A friend of mine sent me a link to a DELICIOUS looking recipe for lentil “meatballs”. I definitely plan to try it out (it looks super tasty) but what I was even MORE excited about in that link was the mention of fresh homemade ricotta cheese. It looked amazing! I will eat pretty much any kind of cheese, at any time, with anything so this sounded right up my alley.
I was a bit nervous since I had never attempted anything like this before but thought what the heck – it’s just a little wasted milk and cream if it doesn’t turn out. The recipe sounded so simple, how could I go wrong?
Turns out that making ricotta cheese is a bit like making buttercream for me. I fret and fidget and watch as it’s coming together “does it look right?” “is it supposed to be doing that” and I mess with it all together too much. But in the end it surprises me and looks exactly as it’s supposed to. Oh, and it tastes fabulous as well.
To start put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a “gentle” boil over medium heat – here’s one of many parts where I get confused and I’ve only just started. First off WHAT is with those yellow spots floating in the buttermilk?! My initial reaction was that it was spoiled, even though it had clearly not reached its expiration date yet. A quick search of my old friend google led me to an article about buttermilk which says that some manufacturers (and specifically the one I had used) add “butter flakes” (whatever that is) to cultured buttermilk to make it seem more like real buttermilk. Ok. A bit sketched out already but at least it’s not rotten. Continuing on.
Next get together a sieve and put over a large bowl. Check. Easy enough
And here is where I got confused (again). I am never sure what “medium heat” is so I didn’t know if my stove was at the proper setting. I also have a thermometer that I use (once again in making buttercream – see those similarities coming back 🙂 ) in boiling liquids, but it has a marking on it that says “immersion” and I’m never sure if it has to be all the way submerged up to that line to be accurate – because it certainly wasn’t this time. So I’m not sure if I was cooking at the right speed or up to the right temperature.
The recipe states that it will begin separating between 175 and 200 degrees. But at 175 degrees mine was looking decidedly soupy.
It didn’t start to form curds until right up at the 200 degree mark on my thermometer – but then again who knows if that was even accurate (can you tell I am not a great cook?)
I decided to pull it out and strain it and hope for the best – unsure what would happen if I let it keep cooking and getting hotter (past the recommendations of the recipe). Straining it was pretty fun.
And the result – I was pretty impressed with it, it looks pretty good right?
It also tastes DELICIOUS. I was all excited to start on the lentil meatballs when I realized that I used up the last of our lentils making lentil tacos the other night (blast!) so I will have to wait until I can get out and buy some more. In the meantime I’m trying to hold myself back from just eating all of it straight out of the container with a spoon. Seeing as it’s made from buttermilk, whole milk and cream it’s probably not the kind of food you want to consume mass quantities of – unless you’re trying to gain weight (which I’m certainly not). Hopefully the meatballs can be tomorrow’s dinner.