Homemaking at it’s finest! A Cheese and Pasta weekend.

After a month and a half, I finally figured out that Explorer was the culprit in why I couldn’t post multiple photos. So here is a post originally written September 19th about my first cheese-making experience.
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This weekend I am happy to say that I finally made my own ricotta cheese! Sadly, it turns out that, apart from Kyle and I, our other three family members are totally NOT impressed. Even though Mason, my 6 year-old step-son assisted in the purchasing of cheese-making necessities, he could not be swayed. Admittedly, ricotta is pretty weird looking and certainly seems as though it is just milk that has seen better days but even after my fervrent reassurance, I had no takers. And honestly, I don’t even know if Kyle really liked it because, like most guys, he’ll eat nearly anything and in all liklihood he probably possesses a self-preservation instinct that clearly steers him away from making any comments that might deter my cooking.

Even with the lack luster support, I was giddy with anticipation when I made my way to Curds and Wine on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have had a hankering to make some cheese ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver but had never taken a step beyond a few listless google searches. Well, with my cheese class at Venissimo under my belt and some recommendations for Curds and Wine, I confidently charged into the world of cheesemaking.

I will say that for anyone who has ever made cheese, you know that ricotta is the easiest thing to make and doesn’t even require rennet but hey- don’t pee on my parade! So in the spirit of sharing, I photo-documented my ricotta experience below.

And it goes a little something like this…HIT IT

The ingredients and supplies needed for the ricotta. Please note: the vodka to the left there is really ony to be used when your cheese-making attempt has failed. You use that to mix yourself a nice martini and comfort yourself over the waste of a gallon of milk.

After dumping your milk (non-ultra-pasteurized only), buttermilk and cup of heavy cream into a large stockpot, you being heating. At about 140 degrees, you'll see things start to curd up as in the picture above. And so the excitement begins!

You use your trusty cooking thermometer to get the heat to about 190 to 200 degrees- just before boiling. You're really going to see some good curd action going on at this point as the acid from the buttermilk really starts to interact with the milk. At this point, you turn the heat off and wait about 15-20 minutes. More curds are formed during this time and you do not want to stir it.

Next, you take a slotted spoon and scoop out the curds into a cheese cloth-lined collander with a bowl under it. This will let all of the extra whey drain out. Let it drain for about 30 minutes.

The liquid that you see is the whey. I conjured all my Little Miss Muffet knowledge to make this happen. (Did I use that joke already?)

The final product! A delicious, extra rich ricotta that I made all by myself.

Some might say, “Wow, I made ricotta this weekend, time to chill out.” Not this crazed homemaker (heavy on the crazed and light on the homemaking)! I thought, hey- let’s kick it up a notch. Let’s bust out some homemade pasta with my new pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid. “What?!? ” You say. “Who has the time?” And to that I say… you’re SO right. This crap is time consuming! But I digress, this is where I am supposed to encourage everyone to make their own pasta, cheese and grow all your own veggies. The truth of the matter is that making your own stuff can be expensive and super time-consuming but if you enjoy it, by all means, go nuts. I, personally, consider these sorts of things to be weekend type projects to be broken out every once in a while only- not a lifestyle. If we all had nothing but time to grow and make our own food then sure but last time I checked Contadina makes a lovely fettucini that is just a few short aisles over from the ricotta so, for most of us, Ralph’s or Albertson’s does a stellar job. Here’s one more pic of the pasta-making experience.

After making some basic dough, you feed the sheets through the pasta cutter attachement for your Kitchen Aid and voila! your very own fettucini. It sounds boring but I was literally shreeking with excitement when those first pieces came out. I made Kyle and Mason come and watch me do it so that they could feign excitement for me.
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One thought on “Homemaking at it’s finest! A Cheese and Pasta weekend.

  1. Awesome-ness. I love the Venissimo class- although Besse said you had some odd balls in the class. I want to try burratta next. Have fun “in the nest” LOL

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