Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ricotta and Whey

Following instructions given in a recent issue of Cook's Illustrated, last weekend I made ricotta cheese. (I can't find the magazine right now so can't say specifically which issue, possibly Aug/Sept.)

Well, per the instructions, what I made is actually a "ricotta fascimile." I have no idea the difference between this and the real deal, but I was happy with what I got and it was easy peasy to do. I was not, however, so happy with what I ended up making with the ricotta (a lasagna-like casserole but with no noodles) but the ricotta was not to blame. One gallon of whole milk yielded 3 1/2 cups of ricotta, and what I was left with once the cheese curds were removed was a whole lot of whey. So, following recipes in this book, I made a few different kinds of lacto-fermented foods.

So far I've made raisin chutney, pineapple chutney, and ketchup. I took pictures of them but they're not too pretty (think: jar of vomit), so I think I'll refrain from showing them. I am pretty into this book, although I've tried very few of the recipes (one of the authors, Sally Fallon, is the one who wrote the broth article I linked to in this post). I can vouch for the crispy nuts, they are REALLY GOOD (especially the almonds, in my opinion), but I think that's the only thing I've made up until now, with these fermented foods, but the jury is still out on them. To use up more of the whey, I also plan on making lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, ginger carrots, pear chutney, apple chutney, and orange marmalade. I need to do this all very soon, like tomorrow, because I don't know how long the whey is good for and it's already been a week.

Update (6.26.10)
Ha! No, I didn't make six more batches, yeah right. Didn't even make one. And unfortunately, the ones I did make were not so successfull in the end. They barely got eaten and all got thrown out at some point, with the exception of the ketchup, which was/is okay, but very tomato-pasty. I think we've used it for meatloaf a few times. I ate just a little bit of the raisin chutney, and it actually seemed okay, but not particularly memorable. And the pineapple chutney pretty much bombed, although it likely had to do with the fact that it wasn't a very good pineapple to begin with—not really sweet at all. I still really like the idea of these foods, and would maybe re-visit them again at a later time.

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