Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maple Cinnamon Rigoatta (a.k.a. Goat Ricotta)

goat ricotta

My apologies for such a long blogging hiatus, but the last few months of my life have been blessed with numerous opportunities that have kept me busy as a bee (which you will hear more about over the course of my next few posts).  

Now, I know what you must be thinking… “She goes months without posting a single recipe and now she posts a recipe for CHEESE on a blog about Paleo/Primal food?”  I would argue that I’m not crazy, but the rest of this post probably doesn’t argue in my favor.  

One of the many adventures I’ve experienced over the last few months involves... milking goats.  Yep, that’s right.  I was fortunate enough to have met a wonderful couple who owns a small backyard farm in Phoenix.  As fairly recent goat owners, they had been looking for someone to help out as a “goat milking intern” of sorts who wanted to learn the ropes and take some of the work of the milking off their hands (no pun intended).  So, me being the animal/farm/food enthusiast that I am, I jumped at the chance to learn this dwindling practice.  Now, a couple days a week I head over to the farm and take care of the evening milking.

See?  I told you this post wouldn’t argue in my favor, because it even still sounds crazy to me.  Regardless, I always get a kick (again, no pun intended) out of people’s reactions when I tell them I milk goats.

In addition to the milking, I have been fortunate enough to learn some basic cheese-making skills.  Nothing too fancy like Cheddar or Gruy√®re–which take months of aging–but simpler cheeses like farmer’s cheese and ricotta (or rigoatta, as I like to call it) that are generally ready to eat as soon as they are made.  

rigoatta

This ricotta recipe is adapted from Ricki Carroll’s book Home Cheese Making, which uses the whey that is left over from the initial cheese making process.  I was given a bucket of whey the last time I went to milk, which I decided to turn into this delicious Maple Cinnamon Rigoatta, and another whey cheese called Gjetost, which is being made as we speak (post soon to follow).

Now, since I try to follow the Primal lifestyle and way of eating, you are probably wondering why I decided to write about my milking and cheese-making adventures, or why I even got involved in it in the first place.  Well, I have many qualms about the current food system and the very blind nature in which we eat our food.  Most people would eat pretty much anything that tastes good as long as they don’t know how it is made (and even at that, many people just don’t care anyway), and commercially produced milk is no exception.  I loved to drink milk as a kid, but I’d be hard pressed to buy milk from the grocery store nowadays, simply because I know a little about the not-so-appealing production process.  That being said, I am a big advocate of knowing your farmer and the people that produce your food.  Being able to see the way it is grown or made is the best way to ensure that you are getting food of the best quality and nutrition.  In short, it isn’t so much about WHAT you eat as WHERE it comes from or HOW it’s made.  

My apologies for the novel-length post, but it has been a while, and I’ve got a few months to make up for!


Maple Cinnamon Rigoatta (yield: ½ cup)

Ingredients:
  • ½ gallon of goat’s whey*
  • 2 Tablespoons cream (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg

Directions:
  1. Heat the whey in a non-reactive pot (stainless steel or nonstick are fine, just avoid aluminum) until foam appears just before boiling.  Take it off the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Strain it through a colander lined with cheese cloth and let it drain for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add the cream for a smoother texture, and stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

*You may need to do some research to find a source for whey, such as a local farmer or dairy, or you can use whole milk and follow similar guidelines, which will result in a bigger yield, as well.  As a third option, you can make a different whole-milk cheese and use the remaining whey from that process.


Have any of you had farm-related adventures similar to mine? Feel free to comment about your experience, this recipe, or anything else that suits your fancy!