Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yum (with Pictures)

OK, yesterday I mentioned the Bailey's Irish Coffee Cheesecake. Here are some pictures of the goodness that it was :)

It tasted even better than it looks. We used the recipe from Not Just Cheesecake, and just replaced the whiskey with Baileys (because it tastes so much better that way, in my humble opinion). I described the sauce in the post below but basically I took confectioner's sugar (haven't found a good replacement for that, but I used sucanat in the cheesecake. I just let it sit in the mixture for a while to help it dissolve before mixing everything up), dark chocolate cocoa, espresso, real milk (I can't fathom calling milk raw anymore, as though it is something that is supposed to be cooked), and Baileys. I started by heating the milk, Baileys, and espresso so that the cocoa dissolved in it more easily. Once the cocoa was thoroughly dissolved and the milk mixture was hot, I turned off the heat, because I didn't want to add the sugar under increasing heat, which would make the sauce harder to thicken.

As a general rule when I'm going off the cuff, I didn't really measure anything, so you're welcome to try the ingredients and see what you come up with. The only problem with doing it that way is that I now have way more chocolate sauce than I will need even for the whole cheesecake, as I was adding a little of this and a little of that as I went for taste and consistency, so that means a whole lot of, "well, I guess I need more cocoa now, since I had to add so much confectioner's sugar to thicken it." Anyway, in the end you end up with a LOT of chocolate sauce. I guess I can always freeze it for the next cheesecake.

I had some leftover milk before this week's milk run, that was too plentiful for me to even think about making yogurt with, so I decided to make ricotta. Thanks to some help from several other blogs I've read (you can find them to the right), this is the ricotta straining method I've adopted:

Basically, I have two pillowcases set aside for only cheese and yogurt straining purposes. I line a colander (over my large stock pot so as not to lose all the whey) with a pillowcase and let the better part of the whey drain off. When the amount is more manageable, I tie up the pillowcase with several rubber bands (I do not delight in the idea of coming home to find ricotta all over my stove and counter) and attach those to the hinge on the cupboard above my stove. I let that drain for 1-several hourse (depending on the batch size. This was a sizeable batch so it has been draining for several hours). Then store the whey in a leftover (and thoroughly washed out and sanitized) milk jug marked with the date, and store the ricotta in an airtight container. Jeff thinks the whole process is gross, but he loves the lasagna and cheesecake that come from the ricotta and yogurt cheese strained by this method.

The first time I strained yogurt to get yogurt cheese, I set the whole thing up and went to hang out with a friend. While I was with my friend, I received a call from Jeff saying, "Um...there is a bag hanging from the cabinet....with yucky green juice [whey] dripping from it!" The process can look rather unappealing, but the results are more than palatable! This ricotta (made from whole milk) makes a very creamy lasagna filling!

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