Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yogurt and other fun stuff!

I love yogurt...not that flavored stuff that they carry at WalMart in the 20 whillion artificial flavors but the good old fashioned plain cultured yogurt.  Thats the big difference between what I like and the other...culture.  The Yoplait, Dannon, Walmart brand etc have very little if any culture and it is sweetened and thickened using gelatin or other agents.   I love Greek Gods plain yogurt.  It has a little tangier taste then most yogurts but it is so thick and yummy I could eat it by the gallons.

I haven't tried any of the flavored versions but I hear that they are really yummy also.  I tried the lower fat version but I really like the full fat version best.  Only problem with this yogurt is the price!  I guess making a full fat, cultured (they say 5 different ones), probiotic healthy yogurt is expensive but almost $5 for a 24 oz container is a bit steep if you ask me.

I used to make all my yogurt back in the hippie days but we would buy live culture from the healthfood store to make it with....That is expensive now days.  I made most of my bread too...another story.  Anyway I got on line and started reading articles about making yogurt and I got so confused that I decided to make it easy on myself and do it the way I used to but borrowing the culture from the Greek Gods yogurt.   It worked...sort of!  I was so pleased with my experiment even if it came out a little thin it tasted and had the tongue appeal of the store bought stuff!  There is so much you can do with a good yogurt.  Here is what I did!

Homemade Yogurt (the easy way!)

1 quart of milk, fat, no fat, minimum fat whatever you like
1/4 c yogurt
2 Tbl dry milk

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Make sure all your utensils are sterile clean so your culture stays pure.
  1. Pour milk in jar and heat to just below boiling...allow to cool to 110 degrees before adding the culture.
  2. Put dry milk in stir well.  
  3. Now temper the yogurt to the milk by adding some of the 110 degree milk to it in a bowl and mixing well.  Pour all back into the jar and shake, shake, shake.  
  4. Turn off the oven.  Wrap the jar in a towel and put in the oven.
  5. Leave in the oven for 4-5 hours for the cultures to grow.  The longer it is in there the better it is but make sure the oven stays at about 100-110 degrees the whole time.  I have a warmer drawer on the bottom of my stove that I use to incubate my yogurt.
I ate it with fruit for breakfast! Doesn't that look yummy with the strawberries cut up in it.  I think I will use it in smoothies too until this batch is gone because it is a drinkable yogurt. 
Another use was making a tsatsiki (tzatziki) sauce to use with some left over gyro meat that Chuck brought me home for supper the other night.  We go to a place here in Norman called the Greek House that has a child's plate for $6.50 that has so much food on it I usually have 2-3 meals out of the meat.  OMG! such good food!  Anyway carrying on here...tsatsiki sauce is a creamy dressing made using yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, onion, oil, and vinegar.   I have found that you can't go wrong with these ingredients however you mix them up just don't leave the oil, vinegar, or yogurt out.  My recipe is simple:

Vickie's Tsatsiki Sauce
makes about 2 cups
1 1/2 cups yogurt or sour cream
2 baby cucumbers (about 5-6 ounces)
onion chopped
garlic to taste
2 tbl lemon juice or 1/2 lemon squeezed dry (you can use vinegar too!)
2 tbl oil
salt and pepper to taste

I throw all the above into the food grinder (Cuisinart) and mix it all together for a few seconds.  If you like chunkier veggies then chop them fine and then mix in yogurt.  Its good how ever you to it.  I like it mixed in with fresh veggies as a salad dressing and in the summer on a Greek salad...oh my! 

The white stuff in this picture is the tsatsiki sauce/dressing.  There is a secret here too...the chicken is covered with it and baked....I know it took me a few minutes to get my head wrapped around cooked cucumbers but this turned out so yummy I will be making it again!  Want the recipe?  Okay here it is!

Chicken made with Tsatsiki sauce

Chicken, cut up or boneless/skinless pieces
1 recipe of Tsasiki sauce from above
Curry Powder
salt and pepper to taste

sprinkle chicken with curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste.  Drop in a bag and then cover with the tsatsiki sauce.   If you want a little tangier sauce add the other half of lemon left over from above recipe!  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight or as long as you can let it sit...longer the better.  I baked this in in 350 deg oven for 45 minutes but the next time I am going to put it on the grill outside and see how it turns out.  It has a taste quite similar to a tandoori chicken, not as spicy, and I just wanted to keep eating it. 

Hope you give the healthy living recipes a try.  I really enjoyed them myself.  Stay tuned for more about the yogurt because I read on line I could make the yogurt using almond milk so I will be giving that a try and posting my results here.

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