I'm sort of a homemade elitist. Even I find myself pretty annoying when I can hear the way I talk about how so many things are better when they're made from scratch (they are, but no one cares Mandy).
Without a doubt, this backfires in my face often enough to understand why people don't want to attempt making something they can just pick up at the store (didn't care about these graham crackers, or these potato chips I still haven't made, or the not pictured rehydrated-porcini-mushroom-chicken I threw entirely into the trash). But then, then there are moments like the butter, these noodles, or this ricotta, that remind me why we started this project.
The way 3 Sisters Eat came to exist was actually a kind of a challenge, let's see what we can't do. And the most interesting thing about it has been what each of us have struggled with-- Hillary will never attempt to make bagels again if she plans on keeping her roommate, Kate straight up ignores recipes if she doesn't feel like they're descriptive enough, and I truly f*cking hate making jam.
The blunders we've experience over the last 2 and a half years could make for a quality web series, where we just swear in our kitchens in weird outfits and have food remnants splattered all over our walls (will be sure to keep everyone posted if that ever materializes).
But the best thing about this project has been what we've learned we can do, and what recipes have become staples in our homes because of it. I've made this ricotta at least half a dozen times, and I love it for many reasons, one of which is that it's almost impossible to mess up.
It doesn't taste like what you're familiar with-- it's delicate, more rich, nearly impossible to step away from (see also, this reference), and worth being homemade. Tackle something you find intimidating, and call me if you need a candy thermometer.
Yield - makes about 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy/deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it the bottom from burning. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently. Then let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the colander and let the curds strain and the mixture harden for at least an hour, two hours for best results. Discard the whey. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. This will last up to 4 days.