Saturday, July 10, 2010

2 Days of Food Life - Why Eat Out?

You may be wondering what I have been doing? I have been cooking Indian food, baking bread, and reading up on local cow shares. The Indian food and bread have been from cookbooks so I haven't posted about them. Today, however, I altered a bread recipe enough to post it here. The inspiration for the bread recipe also inspired a new pasta sauce recipe as well, which in turn inspired a new leftover recipe. What's the inspiration? Homemade Ricotta cheese! The creator of Perfect Flavor, a local creamery, put me up to it. The woman who runs it is on leave because she just had a baby so they are closed, but she has been blogging in the meantime. This post served as my inspiration.

Here's what I did today:
- I made ricotta cheese.
- I used some of the whey to make bread (although, in all fairness, Brett did most of the work because I had to leave in the middle of making the dough).
- I gave the rest of the whey to my neighbor to feed to her dog and chickens.
- I made no-cook pasta sauce with the cheese and the tomatoes, onions, and basil we got in our CSA this week.
YUM!!! I was tired at the end of the day, but I attribute that more to the fact that I also went to the farmer's market, CVS, a local dairy farm, and the Polyface Farm buyer's club Charlottesville pick-up. Maybe when you do this you can just stay home. ;-)

Here is the process for making everything. I hope that you have as much fun as we did!

Ricotta Cheese
Milk for making cheese must be fresh, thus local. At a bare minimum, look for no hormones and simply pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. If you buy this kind of milk (as opposed to raw, which is best, although I haven't tried it yet) I recommend making cheese the same day you buy it. I made this cheese from Shenandoah's Pride whole milk that comes in plastic jugs. The milk in the cartons is ultra-pasteurized and says nothing about hormones. The plastic jugs, however, have a little yellow area that says there are no hormones and are only pasteurized.
Refer to this post for making the Ricotta cheese.

The Bread
I think I can officially call the bread recipe mine. I altered one of my favorites in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads, Sister Virginia's Daily Loaf. I think I'll call this:
Pastor Sarina's Weekly Loaf
[the whole recipe is's just long and I can't get up the motivation to type it out]
substitute whey for milk
butter for shortening
3 risings instead of two
It was very good. Maybe a little dry. Nothing that storing it in a plastic bag can't help. Next time I will try lard instead of butter since I just picked up 5 pounds of pork fat from Polyface farm for making lard. Woo!

The pasta I didn't make myself, but we bought it fresh from Mona Lisa Pasta.

Sarina's No Cook Pasta Sauce
2 pounds fresh tomatoes diced into 1/4 inch pieces (you could seed the tomatoes, but I didn't)
1 very small red onion finely sliced
1 clove fresh garlic minced
2-3 Tbs fresh basil minced
1 cup of fresh ricotta cheese (don't bother with store bought)
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix together in a large bowl.
Cook your pasta.
Serve hot pasta in individuals bowl and mix in sauce to taste. The heat from the pasta will cook the garlic just enough.
Add salt and pepper to taste.


We ate this for dinner with our bread, as well as for lunch the next day. We ended up with leftover sauce. It was Sunday and we normally don't cook on Sunday. We planned to make hamburgers for dinner and put the leftover sauce on them instead of ketchup (which would have been fabulous), but after lots of church we were almost too tired to move (I taught a class for an hour, then we worshipped until 1:30 at another church). Brett said, "If we cook, lets do something with one step." That made me think of Sloppy Joes. We had the thawed hamburger and the tomato sauce. Shouldn't it cook together into a nice leftover dish in almost one step? We could eat it on our bread. We tried it and it was delicious! Micah kept asking for more beef and once he said, "Can you make more beef, please?" at which point we gave him watermelon and he was fine. Brett kept scraping the last bits out of the pan, something he never does "because it's too much work." If you try this, just keep in mind that it won't look like any Sloppy Joe you've ever had. Ricotta cheese doesn't melt, and even though everything cooked, it didn't gel into a sauce. But who cares what it looked like as long as it tasted great and people kept asking for more? It's more like a gourmet Sloppy Joe; if ever L'Etoile made a Sloppy Joe it would look like this. Let's call it Sloppy Jacques. This recipe served 2 adults and one toddler. We at every last bite. We ate watermelon slices as our side dish.

Sloppy Jacques
Fry 1/2 pound of ground, grass-fed beef until brown. Drain if necessary (often with grass-fed beef it's not). Add salt and pepper once the meat has browned. Leave it in the pan.
While the beef is browning, scramble one egg and mix it into your leftover no-cook tomato sauce.
Once the beef has browned and you've added salt and pepper to it, pour in the no-cook tomato sauce and egg mixture. Mix well. Allow it to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, mixing intermittently.
Add salt and pepper just before you take it off the stove and mix well.
Serve over one (or between two) pieces of Pastor Sarina's Weekly Loaf.


  1. You have convinced me I have to join all my friend's CSA!!!!

  2. Geez, woman! You are on a serious roll. I am in awe of all this home-cooking you are doing. Seriously. I'm doing good to get hamburger helper on the table many nights. I love reading about your cooking adventures.