I have a confession to make. When I run out of novels to read or simply get tired of trying to find some new and interesting author, I visit the library and load up on…recipe books and cooking magazines. My first stop is always the new book section in the lower level (aka basement). There’s always a horde of folks pecking madly at the free computers and usually the carts are still full of finds.

You’d think with all of the books already in print, that there’d hardly be anything new, but that’s not the case. Even better is self checkout. Another confession – if I find a stash of really delicious book selections, I take out four or five instead of limiting myself to the normal three. Yes, my bad. I’m a ‘new book hog’. Why? Because when we’re in the family room in the evenings, watching our stock of daily PVR’d television shows, I can leaf through my stack of books at leisure and not feel guilty.

Here’s the thing though. I have guilty Internet site pleasures, too. This one – Karma Cucina– never fails to please, or stimulate my imagination. The tagline is Food Obsessed… Living and Loving in the Kitchen, which is my sentiment exactly. When I was in the fridge today, I noticed a half-empty package of sliced pancetta from Costco. It was starting to turn from

Ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese (annamatic3000)

bright red to brownish, so I knew I had to do something with it or else it would go into the compost pail. Along came a timely email from Alyssa, whose mouth-watering site features a recipe for Pancetta Home Fries. The weather is rainy and cold, and it’s time for comfort food here in the great wet North. So that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Why am I so taken with this young woman, aside from her culinary creativity and skills as a photographer? A few months ago, I used her recipe for Homemade Ricotta. Now, the story she told about her family and memories of ricotta were heart-warming. But they distracted me and I started thinking of my own family/kitchen memories. I got caught up in the emotion and by the time I started on the recipe, I neglected to use one important ingredient – whole milk. What I had on hand was 2% lactose free. Although the final product looked great, it just didn’t have the consistency and wow taste that it should have. So I recycled it.

I blogged about my disappointment and Alyssa wrote back immediately to let me know what had gone wrong. I was really impressed by her interest in me getting the proper results from a recipe. I bought some whole milk today and when the grandchildren are here for their weekend sleepover, we’re going to make ricotta. And search for more recipes that have fresh ricotta as an ingredient. They love tasty experiments.

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