and Applewood Smoked Bacon from Pine Street Market
I love beef, thus I love the cow, and Thursday nights are beef night at home. But today, being the National Cow Appreciation Day, I am with the Chick-fil-a cows in saying "eat mor chickin" and with iheartbacon in saying "I will live off bacon". So, no beef for you! (say it like the Soup Nazi).
Sea Island Jerseys Raw Milk
Green Grocer, Charleston Farmers Market
$7.00 a gallon
With conscientious eating becoming mainstream, the terms farm to table, eating in season, slow food, eco-farming, organic & sustainable agriculture, etcetera are no longer just vocabulary exercises, but a way of life.
A Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The cause says that what we need today is a return to humane, non-toxic, pasture-based dairying and small-scale traditional processing, in short, A Campaign for Real Milk. John Burnett of NPR's All Things Considered did an interesting story last year about the Milk Cartel. A couple more good reads are The Grassroot Raw Milk Movement and After Illicit Drug, Raw Milk May Be the most Briskly Traded Illegal Commodity.
Raw milk is not readily available in the market ( Georgia Raw Milk producers), thus I was elated when I found these at the Charleston Farmers Market. I knew the very instant I held the bottle that I will make Ricotta Cheese out of it.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese is a sexy, beautiful thing -- it's silky and creamy in texture, not to mention so easy to make. It's versatile in the kitchen-- you can stuff/add it in your favorite pasta, make gnocchi, topping for a pizza, make cakes and desserts, eat it by spoonful with some fruit compote or honey, or better yet, make pancakes!
And please, to the purists, I know what I'm making is really not a ricotta cheese, but let's not go there--
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
(from Grace Pilato)
1 gallon raw milk
1/3 cup + 1 t distilled white vinegar
Rinse the inside of the pot you intend to use with cold water (this helps prevent the milk from scorching). Place 1 gallon milk in large, heavy non-reactive pot onmedium heat. Add salt and stir briefly. Allow milk to heat up slowly, stirring occasionally. Soon you will notice steam start to form above the surface and tiny bubbles appearing on the milk. You want it to reach 180-185 degrees, near scalding temperature, just before it comes to a boil. Check the temperature with your thermometer.
When it reaches the correct temperature, take the pot off the burner, add the vinegar and stir gently for only one minute. Add salt. You will notice curds forming immediately. Cover with a dry clean dish towel and allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours.
1/4 t salt
When the ricotta has rested for 2 hours or more, take a piece of cheesecloth, dampen it and place it inside a colander. With a slotted spoon, ladle out the ricotta into the prepared colander. Place the colander with ricotta inside of a larger pan so it can drain freely. Let it drain for two hours or so depending on how creamy or dry you want your cheese to be. Lift the cheesecloth up by the four corners and twist gently. If the liquid runs clear, squeeze a little more. If the liquid runs milky, there is no more need to squeeze.
Place in a tight sealed container. Refrigerate. It will keep for up to 7 days. Ricotta does not freeze well.
(adapted from Rick Tramonto's Osteria)
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups ricotta cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cups AP Flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
unsalted butter, softened
blueberry sauce or maple syrup
Preheat oven to 250 F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, ricotta cheese and
sour cream until blended.
In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the cheese mixture with the milk and whisk until blended. Whisk the eggs white on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter.
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and brush with a little butter. Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake onto the griddle and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a platter and keep pancakes warm in the oven. Serve with maple syrup or blueberry sauce.