove
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • flour

Directions

  1. First I started by sauteing an onion in a pan with a bit of oil and some diced pancetta (pancetta is much better than bacon in this recipe, because it is sweeter and it complements the sweetness of the fresh peas instead of overpowering it).
  2. I added some salt to help the onion soften up and then added the diced, and lightly floured beef. I seared the meat for a couple of minutes an then added a splash of wine. I used red because that is what was around, but you can do white if you prefer.
  3. Then I added the peas and seasoned everything with salt, a bit of sugar, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg (just a pinch each to bring out the sweetness of the peas). I added about 2 cups of beef broth and let cook for about 3/4 of an hour.
  4. Towards the end I added some flour to help thickening up the sauce, depending on how much of your water has evaporated you might or might not need to do that…
  5. Great end of winter dish…. spring and fresh veggies are around the corner!!

Raisin and oregano bread rolls

When I was in Italy and we were in Rome my mom used to wake up early in the morning and go down to the market to buy fresh fruit and on the way back she would stop by the baker and pick a couple of bread rolls for breakfast. Raisin rolls are relatively popular in Italy and pretty much every bake will have his own version. This baker made them not too sweet and added oregano to the mix. It is possibly the best raisin rolls I ever had. So now I am trying to replicate them.  Here is a pretty good attempt.

Raisin and oregano bread rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • oregano

Directions

  1. First I soaked the raisins in warm water. While the raisins where soaking, I started on the bread. I dissolved some dry yeast in a mixture of warm water and milk (about half half). In a bowl, I mixed the flour with some sugar, oregano and a pinch of salt. I then poured the milk mixture in the bowl with the dried ingredients and started mixing with a fork, when the liquids were pretty much incorporated I added the raisins and I started kneading the dough. I had to add a bit more flour to keep the dough from sticking to much. When the dough was smooth and elastic I oiled the bowl and put a lid on it to let the dough raise. Once the dough has doubled, I formed into knot shaped rolls and turned on the oven at 450F. When the oven was ready I baked the rolls for about 20 minutes.
  2. Perfect rolls for breakfast! Not quite the ones I had in Rome, but not bad at all!

Yogurt tea cake recipe

As usual I had something close to going bad in the fridge. In this case it was yogurt. So I decided, after much solicitation form my BF, to bake a yogurt cake. I had never baked yogurt cake before, so I looked around the internet and I found that there is a general consensus on how to bake yogurt cake. Pretty much everyone uses the yogurt cup as a measuring tool and 7 yogurt cups worth of ingredients go in the mixture. I used Manu’s recipe as a guideline and for once I did not change much: the recipe looked simple and good enough without any need for adjustments….

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 spoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil (I used olive, but I think a more neutral vegetable oil might be better)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs

Directions

  1. I put in a mixer yogurt, flour, sugar, baking powder, oil, milk, a pinch of salt, and finally added 3 eggs while the ingredients were mixing. I poured the mixture in a loaf oven dish previously greased and floured and put it in a 390F oven for about 1 hour. I let it set for a while before slicing it. For an extra touch you can dust it with powder sugar.
  2. It is perfect for tea or breakfast: it is similar to a pound cake but much lighter.