We are on a tight budget these days- for a variety of reasons, the main one being that I have taken the leap of faith to plug away at this blog and some other things related in hopes of creating something meaningful and something that one day might pay some bills. This takes faith, trust a whole lotta balls and a wonderful partner who is willing to foot the bills for a while (and he is pretty well fed in the process). Ahhh well carpe diem, life is short. Needless to say my culinary escapades are not cheap, especially in Miami (food is pricey here!) and especially when you want to buy whole foods, the real deal. This fact has pushed me to do things I have been wanting to do for years, which is make more things from scratch. Of course we make so much from scratch in the restaurants I have worked in but very rarely have I extended those efforts to my home. True it can be a bit more time consuming but so is making the money that it costs to buy things pre-made that are super easy and healthier to make yourself. Of course you have to pick your battles, I am not suggesting by any means that we all churn our own butter for goddsakes (though I would never stop you if you did).

A neighbor turned me on to an article a few days a ago that was in the NY Times, a really cool and inspiring little read. In her book “In Spite Of Everything: A Memoir” author Susan Gregory Thomas writes about her trials of learning- out of sheer necessity, how to grow food to support her family, not some idealistic little backyard project such as mine. I read the article and I will be getting the book!

Homemade ricotta cheese is divine…and REALLY freakin easy. It is one of those blissful things that after you are familiar with the steps you will not need a recipe (this is my favorite kinda thing to cook). Ricotta cheese is very versatile, but one thing that I must make really clear… it is┬ápronounced “rig’otta” not “ricaadaa”, please do this for my dearly departed Nonna Luigina Vinczena Lucia, my cute little Italian granny, who loved food almost as much as she loved God (and even possibly more), who would roll over in her cozy lil bed in heaven if she heard you say ricaadaa. Ya dig?

I always keep my salt in an open container so that I can add easily, usually with my fingers if I am not measuring exactly.

I use a colander but you can use a fine mesh strainer, but be sure to save the whey…keep reading and I will tell you why!

The acid in the vinegar causes the milk to curdle but not to fear, this is a good thing!

Pour slowly and be sure to scrape the bottom with a spatula, as long a it is not browned, don’t waste anything!

After the cheese has sat and cooled a bit, squeeze gently but be sure to push only the liquid through that cheese cloth…

Store in the fridge in glass preferably or eat immediately before chilling…best this way. Drizzle with some amazing extra virgin olive oil and scoop up with some crusty bread. Or serve over fresh cut fruit with a drizzle of honey…oh yeah.

For the incredibly quick and simple recipe for ricotta cheese click here.