One of the easiest traditional recipes around is homemade Ricotta. First, it is so soft and delicious and store-bought does not even come close to its fresh texture. Plus it can be expensive when it’s purchased at the store. Since its’ few ingredients are almost always in your kitchen it’s something you can whip up anytime. Homemade Ricotta is great just smeared on bread or crackers served with honey or fruit. It’s amazing in homemade lasagna or any ravioli.
- 1/2 Gallon (2 quarts) Whole Milk (low-fat or non-fat really doesn’t work well).
- 1/3 C Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
- Pinch of salt (optional)
Heat milk in a pot until it’s foamy and almost boiling.
Remove from heat and immediately stir in lemon juice or vinegar.
Stir and then let stand for about 10 minutes.
Set up a colander with a cheesecloth in it (or use a coffee filter in a small colander).
Remove any large chunks that do not have to be drained with a slotted spoon and place in bowl.
Slowly pour the remaining mixture through the colander and let sit for as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour depending upon how thick you’d like your cheese.
Seal and refrigerate.
I rarely shop at Gelson’s market because it’s a little out of my budget. But sometimes, I splurge and swing by the one close to my Mom’s and buy some food to take to eat at her house when I visit. I am so impressed by their deli case. They have so many options and their side salad recipes are inspiring. Last time I was there, they had a huge platter of grilled artichokes in lemon aioli. I love that word, “aioli”. But let’s face it – basically it’s mayo. But “aioli” does sound so much more exotic. After tasting them, I realized it would be really easy to recreate the recipe – so I did. Now I make these frequently. Lately, I’ve been on a diet and artichoke hearts (as long as they aren’t stored in oil) are on my limited ‘free’ foods list – so I keep these in the fridge to snack on.
Lemon Aioli Recipe:
- 1/2 Cup Mayo
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave or Brown Sugar
- (Optional) Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped
I use the canned artichokes in water from Trader Joe’s. Drain, grill, cool and mix with the aioli. Chill until ready to eat.
A Seinfeld episode is what made me realize that we often give names to foods that make them sound better than they are (even if they are delicious). The example? (I’m paraphrasing). George says, “Crudités….they are just you know, like cut vegetables, right?!….”
Yogurt Parfait by any other name is layered yogurt and fruit. Oh well, maybe add some granola and honey. Doesn’t sound quite as enticing, does it? But I have to tell ya, when I pack the ingredients separately in a way that my daughter (and her friends if it’s after school) can layer together to make their own snack, and if I’m lucky, I happen to have some clean see-through glass options so there’s actually some sort of “presentation” going on….and I say, Hey, LOOK! It’s a Yogurt Parfait….it’s a winner!
- Plain yogurt
- Cut fruit (frozen or fresh Peaches or any type of berry, like fresh Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, MythicalBerries…..etc….)
- Granola , or (simple oven toasted sugared oatmeal)
Did you ever make sand castles as a kid? Or layer sand in a bottle or bucket? No different really. Just layer ingredients above in this order. So easy! Either make ahead of time for guests in crystal glasses with fancier ingredients (like crème fraîche) or, let your kids make their own in what appear to be crystal like wine glasses from either the Dollar Tree or 99 cents store (one dollar a piece, such a deal) or in a clear recyclable plastic cup that wants to grow up to be a bike some day and ridden on the strand.