Homemade ricotta

Yes, you read that title correctly. I had a craving for some creamy buttery ricotta yesterday and decided to try a recipe I had found ages ago, so I went to the store and picked up the 3 (yes, three) ingredients I needed: whole milk, buttermilk and heavy cream. It was a bit more expensive than regular store-bought ricotta, but my version lacked all the chemicals and additives that the other kind has.

All you really have to do is put the ingredients in a large heavy pot and let it cook on medium/high until it curdles. I used a candy thermometer and watched it – the magic happens at about 185˚.
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Then you scoop out all the curds and put them into a colander lined with cheesecloth to strain it. I didn’t have any cheesecloth, so I used a thin cotton dish towel. Every few spoon-fulls, I added some pink himalayan sea salt for seasoning.
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Just LOOK at that beautiful ricotta… but what in the world am I going to do with all that whey?
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Well, I remember reading “Little Miss Muffet” when I was a kid and I knew you could eat/drink the whey, so I hated to just pour it down the drain. I did a bit of research and found that you can use it (diluted) to water your plants with (my ferns are thanking me right now) and in marinades.
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I mixed a bit of the whey with some lemon juice, garlic, fresh rosemary, sea salt and pepper, and some olive oil. I used it as a marinade for the chicken and I also used it as a dressing for our warm quinoa and kale salad – which I topped with a dollop of the homemade ricotta.
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Food just tastes better when you slow down and enjoy the process. I don’t think Mama Teasie would’ve had this exact meal at her table (Did they even know what quinoa was back then?), but I know she would be pleased by how much I enjoyed making (and eating) the homemade cheese.

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