By Mary Rose Roberts
This may surprise you, but I love to smoke. I quit my daily habit more than two years ago. But if I have a cup of coffee, I crave a cigarette. And sometimes if I have a glass a wine and I’m with smokers, I will ask for one. It’s a difficult habit to break, as are all unhealthful habits. It is one I struggle with, just like nutrition.
That’s one of the reasons I support Meatless Monday on the blog. The challenge is to go just one day a week without meat and to choose organic products. When I go meatless, I feel great all day, having more energy and less sluggishness. This week for breakfast, I had a vegan, gluten-free quinoa blueberry muffin, snacked on a berry-almond milk smoothie and dinner was a veggie sandwich made sweeter with a homemade-ricotta-cheese gluten-free crepe for dessert.
Making homemade cheese is easy. In fact, I will never buy ricotta cheese again. Making it homemade not only ensures I know what it is made of. It also saves on plastic containers and gas used for shipping the processed version. Instead, I reused an old plastic container from deli olives I bought a few months ago.
Plus, the ricotta tastes fresh and nothing like store bought. There’s less salt, zero preservatives and guaranteed organic because of the ingredients I used.
I’ve included the recipe below. I used it within an hour of making it to treat my friends to gluten-free, homemade ricotta lemon crepes with raspberry sauce. I recommend this easy recipe as one way to use the homemade ricotta.
I made enough ricotta for a second recipe, a grilled veggie sandwich, for dinner that night. Look for it next week!
Homemade, organic ricotta cheese
2 qts organic whole milk
1 cup organic heavy cream
½ tblsp. salt
3 tblsp. fresh lemon juice (have extra on hand)
6-qt heavy pot
In the sink, place a strainer inside a large bowl. Measure and cut the cheesecloth long so you can place it neatly over the top of the strainer and tie it along the bottom of the bowl in a knot. The cheesecloth should be elevated from the bottom of the strainer.
Next, in the large pot, bring milk, cream and salt to rolling boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
If your milk isn’t curdling, then add another 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and continue to stir to prevent burning. Once it starts to curdle and thicken, pour mixture into cheesecloth-lined strainer and let drain for 1 hour.
Cover ricotta and chill. Ricotta will keep in refrigerator for 3 days. I’ve heard you can save the liquid for baking but I haven’t tried it yet.
The cheese has 214 calories per servings, with a total of 4 servings.
Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
½ tablespoon natural vanilla extract
¼ cup of powdered sugar
2/3 cup homemade organic ricotta cheese
1/3 cup of All Fruit raspberry sauce
Make gluten-free crepes according to Pamela’s recipe on the package. The mix should be runny. Heat a frying pan over medium-high and coat generously with organic cooking spray. Pour mixture and physically move the pan in circles to form a round, flat crepe on the bottom of pan. Lower to medium. Bubbles will form on top of the crepe. Gently check for a nice brown color and flip.
Turn the heat up on the pan and repeat process. Should make about 8-10 crepes.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix ricotta, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Take a cheese grater and scrap the edges of ½ the lemon into the bowl. Only take the yellow—not the white of the lemon. Taste. Add more lemon to taste.
Take four crepes and place in a large skillet. Drop two tablespoons of mixture on each crepe and spread vertically. Roll each like a burrito. Cover over medium for about 3 minutes.
Heat All Fruit in the microwave until completely melted. Take each crepe, plate each one, take 2 teaspoons of All Fruit and drizzle over top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Makes 4 servings.