In this Issue...
- How to make cheese at home. Yes, you can!
- Latest site additions
- The Fall of Rome
- Amaretto: An Italian liqueur... Yum!
How wonderful to see you again. Springtime is here and pretty soon everything will be in full bloom! During these past cold winter months I have discovered an activity to keep me occupied and I wanted to share it with you - how to make cheese, right at home! Read on to find out how easy it is!
And when your cheese is complete, why not sprinkle it over some garlic and oil spaghetti to give it a little kick? That's the best part about cooking, experimentation!
Speaking of experimentation, I've recently added a feisty new recipe to my site, I hope you all try it and LOVE it.
Also in this issue: ever wonder why the Roman Empire fell? Well there were many, many factors. Impress your friends at your next dinner party with your historical savviness...a very interesting read, indeed!
Until next time...
Making your own fresh cheese at home isn't as difficult as it may sound. Follow these few simple steps and you'll have a tasty sampling of your own in no time! This recipe will yield a ricotta type cheese. It is delicious on crackers, bread or tossed with pasta and olive oil.
Makes about 1 pound of fresh homemade cheese
1 gallon whole milk (fresh, unpasteurized is best, but if you need to pick it up a the store, don't go for anything ULTRA-pasteurized, such as organic) 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice 1-2 tablespoons of salt (the more salt, the harder the cheese) herbs of your choice (For example: fresh or dried parsley, basil or thyme)
You will also need a large metal pot, stainless steel or wooden spoon, candy thermometer, cheese cloth, colander and thread of some kind.
Step 1: Slowly heat the milk, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer reads between 175 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: When the milk has reached the correct temperature, turn off the heat. Add the vinegar or lemon juice to the pot, pouring in a thin, slow stream.
Step 3: As you pour in the vinegar, use a wooden spoon to slowly stir the milk. Be sure to keep stirring in the same direction. Soon you'll notice that the milk is starting to separate into curds and whey. You're halfway to making your own cheese!
Step 4: Stir the mixture for a few more seconds and then cover your pot and set aside. Watch your thermometer and allow the milks temperature to go back down to around 100 degrees. This could take up to 2 hours. (Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax!)
Step 5: Prepare your colander by folding a few sheets of cheese cloth into a large square and setting it inside. After the curds have settled to the bottom of the pot and the desired temperature has been reached, slowly pour the curds and whey into the colander. If you want to keep the whey, make sure you have a large bowl set up underneath! ** (This is where you would add your herbs and spices if you choose to use them!)
Step 6: After you're done pouring the mixture in, grab the four corners of the cheesecloth and tie together to make a sack. Hang over a sink or bowl to allow the remaining fluid to drain out. (I tie my cheese cloth to the tall kitchen faucet, so it drips right down the drain!) You can also tie it to a cabinet knob over a bowl or pot on the counter.
Step 7: Let drain for 2-4 hours. The longer you let the cheese sit, the drier it will be.
Step 8: When you're ready, pull the cheese cloth down and untie the ends. You can now put the cheese into a mold or serving dish and refrigerate it for a few hours. This cheese will keep for between 1 and 2 weeks. Sample a tiny bit before adding the whole thing to your pasta dish, to make sure it is still good!
Step 9: Enjoy your home made cheese!
**Whey can be saved for up to 2 weeks and be used to put into other recipes in place of milk (such as in potatoes au gratin) or stock and is an excellent liquid for smoothies - it is loaded with protein!**
Latest site additions
This week I have added a delectable new Fettuccine Alfredo recipe with chunks of chicken and sautéed mushrooms.
I've also created a step-by-step photo illustrated recipe for baked ziti!
And because Easter is just around the corner, I wanted to remind everyone about the special Italian Easter Bread recipe that I make every year at this time. Check it out, and enjoy!
Do you have any exciting new recipes you'd like to share?
Share them with us!
We'd love to hear from you!
The Fall of Rome
Rome was undoubtedly one of the largest and most powerful empires in all of the world's history. It produced some of the most widely accepted ideas, theories, literature, architectural, and societal models that we still follow today. So what happened? Why did fall?
A long standing debate about the reasons exists. But here is snippet of an explanation... Click here to read the full story.
Amaretto - an Italian Liqueur
I have to admit, Amaretto is by far my favorite liqueur. In Italian the word amaro means bitter, but this yummy spirit is anything but. Made of apricot pits and sweetened with almonds, it is a melodic combination that works well for baking and for drinking!
Here is a recipe for my favorite Amaretto mixed drink!
1 1/2 ounces Amaretto liqueur 1 ounce simple syrup (dissolve an equal amount of sugar in water) 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice 1 orange slice 1 maraschino cherry
Fill a large mixer with ice and combine all the liquid ingredients. Shake, shake, shake! Pour into a stout glass and garnish with a cherry and slice of orange. A little bitter, a little sweet, and a whole lot of YUM! Saluti!