Sunday, March 1, 2009

R2R, Ricotta

This months Recipe to Rival challenge was Ricotta. I was very excited about it. The figuring out what to make with it was a bit of a stumper as it is not an ingredient I usually use. I have made Maybelle's Mom's Great (and I do mean great) Gnocchi and Lasagna and even Cheese cake, but that really is the extent of my experience. So this was a real learning experience for me.

Fresh Ricotta
you'll need:
5 cups 2% milk
1 tbsp vinegar

Place vinegar and milk in a pot, heat on med-low heat until it reaches 185 degrees.

It will begin to separate into curds and whey. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure no curds stick to the bottom and burn. You will see that as the temperature approaches 185, the whey becomes clearer as the curds coagulate more.

Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the ends of the chesecloth together and hang for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cheesecloth and place in an airtight container.

I paired my ricotta with cornmeal crepes and pork loin in a blackberry wine reduction. Overall a success, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

Cornmeal Crepes
5 crepes
1/2 batch cornmeal pancakes
2 well beaten eggs

add the eggs to the cornmeal pancake mix.
then add milk til you reach the desired consistency
pour a portion into a hot skillet and swirl to coat.
cook on med low heat until they are done (do not turn)
gently peel from the pan and set aside to cool (they are delicate so be careful)

Ricotta Stuffing
1 cup ricotta
1 well beaten egg
1 tbsp Honey
Salt and pepper

mix well and wrap in crepes.

Pork with Wine Reduction
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Salt
1 tbsp Butter
2 Garlic cloves sliced
fresh Rosemary
fresh Thyme
Blackberry Wine
1 tbsp Plum preserves

Use salt, pepper and garlic salt on the pork loins and sear both sides
put ricotta stuffed cornmeal crepes in 350 oven while making the sauce.
melt butter and add herbs and garlic, saute gently for 3 minutes
add wine (twice as much wine as you want finished sauce) and reduce by half
add plum preserves and gently stir until it is melted.
remove chunky bits from sauce and serve.

Temper's Take:
The ricotta turned out drier then I expected and I had some problems with scorching and temperature control (next time I am going to try it in the crock pot) But it was good and it was cheese. :) I didn't use buttermilk because I made the mistake of looking at the ingredient list, tapioca starch was one of the more recognizable things on it. I think I would like to try substituting a dry white wine for the butter milk once, it has the potential to be quite good.

The crepes turned out wonderfully and were so much easier then I thought they would be. The stuffing was a good match but my proportions were off (less ricotta more crepe next time) and I really think some parmesan in the crepes and some herbs in the stuffing would be even better.

The pork was lovely and the wine reduction paired perfectly with it. Unfortunately the wine reduction didn't go as well with the crepes. It was too sweet, next time I think I want to try a sauce with a bit of bite to it.


Heather B said...

Great job! All of the recipes you made sound delicious!

Sara said...

Nicely done. Your dinner sounds really yummy, such a creative way to use the cheese.

kat said...

wow, you went all out on how to use the cheese. Next time i think I'll drain the cheese a little less if I don't plan on using it right away.

Olga said...

Well done Temperama!!! Your dishes sound and look really appetizing. Hey, you're very creative too, I'd never thought of crepes to go with that kind of cheese.

Shawnee said...

Those crepes look delicious! I think I may have to try that with some of my remaining ricotta.

Natashya said...

Crepes are a great idea!
I went running to my fridge when you mentioned the ingredients.. mine just has part skimmed milk, salt and bacterial cultures. About what I expected, maybe try a different brand? (I am in Canada too, I think our laws are strict about adulteration of milk)
So happy that we tried cheese making!