Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Do, With Love.

Today, I decided that we needed a lasagna, yet, the only ingredients I had on hand were 8 oz of mozzarella and some lasagna noodles. I was not in the mood to go to the store with three kids in heavy coats, but I wanted lasagna. My friend Cheryl stopped by and warned me of the lovely winter storm that is to come and stay til Thursday, and let me know that if my shopping wasn't done, I'd better do it. After she left, I looked at the kitchen, decided I had enough food if I got creative, and opted to be a hermit. So, onto making lasagna from more scratch than usual.

First, I needed ricotta cheese. Just to let you know, making ricotta is ridiculously easy. In fact, it pains me to see it at such high prices in the store--for two reasons: #1 Ricotta is a left-over. It literally means "cooked again", you get it from the whey after making mozzarella. #2 It takes 15 minutes of effort. Tops.I did not make mozzarella first, I just wanted ricotta, so I followed a shortcut:

Dump 2 quarts of whole milk in a pot. Heat to 200 degrees (just about boiling), add an acid (about 1/3 Cup--lemon juice, vinegar, or I use 1/2 tsp powdered citric acid in 1/3 C water). Reheat to 200 degrees (takes seconds). Take off heat. Let sit 15 minutes while you do something else--like play with the kids, eat lunch, read, you get the picture. Then, line a colander with a thin cloth (clean pillow case works if you don't have fine cheesecloth lying around). Dump it in, let sit for a few minutes. DONE!

IMG_8590.JPGHere it is in the colander.

IMG_8593.JPGI gave it a good squeeze to get the rest of the whey out.

Then, I mixed it with egg, the mozzarella and some sea salt. Set aside to layer in lasagna.

Time to make sauce!!

2 quarts frozen tomato chunks (saved from the garden, when you weren't in the mood to can)

2 carrots, shredded

1/2 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, shredded (an electric shredder makes fast work of all of this!)

some garlic, basil and oregano.


Layer noodles, cheese mixture, sauce, and fresh spinach. Yum.Bake @350 f. Covered with foil. Mine stayed in for two hours, but less would have been OK. You just want to make sure the egg is cooked.

Then, to complete the meal, use the whey to make bread and rolls!

I had four cups of whey left when I was done, so I made two loaves of bread and one rack of rolls. This should last us the week, and if that storm makes it so I can't shop, we'll be eating some amazing PB&J (with a blueberry, strawberry, raspberry jam that I made. Mmmmmm).

IMG_8594.JPGDinner is served!IMG_8600.JPG

Really, it didn't take that long. Wonder what else I'll come up with in this snowy weather. They do say that necessity is the mother of invention!!!

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