Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Ricotta Cheese recipe

Homemade Ricotta Cheese!
I am amazed that, in my 33 years of life, I never knew how easy it was to make ricotta cheese.  A cheese I love so much I never bothered to learn the right way to pronounce it.  Who cares?  There's no telling what I'm saying with a mouthful of ricotta, anyway.

So I was flipping through a magazine and BAM, there it was.  A little chunk of Heaven on a page...how to make ricotta at home.  And it's super simple!  So being the benevolent person I am, I demanded that Joy grant me author access to her blog so that I could share it with her fine readers.  By the way, this is Jamie, Joy's twin sister.  Most people mistake us for each other anyway so call me whichever you'd like.  I'll just secretely hold a grudge.

  • Half gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I really like things salty and added a bit extra)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
That's it for ingredients, I swear!  

Then for supplies you'll need:
  • Cheese cloth
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Slotted spoon
hot milk
First thing's first, put all of the milk and kosher salt in the largest pot that you have and get it boiling. Don't do as I did and think your second largest pot is big enough. It's not. Get the bigger one. Milk likes to boil over and burnt milk does not smell good.

if you crisscross the cloth it'll look more beautiful
While that's boiling, line your strainer with 4 layers of cheese cloth. Then put the strainer on top of a large bowl, like so:
Put this over that and then this thing inside of this one.

lumpy milk
Once the milk has boiled, turn it down to a simmer and add the lemon juice.  Stir until lumps form, about 3-5 minutes.  Those lumps are golden bits of ricotta cheese that you are going to stuff into your mouth soon! 

don't make fun of my slotted spoon, I know I need an upgrade
Take a slotted spoon and scoop out all of those lumps and put onto the cheese cloth.  Let drain for 5 minutes.

you can eat it now
That's it!! You can eat it with a spoon (my preferred method), add it to a pasta dish, or refrigerate for up to 4 days.  YUM!!!  Did you know it was so easy?! Now you do!

Like the pottery featured? I got it from the peeps at Clay Coyote Pottery.  Like the red kitchen napkin?  So do I, it's mine.  But you can buy one of your own from 5 O'clock Crows.

Friday, September 9, 2011

And BINGO! ... Then there was a journal!

It all started with some seemingly innocent vintage bingo cards from my etsy shop. I'd sold about 80 of these gems by this point and I had one full set left. A nice new customer from California convoed me to ask if I could send these to her pronto-style since she was teaching a workshop the following week and really wanted to make sure she had them in time. I can pop these into a Priority Mail envelope like nobody's business so of course I said that I could accommodate that request. I also offered the couple extra bingo cards that I had that didn't fit the set of 13 I was offering in my shop. She was so excited and we started talking about what this workshop was all about. When she told me the future existence of these bingo cards were going to be some fun journals I was pretty excited. She offered to send me a sample journal after the workshop and I was just about over the moon with excitement. What a treat!

I scavenged these bingo cards about a year before. They belonged to a grange hall and were lovingly used by the ladies of the Wayne, Maine grange (say that ten times fast with a mouth full of Ritz crackers!). I tried to convince myself that I would make journals with them. I dreamed of having a large collection of journals to write my every thought in. To capture moments in scrapbook style. To fill craft fair tables. Something. But no. Nothing. So I decided to sell them all.

And a couple short weeks later here it was. A gorgeous package in the mail addressed to me. Now I also have a HUGE fascination with getting mail. Not like normal people, I'm pretty sure. I mean that I have a little process in going to mailbox. I walk out the back door (which is really our front door but located in the back of the house. The actual front never rarely gets used. I think it's a Maine thing that I'm still getting used to) I gaze at this large tree we have in our yard and check if it's autumn yet, then I check on my garden and see if anything's ripe, then a little stroll across the street to the mailbox, which is constantly broken, and then a hopeful tug on the cover to see if there are any treasures inside (this whole process is shot to hell if it's snowing out, in which case I usually just pull up at the driveway on my way home from work and jet across the street as quickly as possible to grab the mail). 

So this one day it was there. I quickly opened the package to find a gorgeously packed gift:

The tag, the handmade gift wrap. I mean, seriously. This woman was after some sort of prize. And she won it. I almost didn't want to open it so I took pictures of it to enjoy forever:

So I forced myself to open the package and found inside a gem of a journal made with the almost famous vintage bingo cards:

With some gorgeous details to boot, this is going to be a treasure for me always:

It reminds me of my grandmother, who loved to play bingo. We used to play at the kitchen table when she came on a rare visit. The maps reflect my love of travel... This very well may become my travel journal. Or my sister and I have talked about making this our journal of the whacky things that have happened in our house. Or maybe it'll be a bird watching journal. Who knows. I'm just happy to have it.

*Learn this craft and others in Jeannine Stein's books: 

Visit Jeannine's blog to keep up to date with her great projects: Ink-Stained Book Arts