We had our 'farmgirl' meeting yesterday, at farmgirl Sally's house, which is out among the oaks, and beautiful. The winter rains have made everything that crazy bright green color that I try to capture every year on film, to no avail. And Sally has a front porch swing that looks out over the landscape, which made me want to just bring a book and park there for a while. But we had to head inside, because we learned to make ricotta cheese yesterday. I thought it would be complex and stinky, but discovered that it is extremely easy, much to my joy. And it doesn't smell at all, because the cheese doesn't sit around. The whole process took about 20 minutes - I am not kidding! And it involved only milk (or half and half, or cream), lemon juice or vinegar, and salt. In fact, it was so easy that I made up another batch when I got home and we ate it for dinner with some pasta (I put the 'recipe' below). It is always exciting for me and my self-esteem to find out that I can indeed do something that previously seemed scary or intimidating. And if a dairy product is involved, well, then, all the better!
However, that was not even the most exciting part of the meeting - we got news that one of our farmgirls could not attend because she (this is so awesome....) got run down by a bull and actually tumbled down a hill and cracked a rib. This is possibly the 'farmiest' thing that's ever happened to someone in our group. And it wasn't even her bull...there is a rancher named Chet (how's that for a cowboy name?) who owns 700 acres that back up to everyone's property, and a few of his cattle broke through the fence and entered her yard, and she was simply trying to shoo them out. All I could say was, "Wow!"
Well - here's the pasta recipe that we happily ate last night for dinner:
3/4 lb whole wheat penne, cooked
2 cups grilled chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and warmed through
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and let sit in a warm oven until warmed through
To make homemade ricotta cheese:
We used 'recipes' and directions that we got online at allrecipes.com and epicurious.com
Ricotta cheese is also referred to sometimes as 'Farmers Cheese'