Saturday, December 23, 2017

Milky Whey

I have a backlog of stories - so many stories - they're constantly swirling around in my head. It's not unusual for me to start talking, mid-paragraph. I sometimes forget that The Man can't read my mind and wasn't following along with the conversation. It drives him crazy. Drives me crazy too because I can read his mind. Sheesh, like it's hard?

Anyway, I don't want to forget about these Backburner stories ("left to simmer till they're good and ready") so I'll try to get them written and out of my head. Part of the problem of not keeping up with the stories is that daily life happens and my plans and priorities change. Sometimes by the minute. Like finding an unopened gallon of milk, six days after it's "Best Used By" date.

I went through my options to use up the milk: big pot of corn chowder, chocolate pudding (yum), or chocolate pudding pie (double yum).

I've made Labneh (yogurt cheese) with my homemade yogurt. I wonder if I could make a simple cheese with the ingredients I had on hand? Okay, no mozzarella because it requires rennet. But, hey, I could do ricotta which requires just milk, an acid (lemon juice, distilled white vinegar, or citric acid powder), and a bit of salt. I had all three types of acids in my pantry but decided to use the distilled white vinegar. I also used up the leftover Half and Half by adding a little bit to each batch.

I Googled a few recipes but decided on easy-peasy so I went with the microwaveable recipe rather than cooking on the stove. It was easy - no stirring or watching a pot - but not too quick. Using up the jug-o-gallon took about an hour. Next time I'll try making it in the Instant Pot. For me, 2 cups of milk yielded ⅓ cup of ricotta.

I ended up with 1½ pounds of ricotta and a pot of milky whey. It seemed wasteful to toss out the leftover whey so I poured it into the Instant Pot and attempted to coax more curdling but it was spent (or I wasn't doing it correctly). All I got for my efforts was warmer liquid. I tried sipping the acidic milky whey, blech, not to my liking. I poured it back into the empty gallon jug and stuck it in the back of the fridge. Let me think about it for awhile.

A pound and a half of fresh ricotta cheese. I had something delicious in mind.

The next day I made a big pot of meat sauce with elk and ground beef. Ron, The Man's brother in Colorado, generously shared his elk burger with us and I've been saving the lean meat for extra special dishes.

By the end of the day I had three pans of Lasagna. The Man dropped off the "Ready to Bake or Freeze" Lasagna to two of the neighbors and I froze our pan to bake for our Christmas dinner. The Man was disappointed I wasn't keeping it all for ourselves, "Why are you giving away all our food?"

After his Lasagna delivery The Man returned home with a medley of homemade Christmas candies, many of them dipped in dark chocolate. No more was said about giving away his food.

We're looking forward to our sweet and savory Christmas.