Basics: Yogurt

virginia 904

Growing up I was teased (ever so gently mind you) by my sisters for being basic. I liked my food straightforward and simple. I didn’t like mixing flavors or ingredients. It wasn’t that I was picky about the items, I just did not want them melding together.

As I have grown older, I don’t mind the mixing (most definitely prefer it now), but some things still seem best left plain, simple, just as they are. One thing. Yogurt. I love plain yogurt. Now, don’t mistake me here. That doesn’t mean I don’t put all sorts of fruits, seeds, and nuts in it, because I do. But, I like to start with plain simple yogurt.

virginia 899

Plain Yogurt

makes 4 cups, takes roughly 13 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups good, local whole milk (I love to use Cruze Dairy Farm…makes it super rich and creamy…and the best part, gets a layer of cream on the top if you are lucky)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt with active live bacteria (try not to use skim…whole or at least 2%)

Supplies:

  • thermometer
  • pot with lid
  • towel
  • whisk
  • mason jars or containers for the yogurt
  • large covered casserole or Styrofoam container with lid (something water proof and heat safe)

Begin by heating your milk gently in a pot to 150 degrees.

While the milk begins to heat, I sterilize the jars for the yogurt.  Typically I use four 8 oz mason jars.  There is something so French about using glass for one’s yogurt.  Maybe because we have a collection of glass jars from the summer in France.  We ate yogurt just so we could have the jars.  Total side note.  Back to sterilizing glass.  Boil water and carefully pour the water into the jars and let sit while you finish making the yogurt.  One note.  I have never had the glass crack on me.  But add the water with care.  You can run hot tap water over the jars first, or heat the water, but not let it boil.

Back to the milk and the stove.  Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid and a towel to keep nice and warm.  Hold for 30 minutes.  Remove the towel and lid and let cool down to 115-118 degrees.  Make sure the milk has lowered to under 120 degrees before adding the yogurt or you will kill the live bacteria.  Add the yogurt, stir and pour into sterilized jars (emptying the water prior).

Now, this is the key part.  The water bath.  Compliments of Dawn Raburn.  Whenever I have a question of life and health and homemaking, she is my go to resource (after my own mother of course).  She has seen and done it all and seems always ready with an answer.  So, carefully and gently put your glass jars, lids tightly secured, into your container and pour the hottest tap water possible or a mixture of tap water and a little boiled water around the jars, filling with water until just under the rims of the jars.  Now cover and let sit.  I usually put my yogurt in our oven.  Just someplace it won’t be disturbed and that is warm, away from any drafts.

You wait.  For 12 hours.  You can wait less.  8 hours if you like.  But I recommend 12.  Honestly, I forgot the yogurt one night and left it an additional 6.  I don’t recommend that.  It was okay.  Nothing bad happened.  I didn’t get sick and it tasted slightly more sour.  But still held the same smooth creamy consistency.  So, back to the yogurt at hand.  Remove from the water bath and put in the fridge.  That’s it.  You’re done.  Now, enjoy.  Eat and be glad.

 

 

 

Simple Summer Salad

If nothing else, I love how traveling changes you. How inevitabley you are changed. How you cannot approach life in the same way. Even if in small measures. I went to Austin.  Again.  The second time in the span of a year.  I would never have thought I would return so quickly.  But now that I have, I feel as though it must become a yearly pilgrimage.  There is so much still to explore.  To see.  To taste.  Especially to taste.  Traveling with family who enjoy food as much as I do means days spent finding the best coffee shops and restaurants. Our latest sojourn in Texas was full of emotion.  Constant overwhelming excitement.  One discovery after another of the most delightful places. I could barely stand it.  How can you not almost die over breakfasts of sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs with herb salad, sriracha, and hoisin.  It was one of the best breakfasts. So perfect. So delicious. Truly a delight. Upon returning home, I couldn’t get over the herb salad. A light combination of herbs. Tarragon, cilantro, mint, basil…I am sure there were others.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

My mother, later that week after I had returned home, made salads as part of dinner. This recipe is totally based upon the delight she threw together. Not at all my own, but forever the way I will eat and make salads.  Use what is in the garden, at the market.  What you have on hand.  Mix according to taste.  Be adventurous and try something new.


Simple Summer Salad:
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Serves 4

Salad:

  • 6 cups salad greens, a mix including spicy arugula, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup herbs, equal mix of dill, cilantro, oregano, and mint (but throw in basil and or tarragon should you like), rinsed, stems removed
  • small bunch of radishes, washed and thinly sliced
  • freshly shaved parmesan cheese, roughly 1/2 cup or according to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Nothing simpler than throwing a bunch of lettuce and herbs in a bowl and tossing to combine.  Add radishes, cheese, pine nuts.  Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Use according to taste.

*Salad bowl available at 1307 in downtown Chattanooga

How I Like it…Yogurt

Yogurt.  My preference and taste for yogurt is always changing; falling in love with complete abandonment, yet never constant.  One moment, the simplicity, the straight forward flavor, the thickness of plain greek yogurt.  The next, rich, creamy, fruit flavored yogurt such as Noosa Yoghurt is my temptation. And then at other times, the layer of cream left in my mouth from Dreaming Cow seems the only choice.  For me, eating yogurt is not necessarily a healthy thing.  It is delight.  And honestly, it is convenience, it is ease.

I shared awhile ago on one of my other instagram feeds (@davamarket) my new favorite way to eat yogurt.  It is by no means a healthy snack or breakfast.  It is straight up rich and delicious and should probably be classified as a dessert.

10254355_565681343551274_697770173_n

Plain yogurt (preferably not greek as it is a bit too sour a combination) with lemon curd and toasted coconut.  Oh my gosh.  Really, this is a must try combination.  I had started making lemon curd as a filling for macarons and tended to always have a bit left over.  My sister was the first to think to add it to yogurt.  The addition of toasted unsweetened coconut is perfection.  Seriously.