Archive for the ‘curds’ Category

It’s National Pancake Day!

These pancakes, based on a recipe from chef April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in NYC), are made from fresh homemade ricotta cheese. Light as air…and really delicious! I’ve made a few batches of fresh ricotta cheese in my day, but when the family has a craving for these pancakes at the last-minute, a good-quality store-bought ricotta cheese will do.

 

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup GF flour if I want to make these gluten-free)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup fresh ricotta

 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, ricotta,  and egg yolks. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Fold gently into the batter.

Spray a non-stick griddle with a little cooking spray and drop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and fluffy.

pancake

These pancakes, based on a recipe from chef April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in NYC), are made from fresh homemade ricotta cheese. Light as air…and really delicious! I’ve made a few batches of fresh ricotta cheese in my day, but when the family has a craving for these pancakes at the last minute, a good-quality store-bought ricotta cheese will do.

 

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup GF flour if I want to make these gluten-free)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup fresh ricotta

 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, ricotta,  and egg yolks. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Fold gently into the batter.

Spray a non-stick griddle with a little cooking spray and drop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and fluffy.

pancake

These pancakes, based on a recipe from chef April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in NYC), are made from fresh homemade ricotta cheese. Light as air…and really delicious! I made my first-ever batch of homemade ricotta cheese the other day, following a recipe from Iron Chef Michael Symon. He used lemon juice and zest in the recipe, which gave the cheese a stronger lemon profile than I had hoped for. But once I realized I could use that ricotta in a pancake, the lemon flavor really took the pancakes to a whole new level.

I use raw milk for my ricotta cheese. It’s not available here in Rhode Island, but it is in neighboring Massachusetts. If you can’t find raw milk, use organic milk. Just avoid anything that is ultra-pasteurized.

milk

Ingredients:

1.2 gallon of raw milk

juice and zest of 8 small organic lemons

salt

sugar

Always have top-notch assistants at your side to make sure you're doing it right!

Always have top-notch assistants at your side to make sure you’re doing it right!

In a saucepan, heat the milk to 180 degrees. Remove from the heat. Add lemon juice and zest, salt and sugar. Stir once and then let it sit for 5 minutes.

Pour the curds (solids) and whey (liquid) into a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. Discard the whey, if you choose, then place the remaining cheese in the fridge overnight to further continue drippage.

The next morning, the ricotta is ready to use!

Homemade ricotta cheese

Homemade ricotta cheese

Once you have the fresh ricotta, it’s time to put these beautiful rustic pancakes together…

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups milk

2 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup fresh ricotta

 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, ricotta,  and egg yolks. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Fold gently into the batter.

Spray a non-stick griddle with a little cooking spray and drop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and fluffy.

pancake

Even if you’re a huge fan of cheese, chances are you’ve never tried cheese curds. Cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk, either eaten alone or used in regional recipes, mainly in Canada and the Midwest of the United States. The locals call it “squeaky cheese,” because it literally squeaks against your teeth as you eat it.

Cheese curds are usually found only in areas where cheese is made, because it is at its best when it’s freshly made. American varieties are usually yellow or orange, colored much like cheddar cheese, though you can find uncolored curds as well.

My first taste of cheese curds came from an airport store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as I was traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit the in-laws.

But now, you can find cheese curds here in our area…and closer to home means fresher curds.

Our friends at Simmons organic farm in Middletown, RI make their own organic goat cheese from milk they get from their own goats. And every once in a while, Karla and Mark treat us customers to cheese curds as well. They are awesome and worth asking for.

Meanwhile, in Westport, Mass, the Shy Brothers farm, makers of those delicious thimble-shaped Hannabel cheeses, also have their own cheese curds, which I find occasionally at Lee’s Market in Westport. Worth a look the next time you’re there.

Whether you eat them by themselves–and they are addictive–or add them to a recipe (most famously used in that classic Canadian dish, Poutine, featuring french fries, brown gravy and cheese curds) cheese curds are something you have got to try.

With the home garden in full swing, we enjoy freshly sliced tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and crumbled cheese curds. Or, we take fresh corn on the cob, drizzle a little fresh lime juice on it, and then crumble curds on top. Fantastic!

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