Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese

In the “Look what you can make with Danzeisen products” category, homemade ricotta cheese using Danzeisen whole milk! Because this milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized, you can make simple cheese like ricotta with just milk and lemon.

Here’s How:

Slowly heat up a half-gallon of Danzeisen whole milk to 200 degrees. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/3 cup of lemon juice, and let it sit undisturbed for ten minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl, line with cheesecloth, and pour in the separated concoction. Let it strain.

Yep. That’s it.

It’s fresh and lemony and so delicious. We use it to make stuffed shells with and Vesper Brothers Arrabbiata.

We also love the just-made ricotta served warm with berries or peaches and a dash of cinnamon. Want a little more sweetness? Drizzle with honey or maple syrup.

The leftover whey can be used to tenderize meat, add to smoothies, use in baked goods, or simply drink it poured over ice.

If you love ricotta, you should totally make this. You’ll never want store-bought again!

Happy Cooking!


Spring Rolls

Spring has arrived! In honor of my favorite season—and Coffee Pot Farms awesome greens—we picked up spring roll wrappers for the MPM.

Spring rolls may look complicated to make, but in truth? They’re as simple as making a burrito. Seriously. Drop a rice paper disc in water for a sec, take a bunch of veggies, a protein if you want, then roll it up just like you would a burrito. No cooking required. Back in my news photographer days, I often carried spring rolls for lunch since salads weren’t the most convenient thing to eat when out on assignment. Plus, I love the texture of the rice wrappers.

The wrapper

These things are trippy looking, like a plastic disc or something. The first time I used one I didn’t know what to think. But it’s just rice flour, tapioca flour, water, and salt. The discs are thin, stiff, and rather delicate, but when you put them in water they completely transform into a stretchy pliable base to make your spring rolls.

Find a dish the discs will fit in, fill it with warm water, and set it next to your prepped ingredients. When you’re ready to start making them, soak for about 10-15 seconds, pull out of the water, and lay on a flat surface.

What to put in them

Really, whatever veggies you like, cut into matchstick size sticks or small bites, along with cooked chicken, or pork, or whatever protein strikes your fancy. Think in terms of salads. Here’s what we did:

  • Beeler’s ham steak
  • Mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
  • Coffee Pot Farms spinach (we were out of their Asian Greens)
  • Coffee Pot Farms turnips slivered, plus the turnip greens chopped
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Poblano pepper
  • Jalapeño pepper soaked in lime juice
  • Red cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger People Sushi Ginger

With the soaked rice paper laid out on a flat surface, load the stuff on one end of the disc. We started with a whole leaf of spinach and built on top of that, then drizzled some sauce over the top.

The sauce we improvised using:

  • 1/4 cup-ish of Mayo
  • couple splashes of Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • Couple drops of Sesame Oil — be sparse otherwise it will get bitter
  • Spoonful of Chile Sauce (we used a Peruvian one we carry at the MPM because that’s what we had)
  • Teaspoon of Ginger People Minced Ginger

Once everything is loaded on, start from the end closest to the pile of stuff and roll once, tucking the wrapper around the goods, then fold in the sides and keep on rolling—see? Totally burrito-style. I threw Brian in when he wanted more, and he easily put together his own spring roll on the first try. Use this same strategy on your kids to get them involved and excited about eating their veggies—plus it gives you a chance to sit and eat while they work.

You can make a vast array of dipping sauces, from one with peanut butter and soy sauce, to a sweet one with rice vinegar and sesame, or a mayo based one like we did. Here’s a link to three sauce recipes.

The most time consuming part of making spring rolls is the prep, but if you need a shortcut buy precut veggies for a perfect springtime meal.

Crispy spring rolls

You can also use these wrappers to make crispy spring rolls. Next up on our list, we’re going to make Cha Gio! Click the photo link below to see the base idea we’ll start from.

HAPPY COOKING!


MPM SHOPPING LIST


Head to the mpm market to get your order in for this week

Perfect Roast Chicken & Stock

Now at the Mercantile, Mary’s Organic Whole Chickens, humanely raised and without hormones, antibiotics, or any other junk. To learn more about them, check out this video.

If you’ve never roasted a chicken before, here’s the basics on how we do it. I’ll write a more detailed post when I roast a chicken later this week.

Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest things you can do, and one of the most satisfying. We roast at a high temperature which results in a crispy skin and perfectly moist chicken.

Prepping the Chicken

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Make sure there’s nothing in the cavity (like the package of livers or gizzards) then rinse the chicken. Next, pat the whole thing dry with paper towels. The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin.

We slip butter under the skin and a bit in the cavity then make a mixture of coarse salt, pepper, and rosemary that we liberally pat all over the skin and inside the cavity. I never measure, but will next time. It may look like a lot of salt, but much of it cooks off into the juice. Squeeze half a lemon over the bird then put it in the cavity with a couple cloves of garlic. Next pour olive oil over the whole chicken and stick it in the oven uncovered for an hour and a half. After an hour, baste the chicken.

Seriously. That’s it. Told you it was easy.

To really up the game and make the best roast potatoes ever, first line the roasting pan with uniformly cubed potatoes and garlic cloves, pour a bit of olive oil over, then put the raw chicken on top. These potatoes are SO stinkin’ good. The salty rosemary juices from the chicken saturate the potatoes and make them caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside.

Chicken Stock

After you strip the meat off the carcass, put the bones and skin back in the same roasting pan you cooked it in, with all the awesome drippings and cracklings from the roast chicken. We add bay leaves, salt and pepper, a quartered onion with skin on, poultry seasoning, carrots, celery… really whatever leftover veggies and scraps you have. I keep a bag in the freezer with veggie scraps (like onion tops and skin) for stock. Put water in the roasting pan to cover all the stuff and put it in a low temperature oven (200 degrees) OVERNIGHT! When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have the most delicious flavorful stock. You can also do this overnight in an instapot, although you lose all the good cracklings from the roasting pan.

Get a big colander and strain all the chunks out so you have just the broth. Throw all the rest away. I store my stock in large mason jars and stick a couple in the freezer. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays so you have tablespoon size broth cubes when you need small amounts.

If you ever have questions, ask! We are happy to share any tips.

Happy cooking!

Lori and Brian Law

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How Brian Cooks Beans

We love Adobe Milling heritage beans like AnasaziBolita, organic Pinto, and the wonderful Moki mix that combines several different beans. Sometimes beans get a bad rap, though, because they contain phytic acids that can be hard to digest. One way to mitigate that, is to soak them. So if you’ve bought beans from us and aren’t sure how to cook them, here’s what Brian does.

Soaking

He starts soaking beans the night before. Soaking helps break down the elements that cause digestive issues. He covers them with salt water and lets them sit. After a couple of hours, he rinses and covers again in the salt water. He does this about three times.

Simmering

Brian likes cooking the beans for a long time, so he will often start them in the morning on a very low simmer. After the final rinse of beans, he puts them in a pan with pre-heated olive oil and stirs to get the beans good and coated. He then covers them with water and salt and lets them cook throughout the day, topping off with water as needed. He recommends the first time you cook a bean, to keep it simple so you really taste the bean. After that, experiment with some flavors when warming the oil, like chopped chiles or bacon or whatever seasonings you’d like.

You don’t have to cook them all day. You can cook them for an hour or so, but we really like the texture and flavor of several hour simmer. This particular batch we served with Brian’s homemade corn tortillas and some delicious seared Beeler’s pork medallions.

The next photo is just to show how awesome my husband is. Look at that tortilla puff!!! And yes. It was a good as it looks.

Happy cooking!

Lori and Brian

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Making Butter

If you look at a lot of commercial butter, you’ll find natural ingredients in the list. When you Google “natural ingredients” it can be anything from stabilizers, to MSG, to various flavorings. Bottom line… You don’t need natural flavors in butter. Danzeisen Dairy said it was easy to make butter from their cream, so we gave it a try. They were right. About 15 minutes in a KitchenAid mixer and you have delicious homemade butter from cream with no weird additives. Check out the video below to see the process!