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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Does anyone have a count of how many times I have mentioned how much I love ricotta cheese? I think the obsession started when I visited Anfora Wine Bar for the first time and spread some of their signature perfectly whipped, salty-sweet version on a piece of airy toast. It was a testament to the benefits of homemade: so much more flavor! And so much room for innovation.

So I decided to make my own. Because my cholesterol was getting dangerously low, and I needed to have a steady stream of cheese-related fats in order to counteract that. I looked around and found a bunch of very helpful instructions on making ricotta cheese. I was assured it would be easy.

The first time I tried it, I failed miserably. I looked away for a second and the whole mixture on the stove top boiled over and made quite a mess. Which I should be used to by now. Take away lesson: Don’t boil your ricotta milk.

Anyway, I had MUCH success the second, third and fourth times. I have created a few different variations with instructions below. There is also a helpful video that shows the EXACT MOMENT of cheese formation. Are you all a-tingle? I bet you are.

Recipe 1: Ricotta Cheese whipped with Olive Oil and Truffle Salt

What You Need:
makes about 1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn’t work as well) + 2 Tbsp
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
Truffle salt to taste (you can use regular sea salt if you don’t have the fancy truffle variety)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Equipment:
Small pot
Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)
Cheesecloth
Colander
Slotted spoon

What To Do:
Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes – just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk, all of the buttermilk and all of the white vinegar into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn’t boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk/buttermilk will start to separate and curdle. This is one of those rare occasions when curdling is a good thing. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion (this is your ricotta!) and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container (like a tupperware container, as you can keep your chemistry experiment in the fridge for up to a week). With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, the olive oil and the truffle salt. Give it a good whipping.

I add this last extra step as ricotta can get a little dry from the draining. Especially if you leave it in the colander and forget about and say…oh start vacuuming your apartment or something. This makes it moist and flavorful.

Recipe 2: Ricotta Cheese whipped with Milk, Honey and Sea Salt

What You Need:
makes about 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups whole milk (reduced fat just doesn’t work as well) + 2 Tbsp
Juice from 1/2 a lemon, squeezed directly into the milk
Honey – a tablespoon or two
Sea Salt
Note: For this version I didn’t use any buttermilk. Works just fine!

Equipment:
Small pot
Candy thermometer (something that reads at least up to 180 degrees)
Cheesecloth
Colander
Slotted spoon

What To Do:
Cut enough cheesecloth to cover the bottom of your colander. 4-ply the cheesecloth to make sure no actual cheese escapes – just water!

Pour 2 cups of the whole milk and lemon juice into a small pot outfitted with a thermometer. Heat this over medium-low heat and babysit it. The babysitting involves you watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally so it doesn’t boil over.

The thermometer will start to creep toward 160 degrees. This is the action zone. Your milk will start to separate and curdle. Stop stirring and let the milk completely separate and curdle. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curdled portion and place it on the cheesecloth that is sitting in the colander. Let it drain for about 10 minutes.

After draining, I transfer it to a container. With a fork or a whisk, add in your 2 Tbsp of milk, honey and sea salt. Give it a good whipping.

Here is a video that demonstrates the heating and curdling process:

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Today I wanted to present to you a combo – something that is both simple AND pizza. I also wanted to depart a bit from the dinner time pizza and give to you – Lo and BEHOLD! – a dessert pizza!

WHaaaaaat? Pizza for dessert? What madness is this? It’s not madness, it’s good sense people. Even though it’s coming from me.

This is a great pizza to make for a simple dessert or even as a little appetizer for a brunch.

What You Need:

Pizza dough (made or bought)

Honey (you can use a flavored honey if you want – go nuts!)

Ground cinnamon (a healthy sprinkle)

Ground cloves (a smaller sprinkle)

What To Do:

Preheat your oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees for at least a half an hour.

While your oven is heating up, roll out your dough and place it on your pizza peel (that has been sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal for easy in-and-out-of-oven transfers). Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle with cloves.

Put it in the oven.

NOTE: This is going to smell incredible. Like cinnamon heaven. Resist the urge to open the oven door and put the piping hot pizza in your mouth. Whole. Because you will want to.

Remove pizza after about 10 minutes, or when the crusts are golden-brown and the topping is bubbling. Let it rest for a minute or two before you dive in: hot honey is HOTTTTT. Like really hot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Prepare for amazingness.

But WAIT! To make it even more wonderful, drink this wine with it (thanks to our friends at Astor Wines for the recommendation):

It’s Sparkling Blanc “Ze Bulle”, Zéro Pointé – 2009, and if this appeals to you (I don’t see why it wouldn’t) you can find it here.

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We are taking a detour from cured meats to talk about HONEY! And PRIZES! Which one should I talk about first?

HONEY: The honey pictured above is Andrew’s Honey. I found this stuff at the Union Square Farmer’s Market where Andrew and his team have a stand on Wednesdays. GO THERE. For a few reasons:

1. They give out free samples.

2. Their honey is the best.

3. Did I mention the free samples?

Anyway, my favorite is the whipped honey with cinnamon. I eat it out of the jar with a spoon, like ice cream. Other things you can do with honey (note: NOT an exhaustive list): put it on fruit, oatmeal, throw it in tea, bake with it, make pizza with it, eat it out of the jar, glaze a ham with it, make peanut butter and honey and banana sandwiches…

This particular honey is 100% pure, local, raw honey. You can read more about it on their website, or just wander over to their stall in Union Square and try some.

Now, onto the PRIZES:

I’m giving away the little pot of honey (featured in the picture on the right-hand side). This one is local Brooklyn honey. Brooklyn’s finest. If you post a comment on the blog THIS WEEK you could win this pot of honey. Really, I will send it to you. So POST. We already have one comment, so don’t make this a one-man race.

In closing, a random fact: Did you know that there are a lot of clips on youtube of Winne the Pooh in Swedish? Anyone know what’s up with that? I was looking for a honey-related clip and came across them.

Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll be back to meat products tomorrow.

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