Mamatoga Monday Recipe: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Good morning Mamas! Here is our Monday recipe courtesy of our new cooking contributing author Kim Bernard, you can check out her blog here, and enjoy! Let us know if you try this simple and fun recipe!
Makes Approximately 2 cups
When we were on the Washington County Cheese Tour we were given a sample of homemade ricotta cheese along with the recipe.  I’ve thought many times about making cheese but wasn’t really sure how to get started.  Well it turns out to be a pretty simple process and one I thought would be good for all the Mamatogians out there who might be looking for a fun, simple and delicious project to do with the kids when they’re on break or home for a snow day.
1 large saucepan
colander or strainer
slotted spoon
4 cups whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of buttermilk
The Process
In a large saucepan pour in the 4 cups of milk, the 1 cup of heavy cream and the 1 cup of buttermilk.  Heat to a simmer (a slight boil will be okay, just be sure that it doesn’t boil over), stirring occasionally to distribute the heat.  The curds will start to form after about 2 minutes, but it might take longer.  The milk should be at least 150 degrees but can be heated to 180 degrees.  In our cheese making process we found that as the milk cools it will form more curds.
Set the colander lined with cheese cloth (I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $3.00) into a larger bowl.
Scoop the curds out of the pan with a slotted spoon (they will not be completely formed since this recipe is for creamy ricotta) and put them in the cheese cloth lined colander.  The curds (which is the firm part of the cheese) and the whey (the liquid part of the cheese) will separate.
That’s basically it.  Once made, the cheese can be used in lasagne, crepes or on pizza.  You can even put some herbs or garlic in it and spread it on crackers.  It will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but I’m sure you’ll find a creative use for it before then.
I’m not really sure it’s “ricotta” cheese but it’s tasty and fun to make.
If this recipe doesn’t sound like something you’d like to try, check in next week, when it will be all about homemade buttermilk biscuits and making butter.