I have been busy the last few weeks cooking, baking, making cheese and getting some new recipes typed up.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When you buy the wrong kind of milk, make cheese! I never would have considered cheese making if it had not been for a conversation with my godfather, Barry. He never buys ricotta anymore, and I don't think I will either. There are plenty of recipes online, with detailed photos that add cream or yogurt or buttermilk; but I used his method and it came out wonderfully.
- Put a gallon of milk in a big stock pot and scald it (bring it almost to a boil, about 180-185 degrees if you must be precise),
- Add the juice of a lemon and stir until the curds start separating from the whey.
- Scoop out the curds into a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
- Let it drain for about an hour and voila! ricotta cheese.
It made about 3 cups for a $3 gallon of milk, which is considerably cheaper than the 15 ounce container of ricotta I saw for $5. I used 2 cups of the ricotta to make lasagna and the rest to make Fall Harvest Pancakes, which was the delicious result of a combination of a standard pancake recipe and the Beet Ricotta Pancakes. I might try again with some canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and top them with jellied cranberry sauce or some other fall like jam or jelly.
My brother and I made a bet like our parents used to, the loser has to cook the winner's favorite dish. Now that the weather has cooled I will be paying off the bet by shipping some Spaghetti Cookies to him. But, since the Niners should have beaten the Saints I made him give me a recipe. Being politically correct, I will just say that he and I prefer our red beans and rice to be creamy unlike our parents. Ma'am's version is a bit dry for our taste. Michael's Red Beans and Rice is the creamy New Orleans style I usually have to go to Popeye's to get. If you cannot find ham hocks at the store or you prefer more meat get ham shanks instead.
Years ago I read an article inthe LA Times or Orange County Register explaining that the "San Francisco Treat" was actually a simple Persian side dish (don't know the name, if you do, please comment below!) you could make yourself. Rice with Noodles cooks as fast as Rice a Roni (there I typed it!) but contains no or at least very little salt, which my husband prefers. I have added some suggestions for variations at the bottom, but I encourage you to be creative with this dish - and feel free to send me your ideas.
Chicken Fricassee is my "company" chicken dish. It takes a little prep time to brown the chicken, otherwise you can just leave it simmering while you do other things. Or you can make it ahead of time and just reheat before serving since I think it is even better the second day. My dad would request that I make this when they came to visit us or we came to visit them. This is the dish that he showed me how to cut up a whole chicken to make. You can substitute boneless skinless chicken breast to lower the fat content. It tastes like a heavy fattening dish, but if you look at the ingredients you see it is not.
I borrowed a chocolate and coffee cook book from my mother in law and wanted to make at least a few more dishes before I returned it to her. It is a British book with American subtitles. In England, "plain" chocolate is what we call "dark" chocolate, and "golden" corn syrup is our "light". And then there is the whole metric versus English measurments (ironic that we are the ones that use the English measures, isn't it?). This Easy Mississippi Mud Pie recipe is an adaptation of her more complicated version based on ingredients I had on hand. Don't you want to poke a fork at the photo above and try to steal a bite? I am amazed there is still some left in the fridge at this point - it was that good!
That's all for now. Until next time, happy eating!