People can be so funny. Let me not generalise here. I’m such a funny creature, crazy actually. I’ve been running around preparing make-ahead stuff for my son’s birthday for the last one week. The do-it-yourself bug has suddenly bitten me and I’ve been working on everything, from handmade invitation cards, decoration stuff, party food (of course!) and return gifts. In between all of this, I’ve also been ‘practicing’ various recipes for the cake and decoration (with not-so-great results really)
What has made matters difficult is that my little about-to-be-year-old, cute and adorable though he is, has suddenly turned from being a totally social guy to being a whiny mommy-mommy kind of guy in the last month or two. So whatever work i need to get done, has to be done during his daytime naps, which, by the way, are neither long, nor uniterrupted.
So, this Sunday past, I was really looking forward to a ladies’ night out at a friends place (with kiddo in tow actually). This essentially meant not having to bother about dinner, in addition to getting a chance to let my hair down after a really long time.
So what was so funny was when I suddenly decided I must take something along that night. I just put aside whatever I was doing then (I was hastily setting right a terribly decorated cupcake for my nephew) and flung myself into making some nibble-friendly stuff. Inspired by a friend’s made-from-scratch Tiramisu, I’d made single-serve Tiramisu at a family get-together a few months ago (yet to post about it!). It called for Mascarpone cheese that I ended up making at home only because the one at the store was insanely expensive (400 bucks for 200 gm!).
And ever since I’ve been waiting to make it again and use it in some savoury snack. I was really craving for that on Sunday but the cheese requires to sit for a day or two in cold storage to mature. And that’s how I ended up trying ricotta cheese instead. And it was really really beautiful too. It was almost like preparing paneer, except that this was richer, owing to the addition of cream as well as thick yogurt (I used homemade curd).
As for the cucumber nibblets, I kept it really simple: added finely chopped homemade pickled jalepenos and red bell pepper (capsicum)along with pepper, red chilli powder and salt to the ricotta and topped them on the cucumber slices. They were yummy.
The next day, I used the same ricotta spread for regular bread sandwich and it was heavenly! Next time you plan to make paneer, expand your list to include ricotta. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
This is my second entry under theme Sandwiches without Bread for Valli’s Blogging Marathon (edition 26, week2)
(makes close to 1 cup)
Recipe source: Passionate About Baking
Milk – 1 ltr (see notes)
Fresh Cream – 1/2 cup (This is optional. Original recipe says heavy cream)
Whole milk yogurt – 1/2 cup (I used curd made from toned milk that has 3% fat content)
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp (I missed adding this!!!)
Take all ingredients into a large vessel and bring to a boil
Boil for a few minutes till the whey and curds separate
Line a sieve with muslin or cheese cloth pour in the boiled liquid
Let the whey water drip for 15 minute and then strain any remaining liquid with your hands
Ricotta cheese is ready! (Stays good refrigerated for 3 days, but let me tell you it won’t remain untouched for so long!)
Original recipe asks us to use whole milk, which I presume is full cream milk (6% fat) in India. Since it wasn’t stocked in any of the neighbourhood shops, I used what was available: 1/2 ltr toned milk (3% fat) and 1/2 ltr standardised milk (4.5% fat). To make up for it, used close to 1/2 cup of heavy cream. This was an optional item even in the source recipe
Ricotta Sandwich Spread
Salt, pepper, red chilli powder (to taste)
Picked jalapeno (finely chopped) – as much heat as you want
Red bell pepper (finely chopped) – for some visual effect
Mix everything together well and spread on or sandwich between cucumber slices