Say “Cheese” Please!

2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5192On Monday, February 10, 2014 the Seed-to-Mouth afterschool cooking class at Hayward Rec Center on Laguna Street in San Francisco made Ricotta Cheese. The youth began by de-stemming oregano and rosemary and chopping the herbs finely. They also washed and separated romaine lettuce. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5064Then they watched as Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows garden educator and cooking instructor, brought the pot of warm milk (heated to 200 degrees) to the table and added lemon juice and salt.

2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5135While the milk sat for ten minutes, student Nia Stith, read from the book, What Food is This? by Rosmarie Hausherr. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5099This book was a clever and informative collection of riddles about food which offers not only plenty of fun but also interesting facts about where foods come from, how they grow, nutrition, the food groups and the food pyramid, and tips on healthy eating. For instance, “What food comes from grass that an animal has eaten?” That would be milk, which can be made into fresh butter, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream! Today it was ricotta cheese.
After the story, Adrian poured the milk through cheese-cloth into a strainer and carefully squeezed it dry. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5168One batch was infused with the herbs and one was left plain. The kids then made sandwiches with hearty harvest bread and lettuce leaves. 2.10.14-Cooking-Cheese_IMG_5214It was wonderful to share the process of making cheese with everyone. A great scientific experiment!
Here is the recipe:

Ricotta Cheese