In a single weekend I’ve eaten copious amounts of dill as well as brie rind–two things I previously disliked. The dill flecked the smoked salmon dip with bright green, so I knew what was coming. Shockingly, I didn’t mind the flavor. Normally I’m haunted with memories of my Grandmother Bunny’s peas sprinkled with dill and can’t even smell it without making a face.
Brie, on the other hand, is one of my favorite cheeses when it’s top quality; however, I’ve never cared for the rind, finding it offensive in flavor. Once while at a family beach house on Lake Erie, my aunt scolded me for eating the soft center and leaving the rind behind during a potluck. I was seven.
This week I bought a round of goat brie, which had the creamiest middle encased in a subtle outer shell. The co-op cashier told me she also loves this brie, and we shared a moment when I told her I liked it for its unoffensive rind. She agreed. So I ate the rind, with pleasure.
I feel like overcoming these food aversions is like a right of passage into the adult world, as if eating both the center and the rind is my coming of age symbol. This is fitting considering my 22nd birthday is tomorrow. Similarly, this will be the first year I don’t want birthday cake. Instead, I want cookies and ice cream, which is mildly horrifying because that’s my dad’s birthday dessert of choice.
In the spirit of new things, here is a recipe for homemade ricotta, a cooking task I’ve fallen in love with.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups/Adapted from Ina Garten
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Set a large sieve or mesh strainer over a large bowl and line it with a damp cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and cream into a stainless steel or enamel pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for a couple minutes, allowing the mixture to curdle. It will separate into the curds and the whey (the liquid).
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow the mixture to drain at room temperature for 15-25 minutes depending on how thick you like your ricotta. I like it a little less thick so it’s spreadable. Once drained, move the curds into a separate bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to four days.
*Whey: When I make ricotta I end up with about a quart of leftover whey. I don’t like wasting it, so I marinate meat with it. The enzymes in the whey tenderize meat. You could also add it to a smoothie instead of milk. Whey is rich in protein.