Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Ricotta: Two Tastes

This whole escapade into homemade cheese has made me dream and concoct different combinations of flavours to create the perfect cheesy bite. When you put all of this effort into making your own cheese, you certainly don't want to see an iota of it go to waste. That said, there is only so much fresh plain ricotta that one can consume. I don't mean that to sound blasphemous, if you think it does! The 4.25 litres of milk and cream that I used to make my homemade ricotta yielded approximately 1.25 litres of cheese... and that's a lot of cheese!

So, I sat down with my new dedicated cheese journal and started jotting down potential flavour combinations. Then I grabbed my trusty Flavor Bible (if you aren't familiar with this reference book, I would highly recommend it) and went into flavour combination overdrive. What did I have in the house? What herbs were ample in the garden? Since it is such a subtle and mellow cheese, what would complement the ricotta without overpowering it?

These are the two bites that I landed on...
Fresh tarragon and lemon zest.
Cracked black pepper, fresh strawberry, and honey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cheesepalooza: Homemade Whole Milk Ricotta

I set some foodie goals back at the beginning of this year. It was a great way to focus my culinary efforts, learn some new things, and explore more of the food that I love. Well... one of those goals was to bake more bread and to learn to make cheese. 

Could the invitation to participate in Cheesepalooza have come at a better time!?!?

Well, Valerie of A Canadian Foodie, Deb the Locavore, Ian of Much Ado About Cheese, and Addie of The Big Cheese Project concepted and launched Cheesepalooza, a cheesy journey into the world of homemade cheese making. They invited and put an open call out to food bloggers from anywhere and everywhere to embark upon this cheesy journey together. With monthly challenges, optional extra creations and -of course- encouraged camaraderie and community learning, many signed up for Cheesepalooza. 

Our "curriculum" would follow through our guide book, Artisan Cheesemaking at Home by Mary Karlin - a beautiful book that seems to make the world of cheese-making infinitely more accessible than it was before I found this sort of structure for learning. Our first challenge for Cheesepalooza was issued at the beginning of August - to make a whole milk ricotta (check out the other challenges here). 
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