Ricotta Cheese

From the book The Zero-waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst.

½ gallon whole milk
2 cups buttermilk

Combine the milks in a bit pot over medium high heat.  Stirring regularly, and using a candy thermometer to monitor temperature, bring to 100° F.  Stop stirring at 100°, and let cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid reaches 175°.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, stretch two layers of cheesecloth over a colander in the sink.  Moisten the cloth with water until damp but not sopping wet.

At this point, the hot mixture will have separated into curds and whey.  Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon the curds into the cheesecloth and let drain for 5 minutes; discard the remaining liquid.

Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together to form a pouch holding the cheese.  Use a rubber band to securely close the pouch.  Hang by looping the band over the kitchen faucet and let drain for another half hour.

Store the cheese in a container in the fridge and use within 5 days.

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Lip Balm

This is Kay’s recipe for simple lip balm, to be placed in either tubes or pots.  Source for containers and supplies is http://www.glorybee.com. Kay said that the beeswax is the hardener, so it’s important to use enough of that item.

½ oz beeswax, shredded
1 oz cocoa butter
1 oz castor oil
1 oz almond oil
4 drops oil – clove, orange, etc.

Melt all ingredients except the oil over low heat.  When melted and thoroughly blended, stir in the oil; pour into pots or tubes.  This recipe should make enough for 10 small pots.

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Saucepan Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt for boiling pasta, plus ½ tsp. for seasoning
1 lb. dried macaroni elbows, shells, or penne
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour or cornstarch
3 c. milk
⅛ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. prepared Coleman’s mustard
8 oz. cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp. Parmesan-Reggiano, freshly grated
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta to al dente, and drain in a colander; set aside.

Melt butter in the pasta pot over low heat; add the flour or cornstarch and whisk for one minute, until the mixture bubbles.   Raise the temperature to medium and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to blend.  Add the nutmeg and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.  Turn the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for about 10 minutes; the sauce should thicken.

Remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaf.  Stir in the mustard, then add the drained pasta and grated cheeses.  Return to very low heat and stir to melt the cheese.  Season as needed with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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Roast Tomato Soup

12 large tomatoes, halved
1 head garlic, whole and unpeeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
3 c. chicken stock
2-3 tsp. sugar or equivalent in sugar substitute

Preheat the oven to 180º.  Place the tomatoes and garlic on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 40 minutes or until very soft; allow to cool slightly.  Squeeze the garlic from the skin and process in a blender with the tomatoes until smooth.  Cook the tomato mixture, stock and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot.

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Microwaved Fish and Asparagus with Tarragon Mustard Sauce

10 asparagus spears
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
¼ tsp. dried tarragon
½ tsp. Dijon or other spicy mustard
12 oz. fish fillets – whiting, tilapia, sole, or any other mild white fish

Snap the asparagus spears; place in a large glass dish, add 1 tbsp. water and cover; microwave on high for 3 minutes.

While the asparagus is microwaving, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, and mustard.

Remove the asparagus from the microwave; lift from the dish and set aside.  Place the fish in the dish and spread 2 tbsp. of the sour cream mixture over them.  Cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.  Arrange the asparagus on top of the fish and microwave, covered, for another 1-2 minutes on high.

Place the fish and asparagus on serving plates; top with the reserved sauce and serve.

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Slow-baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes, well scrubbed but not dried

Prick potatoes with a fork and wrap them individually in aluminum foil.  Place the wrapped potatoes in a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until soft.

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Chicken Seasoning

3 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. black pepper

Combine ingredients thoroughly, and store in a shaker.  Sprinkle over chicken before roasting, and use at the table for seasoning.

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