Amazing how, what makes a day great changes as you get older. Feeling rested after a night’s sleep – note how the adjective ‘good’ is omitted when describing the night. When morning arrives and less hurts than doesn’t. Too many high impact aerobic classes during the 1980’s. Resisting the third cup of coffee – because then I would never sleep, enjoying the restaurant’s chaotic personality, feeling peaceful with my insincere exercise procrastination and enjoying the solitude that winter brings. Busy days and lovely long quiet evenings. Evenings filled with reading, cooking, photography, writing and controlled snippets of Downton Abbey. Left unchecked, I have been known to watch my favorite show six hours at a crack! All of these inconsequential tidbits are what now make my day great.
The unhurried pace of winter gives me the opportunity to experiment with recipes that I’ve collected over the years. The truth is, if I was to cook all day, every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t make it through the mountains of cookbooks, recipes written on scraps of paper or secretly ripped from unprotected magazines not to mention my unending fun at inventing from taste memory. After I’ve eaten something so spectacular that it haunts me months after it’s been swallowed, I always try to recreate it by finding a recipe but it never tastes as I remember. That’s when my taste memory kicks in!
The last time Ralph and I were in Tuscany we had a very simple lunch, in a tiny little village whos name I can’t remember, of toasted bread spread with the most glorious ricotta. I had never tasted anything like it. I tried to pry the recipe from the cook but her English became incoherent. The best I got was from the waiter, who explained that unlike most local ricottas which are made from cow’s milk this lovely delicacy came by way of a goat.
That’s all I needed, well that and about half a dozen attempts! For a few weeks my kitchen sink had a permanent milk scum from the, undrinkable but not quite cheese, goat’s milk being poured down the drain. On my sixth try, I thought once again all was lost when I realized that I had run out of cheesecloth. Thankfully Mr. Google to the rescue with the suggestion of substituting cheesecloth with a flour sack dish towel. It worked perfectly!
Fresh Goat’s Milk Ricotta
Makes 1 cup
3 ½ cups goat’s milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place milk, cream and salt in a deep medium sized sauce pan over medium high heat.
Using your candy thermometre, bring mixture to 190*F
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes
Meanwhile line a fine sieve with 2 sheets of dampened cheesecloth
After milk mixture has separated, carefully pour the contents into lined sieve
Allow to drain for 2 hours at room temperature.
Once the ricotta has drained, carefully scrape all of the cheese into an airtight container and refrigerate.
Discard the whey, unless you have another use for it.
THE LOVE: Make sure that you give the ricotta the full 2 hours to drain so that your cheese has a rich creamy consistency.
one year ago: wild mushroom soup au gratin
Thanks for reading.