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Making Ricotta Cheese

Making Ricotta Cheese

Have you ever come across a technique that you have been intrigued by and been surprised that it is something you can easily do at home? I had heard many times how easy it is to make your own ricotta cheese and knew I had to give it a try.

They were not kidding when they used to term simple. The hardest part was finding a store that carried the cheese cloth used to drain the liquid off.

It take less then 10 minutes cook time and 10 minutes drain time and you have a cup and a half of the freshest ricotta cheese available!

The ingredients are minimal and you only need a few tools for the job. Cheese cloth is needed to drain the cheese and a cooking thermometer is very helpful though you can still make it without the thermometer. You can usually find the glass candy thermometers in the gadget section of your grocery store for around $5.00.

And don’t be surprised if you eat at least half of your first batch over the sink while taste testing it.

Ricotta Cheese

4 cups of whole milk (3%)

1 cup of buttermilk

1/3 cup of whipping cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt to taste

In a large pot bring the milk, cream and lemon juice to a simmer over medium high heat.  Allow to come to a temperature of 185 degrees. This will take less then 10 minutes.

Cooking milk to make ricotta cheese in the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen

Stir occasionally. If you do not have a thermometer just watch the milks and when the curds separate from the whey it is ready to come off the burner.

The curds seperating from the whey making ricotta cheese from Nutmeg Disrupted

Line a fine meshed colander with two layers of cheesecloth.


Straining the ricotta in the Nutmeg Disrputed kitchen

Slowly pour the curd into the colander to drain. Once the liquid has drained off bundle up the cheese cloth and give it a bit of a squeeze. Remove the cheese to a bowl and lightly salt.

Depending on what you plan on using your ricotta for you could add some extra flavor but adding herbs or garlic. But it is just fantastic the way it is and I have found myself adding it to all sorts of dishes and even enjoying it just by itself, which I have never ever done with store bought ricotta.

Try it once and you’ll be hooked. Seriously good stuff!

 

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Sugared Cranberry Bites

Sugared Cranberry Bites

We recently did an entertaining tasting event at work. Being a produce manager my selection to choose from is quite extensive. There are so many things I could have featured. At a meeting before the event someone had mentioned cranberry sauce. That started the gears in my mind turning. I thought it was a fantastic idea.

So many people automatically reach for the canned cranberry sauce on the shelves they have no idea how easy and flavorful homemade cranberry sauce can be.

The result were show stopping and fabulous! We had people coming back four and 5 times.

Sugared Cranberry Bites from Nutmeg Disrupted

By the end of the evening we sampled out over 400 bites and had received rave reviews from everyone.

Because of the volume of samples we presented costs and time available for prep were kept in mind. If I were to make these at an event I hosted in my home I would have chosen phyllo cups as the vehicle for the bites.

This is a three step appetizer so planning ahead is essential.


Sugared cranberries on Nutmeg Disrupted

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup of maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup of water
1 cup granulated sugar

Rinse cranberries and place in a large bowl. Heat syrup or honey and water in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour the syrup over cranberries when warm. You do not want the syrup too hot as you do not want the cranberries to pop. Allow to cool. Cover and let the berries soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in small batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet until dry, 1 to 2 hours. When dry the berries have a nice crunchy candy coating.

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries – fresh or frozen
1 cup of mango melon juice
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

Place all the ingredients in a small pan. Cook  on low – medium heat, stirring occasionally.

As they heat up, the cranberries will pop open. You know the sauce is done when 90 % the berries have split open.

Pour into a bowl to cool.

Surgered Cranberry bites on Nutmeg Disupted

 Sugared Cranberry Bites
crackers or phyllo cups

soft spreadable cream cheese
cranberry sauce
sugared cranberries
fresh mint for garnish

Spread the crackers with the cream cheese, add a teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoked Gouda with Seckel Pear.

Smoked Gouda with Seckel Pear.

There was an amazing crop of pears this fall. In a search for doing something different these bites hit the mark.

The smokiness of the gouda with the sweetness of the sugared pears and the touch of heat from the pepper it was perfect.

I used a combination of Bartlett Seckel pears. I preferred the Seckels because of their sweetness. If you can find them in store I highly recommend them.

 

Smoked Gouda with Seckel Pear

2 medium ripe pears

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 cups of smoked gouda – shredded

I loaf of crusty bread – sliced thin

black pepper

parsley

Bartlett and Seckel pears at Nutmeg Disrupted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the pear, cut in half and remove the stem and core. Place the pear halves, cut side down on a greased baking sheet and coat generously with sugar.

Sugared pears at Nutmeg Disrupted

Bake for 10 minutes then turn and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool then slice thinly. Cut the bread into 18 squares and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Carameilzed Pear Smoked Gouda Bites ready to bake

Top the bread with a tablespoon on the cheese and top with a pear. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Season with pepper.

Caramelized Pear Smoked Gouda Bites

Serve warm.

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Reggiano Thyme Crackers

Reggiano Thyme Crackers

I have been feeding my Parmigiano Reggiano addiction again.

The stuff truly is amazing.

If you have only ever eaten that nasty canned parmesan you need to save your pennies and try the real thing. You will be shocked, at how different it is.

*Warning*  It is expensive. Some would consider it very expensive.

It is one of those things in life that I do not mind spending a little bit more money on then usual. Once you try it, you will completely understand.

It is not what you expect. There is a fruity almost nuttiness to it. Hard to capture how amazing it is in words.

Great of course on pasta, fantastic in salads, I love it with just slices of apple and it is even good on popcorn.

Seriously, try it!

In the hunt for something a bit different I kept coming across this recipe from Ina Garten.

Parmesan Thyme Crackers

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and black pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon water.

Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the log into 3/8-inch-thick rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Cool and serve at room temperature.

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