Hello!

Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making Ricotta Cheese

Living in a country that has a very different culinary culture from your own for over two years can cause some pretty extreme taste cravings. Thankfully, Patrick and I both enjoy cooking and we manage to keep body and soul together with some very good meals out here. But there are some grocery items that are just not available here, or are only available for a very high price (Can you believe I once paid $8 US for a box of Fig Newtons?). But since we are trying to stay out longer than we originally intended, we are now on a budget. For some time I have been craving a good pan of lasagna, but I have not even seen ricotta cheese for sale for almost a year, I think. Lasagna noodles are a little easier to find, and I had picked up some last time I saw them almost six months ago.
So imagine my joy when my good friend Meri on Hotspur told me that you could make ricotta cheese. I was desperate, so I tried it. Wow! It was like magic and I was so jazzed about it (and the resultant pan of yummy lasagna) that I had to share it with you.
The entire process takes about fifteen minutes. The ingredients are simple - 3 cups of dried whole (must be whole) milk, 6 cups of cold water, and 3/4 cup white vinegar. In a large saucepan mix the dried milk and water until dissolved. Heat over medium heat until the liquid is hot to touch but not boiling. Do not let it boil, but keep it hot. Then dump in the vinegar and start stirring. Almost immediately the curds will begin forming. Keep stirring for about ten to fifteen more minutes until the curds (the cheese) and the whey (the yellowish leftover liquid) seperate completely. Then pour this into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. I don't have cheesecloth so I used a clean tank top. Gently squeeze out the whey, then rinse with cold water and squeeze out the liquid again. Then empty the cheese ball out onto a plate lined with some paper toweling, just to get a little more water out. If you squeeze out too much water, the ricotta is a little dry, but you can just add some cream when you are mixing it up for the lasagna, later to compensate. And Voila! you have perfect ricotta cheese. The recipe makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups ricotta cheese. I don't have access to store bought ricotta so I can't do a side-by-side comparison, but I am pretty sure that it IS ricotta cheese. It sure makes a great tasting lasagna.
Our lasagna was so good that we made two pans of lasagna in two days! Still recovering from the overload.
Meri has started a very cool website with lots of great lasagna recipes on it. She is working on adding the ricotta cheese recipe too, so you should see it on there soon. There are more recipes for different lasagnas than I have ever seen, so it is already a great site to visit. You can find it at http://lasagnarecipehq.com/
Check it out!

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good recipe for ricotta, however, a not so clean tank top might have added another dimension to the cheese! Rudy is looking healthy and Jack is growing up. Good to read your blog and share in your adventure.
    Pete & Kathie
    S/V Citla
    Marina de La Paz

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  2. Laura, thanks so much for sharing this. We've made lots of yogurt & yogurt "cheese" on board but I am dying to expand my repertoire!

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  3. I like to cook on board too and this is such a great idea. Having items on hand that can be used to create something else is a bonus, and powdered milk is at the top of my provisioning list.

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