Cheese is awesome! For most, it may be a huge leap to think that you can actually make fresh cheese in your own home, but it is surprisingly simple. Ricotta is a fresh cheese and is made by heating milk and stirring in an acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to create curds. The curds are strained from the whey and there you have it, fresh ricotta cheese. This recipe for homemade ricotta cheese is so easy, tastes amazing and can be used for a variety of pasta dishes, salads and appetizers.
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How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1 Gal. Whole Milk
2 tsp. Salt
1/4 White Vinegar or Lemon Juice
You will need...
1. Place the milk in a large pot and heat until little bubbles form on the edge of the pot. The temp. should be about 180-190 F.
2. While the milk heats up, line the colander with a double layer of cheese cloth. Place the colander into the large bowl.
3. Stir the vinegar into the heated milk and stir. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. You will see the milk start to seperate into curds and whey immediately.
4. Carefully pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth and let the whey drain into the bowl. Let this drain for 5 minutes and then pour off the first round of whey. After 20 minutes, you can start to pull the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze more liquid out of the mix.
5. Place the cheese into a bowl and stir. At this point you can taste the cheese and season further with salt if you want.
You can repeat the process to the remaining whey to make a low fat cheese.
This recipe for cast iron pizza will beat any brick oven pizza joint by miles. The cast iron gets super hot and creates a crispy crust that can only be found in pro pizza ovens. I used a large 14 inch cast iron pizza pan that can be found at a Walmart, Target or Amazon.com. You can also place this pan on your grill, jack up the heat to high and get awesome pizzas throughout the year!
You can top your pizzas with all kinds of stuff. I like grilled and fresh vegetables, pulled pork or chicken, BBQ sauce and assorted meats and cheeses. Get Funky With It!!!
Lastly, Big Ups to my buddy Hank Vorher, who took this great picture! Yes, I really made that pizza.
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Link to Pizza Pan -
Cast Iron Pan Pizza
1/4 C Corn Meal
1 Pre Made Pizza Dough, cut into 2
1 C Good Quality Tomato Sauce or Pizza Sauce
12 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin
1/3 C Basil, sliced thin
1 tsp. Salt and Pepper
1/4 C Olive Oil
First Step - Pre heat the oven to 525 F or as hot as hot as it will get.
A) Thin Crust Pizza
Place a large cast iron pizza pan on the bottom oven shelf and let it get hot for 30 minutes.
Lightly dust a counter top or large cutting board with flour. Slowly roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is very thin.
Sprinkle a pizza peel or a baking sheet with no edge, with 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal and place the dough over the cornmeal. Give it a little shake to make sure it moves around a little and does not stick
Top the pizza lightly with sauce, cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Carefully open the oven and shake the pizza off the peel or sheet pan and on to the cast iron pan. Close the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Check the pizza for bubbles, and pop them with a fork if they appear. Close the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and the crust is crispy. Garnish the pizza with fresh, chopped basil.
B) Thick Crust Pan Pizza
Oil a large cast iron pan very well. Roll out the dough the size of the pan and place it in the pan, pushing the dough up the sides to form a deep crust.
Top with sauce, leaving an inch around the sides with no sauce and then top with cheese and assorted toppings. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Place on the bottom of a 525 F oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.Top with fresh copped basil and enjoy!
This recipe for breakfast guacamole is a great way to spice up your morning. I first had this while working in the morning shift in a kitchen. Thought breakfast is not my favorite meal, I can eat taco related food anytime of the day, so this was right up my ally. I like to prep a bunch for the week, wrap it up in a tortilla and take it on the road.
Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg
2-3 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 C Tomato, chopped
1/3 C Onion, chopped
1/3 C Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Hot Sauce
1-2 Limes, juiced
Salt and Pepper
* You can also use 1 cup of jarred salsa, but results may vary.
Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and smash to combine. Serve warm or cold with tortillas.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pan. When the oil starts to smoke add the squash, zucchini and onions to the pan. Add the herbs and toss the vegetables, cook for 2 minutes, toss again and repeat. Top the squash with the feta cheese and broil until golden brown. Remove the pan from the under the broiler, garnish with herbs and serve.
Mix the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To form the ravioli, place an eggroll wrapper on a flat surface and moisten the edges with a small amount of water. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the pasta, fold over and seal tight. Repeat with the rest of the filling. Keep the ravioli covered with plastic wrap during this process.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully place the ravioli into the water and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they float to the top.
One of my most favorite food combinations in the world is warm crusty bread with homemade butter. If butter is the staff of life, then butter makes life awesome! Butter is created by whipping or agitating cream until the fat molecules separate from the water molecules. Butter is super easy to make and taste much better than the store bought stuff. It is also a great way to put the kids to work in the kitchen.
This type of butter is very rich and flavorful and will be a showstopper at any gathering. I like to flavor the cream with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of honey before I shake it up. You can also experiment with different flavors by adding dried herbs, spices, garlic and sweeteners. You can also use cream from grass fed cows and buffalo for an extra rich treat.
Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg
Homemade Honey Butter
½ C Heavy Cream, Ice Cold
½ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Honey
Place the ingredients into a sealable container and shake for 15 minutes. Drain off the water and enjoy!
Baltimore's Best Mac and Cheese Recipe 2012 - Chef Egg's Fonduelicious Mac and Cheese
This weekend I had the pleasure to be a contestant in 2012 Great Baltimore Mac Off at this year's Hampdenfest in Hampden Baltimore. My goal was to offer a dish (the sample in the middle of the pic) that was classic with a unique twist that would be unmatched by other contestants. I also wanted a dish that could stand a two hour serving time without congealing into a hard rubbery, grainy mess.
I chose to make a classic mac and cheese recipe starting out with rendering bacon and sautéing onions in the fat. Next I added flour to create a roux, which thickens the sauce and helps the cheese to melt with out separating. After cooking the roux for 5 minutes I slowly whisked in the cold milk to create a classis béchamel sauce. Next I added a pinch of nutmeg and brandy to flavor the sauce in the fondue style.
As for the cheese; most mac and cheese recipes are great, but turn out grainy and not creamy. This surely boils down to your choice of cheeses when creating the recipe. After my research and development I found that mixture of 4 cheese, Tullimook medium white cheddar, Sea Side sharp white cheddar, Pecorino Romano and Emi gruyere reserve provided me with a well balanced, flavorful, rich and creamy sauce.
I slowly whisked in the cheese until smooth and then poured the sauce over par- cooked cavatelli pasta, which is like a larger twisty macaroni. I cooked the dish in the oven until golden brow fro about 30 minutes. The loose sauce had enough moisture to finish cooking the pasta and create a creamy sauce even after 2 hours of sevice. While that cooked I made a simple salad of chopped green apple, red grapes and fresh tarragon. This crunchy and colorful salad was the unique garnish for the top of my dish.
After over 2 hours of tasting and judging the winners were announced. Much to my surprise I won the coveted "Peoples Choice Award" and was given an awesome gift basket with gifts from the shops on 36th st. aka "The Avenue". To top it off I got a super sweet trophy topped with a chef and covered in flames. Other winners included critics choice (amateur) Libby Franis Bauder and critics choice (professional) Trinity Fisher of Alchemy.
This was my first public cooking competition I entered and could not be happier with the experience and results. Thank you to all of the organizers, volunteers and people that came out to participate and we will see you next year!
Chef Egg's Fonduelicious Mac and Cheese
6 Bacon strips, sliced
1/3 C Flour
4 tbsp. Butter
1 Onion, Diced
1/2 gal. Whole Milk
½ C Brandy
1lb. Macaroni, half cooked
18 oz. White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
8 oz. Gruyere Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Pecorino Romano Cheese, Shredded
Salt and Pepper
1 C Crushed Sun Chips
Place the bacon in a pot over medium heat and cook until crisp then remove. Add the butter to the bacon fat, and cook the onion until soft. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Slowly whisk in the milk then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes whisking constantly until thick. Stir in the brandy then whisk in the ¾ of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix the cooked pasta and cheese sauce, place in a buttered baking dish, top with the rest of the cheese and bacon and cook at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with sun chips and the apple and grape mixture.
1 Apple, diced
2 C Grapes, sliced
1 Lemon, juiced
2 tbsp. Fresh Tarragon, chopped (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and serve as a garnish.