July 14, 2014
A Late Thank You for a Father’s Day Gift
Being a person who cherishes a well-prepared meal—and being Catholic besides—I have often wondered what food is served in heaven. And that is making a huge assumption that I earn my way there.
Sure-Fire Menu Items
I know a few things that are can’t miss items. And these alone are enough to keep me walking the straight and narrow. Let’s take a look at these known foods.
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- No brainer. If only the Italians voted for it, it would still be high on the list.
- Seafood Ravioli
- Another shoo-in. Who doesn’t love a good seafood ravioli?
- I’m hoping it’s Mikki’s lasagna, but I’ve tasted plenty that would suffice.
- Veal Marsala
- No more needs to be said.
Getting Back to My Story
I went off on a tangent here—which I tend to do when food is involved—so let’s get back on track. For father’s day, my lovely daughter sent me a gift card for my favorite grocery store. Yes, I know, that’s an odd thing, but my daughter knows me well, and she understands that a special meal and a good bottle of wine are better than almost anything. Hence, the grocery-store gift card.
To make this more than just a special father’s day, my oldest son chipped in and volunteered to cook me up a meal beyond comparison.
A Little Explanation
I love tiramisu. I go berserk over sfogliatelle. And figs with gorgonzola…fahgettaboutit.
But there is one dish that I seldom get, and it just might top all of the others.
What is it?
Homemade Ricotta Cheese With Pears and Cinnamon
If you’ve never eaten this slice of heaven, then I offer my condolences. If you have had it, and presuming it was made properly, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Take a look at the picture below, and tell me you’re not drooling.
Of course, no meal is complete without a glass of fine wine. For this occasion we had Santa Cristina, a Chianti that is inexpensive and delicious.
The Rest of the Meal
I almost forgot the rest of the meal. My son is not one to dally around with food. When he cooks there is usually far too much for everyone. This is a genetically inherited trait that he got from his mother. She is a compulsive feeder.
Getting back to the meal. He also cooked veal Marsala, which was magnificent, and he made a wonderful salad. But for me, the meal began and ended with the dessert.
What if You Can’t Make It?
Have no fear. If you haven’t had this delicacy, and you can’t make it, or find someone else to make it for you, all is not lost. All you have to do is live a good life, because there is no question that this is a food served in heaven.
If you do an Internet search for homemade ricotta, you’ll find dozens of recipes. Some will use lemon juice (or juice squeezed from fresh lemons) in place of buttermilk, but either will work. It boils down to preferences. This recipe can also be scaled up or down with consistent results. These measurements make enough cheese for about a dozen servings with enough left over to stuff shells or ravioli to feed about 8 people. (Stuffed shells with homemade ricotta is to die for.)
- One gallon of whole milk. (Don’t use UHP ultra-high pasteurized)
- One quart of buttermilk.
- One pint of heavy cream.
- One-half teaspoon of salt.
Note: Add more buttermilk to sweeten to your taste.
- Use a pan like what you make your red sauce in. Heat the milk, buttermilk, and cream (and salt) slowly. Stir every couple of minutes for about 10 minutes, until you see bubbles form. Then let it sit without stirring until the temperature hits 170°.
- When curds begin to form, remove it from the burner and let it sit (without stirring) for ten minutes. The whey and curds should begin to separate. Lay cheesecloth over a colander and put it on top of a large bowl.
- Now pour into the cheesecloth-covered colander, and let it drain. This might take up to an hour. (Wait until the liquid drains completely.)
- Put the ricotta in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. You should have enough for a few good meals. (This is assuming you can stop family members from dipping spoons into the mixture while it’s warm and stealing half of it.)
Most importantly, enjoy! Buon appetito.
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He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”