Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ricotta

Ricotta is not a cheese that I particularly like. The kind you buy in the grocery store here is expensive, grainy, and it tastes like saw dust. I only buy it when a recipe absolutely calls for it. This week I stumbled across a recipe in the Costco magazine for making your own ricotta. I played around with the recipe and made a few changes. I think it turned out great. It has a subtle, creamy flavor and is even better when you add your own herbs (chives, dill, garlic, etc.) and use it as a spread.

I managed to make a small batch between gardening and chores today. It only takes a half hour of your time and the result is like nothing you've ever tasted before. Here it is.

4 cups whole milk (I used 2% milk)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt (use a good quality fleur du sel or a Mediterranean salt)
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

  1. Put the milk, cream, and salt in a stainless steel pot (or an enameled pot) and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar.
  3. Let the mixture stand for a minute.
  4. Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined sieve that's been placed over a bowl. I prefer to use a fine mesh bag that is typically used for straining jelly. It's the perfect size and you can tie the top closed.
  5. Let the mixture drain for about a half hour until you achieve the desired thickness.
  6. Taste it. Am I right? Add your favorite herbs and use it as a spread or use it in a recipe.

3 comments:

  1. Quite interesting!! Didn't know you could make your own ricotta cheese. Next time you make some, can I have a taste??

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  2. Thanks!! I sure would love to try it. Ricotta from the store is not my fav. either, but you get it because there is no other choice.
    Thanks again!!

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