April 2011

linguini with fresh ricotta, leeks and mushrooms

Posted on April 7, 2011

What do you do when you’ve got several cups of fresh, homemade ricotta? Make a delightful pasta! This dish is quick, delicious and reheats amazing well (for pasta, at least).

Linguini with Fresh Ricotta, Leeks and Mushrooms

2 leeks, sliced and rinsed of their grit
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (We used button mushrooms and shitakes)
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 T cream
salt and pepper
1/2 lb linguini or other dry pasta
a few generous dollops of fresh ricotta per serving

Preheat an over to 350 degrees. Put on a pot of water to boil.

Slice the mushrooms and arrange them into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the mushrooms until they are shriveled, about 15 minutes. This makes them extra flavorful.

Meanwhile, gently saute the leeks in the butter and oil over medium low heat. After the leeks are soft, add the cream. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Reduce the leek and cream mixture just slightly. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. After the pasta is al dente, add it to the sauce. Toss to coat. Plate the sauced pasta and top with a few generous dollops of ricotta. Not gorgeous, but delicious!

-Emily

queso chronicles: homemade ricotta

Posted on April 5, 2011

You all might remember my trials and tribulations in the mozzarella realm. Well, after some deliberation, I decided my faint heart could not handle another mozzarella failure and that I should try to make an easier cheese. Ricotta is probably the easiest cheese to make (according to cheesemakers on the internet) and recently I found a new recipe on a great blog called I Made That. I followed her directions and ended up with a perfect ricotta. No tears or wasted milk!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

6 cups whole milk
2 cups cultured buttermilk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 T salt

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat, heat until curds begin to form, stirring gently. After the curds form, turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. Put two layers of cheesecloth in a strainer. Strain cheese until it has reached your desired consistency. I let it sit for about an hour. Transfer cheese into a tupper and refrigerate. When you pull your cheese out the next day, there may be some residual whey. Just pour that off and continue eating and cooking with your delicious fresh cheese!

Making ricotta from scratch is not any cheaper than buying it at the grocery store, but it is much more flavorful. I’ve found that many store-bought ricottas taste like nothing and often have a grainy texture. The milk flavor is very prominent in this homemade cheese and the texture is smooth and creamy. Yum!

-Emily

thanks liz!

Posted on April 5, 2011

I just wanted to quickly share the adorable art that Jordan’s awesome sis made for us …

She took pages from our blog and made these images from the text. The size of the word corresponds with the amount of times it appears. Wow!  Thanks Liz!

Ps. My pictures don’t even do these cuties justice! She even framed them all nice. I can’t wait to squeeze them onto the walls of our tiny apartment! Time to bust out the level!

-Emily

homemade sandwich bread

Posted on April 4, 2011

Jordan was on a bread kick for a while, making all kinds of delicious breads from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. Sadly, his bread baking has declined since he is super busy being an awesome student. I decided to pick up the torch when my friend Andrea recommended a fail-proof sandwich bread recipe that she’s been making for the past few weeks. I like fail-proof, especially when there is hours of rising time on the line.

This recipe is from Farmgirl Fare and it details the process and potential pitfalls of bread baking really well. I’d recomend you check out her post if you are new to the homemade bread world.

Farmhouse White, a classic sandwich bread by Farmgirl Fare

4 cups all-purpose flour (I used Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 1/2 T instant yeast (I used Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast)
2 T granulated or brown sugar
2 T melted butter
4 cups milk, warmed to 85 degrees
About 6 cups bread flour (I used King Arthur Bread Flour – King Arthur makes quality flours and I recommend them)
1 1/2 T salt

Mix together the all-purpose flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the mixture  and pour in the warm milk and melted butter. Mix well. Continue to stir vigorously slowing adding the bread flour one cup at a time, until you have added 3  – 4 cups and have a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

Walk your whiny dog who can’t understand why you are putzing around in the kitchen when at this hour you should be walking her to the park.

Add the salt and 1 more cup of the bread flour. Stir as best you can. Add a bit more flour if the dough seems too sticky to knead. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands for 8 – 10 minutes. Your arms will get very tired, but you will find an awesome slapping-dough-into-counter-rhythm that will allow you to confidently turn down the assistance of your much stronger boyfriend.

Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and dust the top with flour. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 60 – 75 minutes in a warm place. I used the oven with pans of boiling water inside technique developed when I made cinnamon rolls and it worked very well.

Grease 3 loaf pans (I used two glass pans and one metal pan without issue). Turn the dough onto a floured counter. Divide into 3 equal balls and pat into loaf-like shapes. Put the dough in the loaf pans and dust with flour. Cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 40 – 60 minutes. They are ready to go into the oven when you poke a floured finger into the dough and it springs back just a little.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Bake the loaves for 35 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove the loaves from their pans immediately and allow to cool on a rack for 40 minutes. Store at room temperature in a bag or in the freezer wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

This bread is good. It has a great crumb and a mild taste. It makes great peanut butter sandwiches and awesome grilled cheese sandwiches. It contains just a few normal ingredients, not a ton of weird gums and preservatives like store-bought sandwich breads. Now that I have the classic recipe down, I am excited to try a few variations … maybe adding some whole grain flours or sourdough bread starter.

-Emily

tart frozen yogurt

Posted on April 1, 2011

We’ve had three days of perfect weather here in San Francisco. It has been positively summery and I couldn’t be happier! Sunny, 75 degree days are not the norm in the city by the bay and so I celebrated by drinking iced tea, taking the pup to the beach and making tart frozen yogurt.

I really love frozen yogurt, but it can get to be quite expensive at the serve-yourself joints that have popped up all over the place. Plus, I prefer to make things myself. Plus, my neighbor Robin is an instigator (in a good way) and sent me fro-yo recipes all day. This recipe is adapted from The Perfect Scoop and I was amazed how easy frozen yogurt is to make.

Tart Frozen Yogurt
4 cups greek yogurt, or strained plain yogurt (I used Fage because it is my personal favorite)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Whisk together the yogurt and sugar. Pour into an ice cream maker. Churn until frozen. Freeze to harden (or eat immediately if you don’t have the patience or will power to wait). How easy is that?

Because there are so few ingredients in this recipe, it is important that the yogurt be good quality. Choose a yogurt you love to eat on its own and you’ll have great frozen yogurt. It is also important that the yogurt have little water in it; the water will crystalize and give your frozen yogurt a granita effect. Not ideal.

We enjoyed ours with some fresh strawberries, but tart frozen yogurt is a very versatile base. You could add a little vanilla or lemon zest before freezing or top with flaked coconut, chocolate chips, granola, berry sauce … the possibilities are endless! I can only hope the warm weather holds so I can experiment some more!

Update: I tried to eat the leftover fro-yo over the weekend and it was a solid chunk. Not sure if this is just my overzealous freezer, but I had to leave it on the counter for 30 minutes before it was even scoopable. This frozen yogurt is definitely best the first day.

-Emily

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