Fresh Homemade Ricotta

“Little Miss Muffet, she sat on her tuffet (?), eating her curds and whey” is about to become very real right now, and there is no better way to demonstrate curds and whey than in making your own Homemade Ricotta Cheese! (a tuffet is a poofy stool, BTW)

Why should you make your own ricotta? First, because it is so much more creamy, rich, and smooth than the store-bought variety.  Second, you’ll love knowing every ingredient that goes into your cheese! No xantham gum or guar gum in sight!  Finally, bragging rights.  Don’t tell me you won’t feel pretty darn proud serving up a delicious manicotti or cannoli, stuffed with your very own homemade ricotta.  People will be sooooo impressed!  They don’t need to know how easy it actually is 😉  (Read more…)

Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia Bread

In my mind, there is a bread hierarchy.  What?!  Yes.  I’ll say it again – there is a bread hierarchy.  If you are part of an Italian-American family (I married into this madness) and you’re having a bowl of pasta with meatballs and marinara, you need a nice hunk of crusty bread to sop up the extra sauce and to move the noodles onto your fork (don’t get me started on using a spoon to twirl the noodles. They almost cast me out of the family for that 🙄).  White Italian or crusty semolina, maybe a hard roll in the morning – these were the breads of my husband’s childhood dinner table.  I ate the bread.  I liked the bread.  But I had never heard of or even seen the ultimate Italian bread until we moved away from the family.  We went to a beautiful little Italian restaurant in Oregon, and they gave us slices of light airy bread, sprinkled with bits of rosemary, and served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dish on the side (not a truly Italian way to serve it, but when NOT in Rome…).  This was definitely not the bread my Mother-in-law had on her table.  This was FANCY bread.  Going out to dinner bread.  Bread that would disappear from our table in just a few minutes, leaving a sad crumb filled basket on our table and little girls staring up at the waiter, with big eyes, looking all Dickensian, “Please sir.  I want some more.”  This was Focaccia. (Read more…)