I am in the fortunate situation to have lots of milk laying around in my fridge. Way too much to drink. I used to cope with this by making yogurt, but that usually meant pulling out the machine, procuring either a storebought yogurt or some live cultures, and waiting. I usually ended up with more yogurt than I could eat. Then we were back to wasteful square one.
Then walked in this lovely ricotta* revelation. Easy to make at home with ingredients on hand. AND-this is key- worth making even if you must purchase a half-gallon of milk. The possibilities are endless with delicious homemade cheese. Of course, that's only if you can stop yourself from spooning it all straight up. Since a half-gallon only yields 1 1/2 cups, you might seriously consider doubling the recipe if you have plans to actually use this amazing cheese for something other than instant gratification.
8 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
Line a colander with four layers of cheesecloth. Bring milk and salt to simmer over med. high heat. Stir in lemon juice and let simmer until curds form, 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer curds from pan to cloth. Let drain only one minute. Transfer curds to bowl and cover and chill until cold, about three hours.
You can make this up to two days ahead. Yield is 1 1/2 cups of ricotta.
*bon appetit 2009