Home Made Yoghurt

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon 2% milk (or whatever percentage you like) – the amount of milk is up to you and the size of the pot.
  • Starter yoghurt (4 – 8 oz) – your favorite brand

Necessary equipment:

  • Digital yoghurt thermometer
  • Double boiler (I use a pot inside a larger pot)
  • Electric heating pad
  • Bath towel
  • Whisk
  • Spoon

Directions:

  • double_boiler1Add milk in smaller pot
  • Put smaller pot in larger pot which has enough water so it doesn’t spill over into the smaller pot when you put it in.  I put a small spacer under the smaller pot.
  • Put larger pot (with smaller pot in it) on stove
  • Heat on high until thermometer in milk registers 185 degrees F You will need to stir this fairly frequently
  • thermo_185At this point I lower the heat so I can maintain the 185 temperature, and will keep it at 185 for an additional 30 minutes. I find that the more you do this, the more it contributes to the thickness of the final product (Note: if you plan to strain and make greek yoghurt [below], you do not need to do the additional 30 minutes)
  • Transfer smaller pot and thermometer to your sink (full of cold water)
  • cool_downStir regularly until temperature drops to 110 degrees
  • Remover pot from sink.
  • Add your starter yoghurt and whisk until it is completely blended
  • Cover pot with lid
  • On countertop lay out the bath towel (any reasonably large towel will do)
  • towel_padPlace heating pad on top of towel
  • Put pot on top of heating pad
  • Wrap the towel/heating pad so the towel completely surrounds the pot – avoid any gaps, etc.
  • Plug heating pad in. The heating pad I have has three settings – I have it at the middle setting.
  • Leave for 7 hours
  • Remove from towel/heating pad
  • pot_on_towelDrain off any water (whey) from the yoghurt – being careful not to pour off your yoghurt! (the whey can be saved for baking or other recipes if you wish)
  • Whisk until completely smooth
  • Pour off into containers (I use old 1 quart plastic yoghurt containers and/or 1 quart glass mason jars.
  • (If you added extra milk above – pour this into a small separate container for your next batches starter)
  • pot_wrappedRefrigerate yoghurt

Note: The extra heating time mentioned in the directions seems to contribute greatly to the thickness. Yoghurt creates lactic acid as a by-product, which gives the yoghurt a “tang”. The longer you leave it in the towel, the “tangier” the result. I’ve left it in the towel for longer periods of time, but 7 hours seems to work well.

I have seen directions where instead of heating pad/towel, you place the yogurt in open containers in a covered styrofoam picnic container with either a light bulb or jars of boiled water – the heating pad/towel works for me.  Note that you can ramp this up in volume – you’re only restricted by the size of your double boiler.

I usually sweeten the yoghurt with maple syrup in single servings when I eat it.

Greek Yoghurt

Yoghurt strainer
Yoghurt Strainer

Greek yoghurt is not a particular yoghurt culture – it’s yoghurt which is strained to make it thicker.  I have seen instructions which involve using fine cheesecloth to strain the yoghurt – but have found that that’s messy, and leaves a lot of yoghurt left embedded in the cheesecloth.  I found a yoghurt strainer – runs about $19 dollars at Amazon.  You put two quarts of yoghurt into the strainer at a time – I allow it to strain overnight.  Then using a soft rubber spatula you remove the yoghurt into your containers.  You can allow it to strain longer – resulting in a very thick consistency – good for spreads/dips.

Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 Tsp Finely minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (white or red
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 3 leaves (1 1/2 Tbsp finely minced fresh sweet basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  • Mix well everything but olive oil
  • While stirring constantly, add olive oil

Note: You can use either white or red balsamic vinegar. The white tends to be a little less “robust” than the red. The proportions can be varied to taste.

Hot & Sour Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tblsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb chicken or pork, cut into matchsticks (optional)
  • 4 – 8 cups water
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • 1 oz Cloud ears (also known as wood ear or tree ear – chinese fungus) soaked in warm water 1/2 hour in advance
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (button, crimini, oyster – your choice)
  • 1 bunch scallions – base cut into thin rounds, tops cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Lb firm tofu cut into 1/2″ X 2″ sticks
  • 2 Tblsp corn starch dissolved in 2 Tblsp water
  • 1/4 cup tamari / soy sauce
  • 2 Tblsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup minced peeled broccoli stalks (optional)
  • 2 eggs beaten

Directions:

  • Saute minced garlic in small amount of cooking oil (peanut or canola oil) till just beginning to brown
  • Add chicken or pork matchsticks and saute until cooked(optional)
  • Add water and bouillon (this may be heated and mixed in advance)
  • Add tamari/soy
  • Add broccoli (optional)
  • Bring to boil
  • While stirring, slowly add corn starch mixture
  • Allow to thicken
  • Add cloud ears, mushrooms, tofu
  • Bring back to light boil
  • Add frozen peas
  • Bring to boil, and while stirring, add egg
  • Immediately before serving, add vinegar, toasted sesame oil, white pepper and scallions

Note: You can vary the amounts of any ingredient according to taste; be sure to add enough bouillon to make a reasonably strong stock. If serving leftovers, add a small amount of white vinegar immediately before serving. White pepper is what gives it the “hot” of hot and sour – you can vary this based on how hot you want it. I would not recommend substituting black pepper for the white.

Artisan Bread

Ingredients: 3 cups lukewarm water 1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets) 1 1/2 tbsp kosher or other salt 6 1/2 cups unbleached flour This is enough for 4 1 lb loaves – you can easily modify amount

Directions:

  • Add yeast & salt to water in large container w/lid
  • Mix flour all at once – mix until uniform – don’t knead
  • Cover with lid
  • Let rise for 2 hours
  • At this point you can refridgerate the dough until you’re ready to bake, at which point:
  • Scoop out enough for a loaf, and shape/stretch the dough into a round loaf – you may need a little flour on your hands to prevent it from sticking – just keep tucking the dough ball towards the bottom until you have a nice, round ball – the bottom may have a number of “overlaps” – don’t worry. Return remaining dough to refridgerator.
  • Place ball on pizza peel which has been sprinkled with corn meal. Allow it to rest for 40 minutes.
  • You may sprinkle flour on the top of the ball, and lightly score the top in whatever pattern floats your boat
  • Pre-heat oven to 450 with a baking stone on middle rack and empty broiler pan on lower rack
  • After dough has rested 40 minutes, slide off pizza peel onto baking stone. Quickly add 1 cup hot water to bottom broiler pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove bread from oven and allow to cool before serving.

Note: Be careful not to spill water on stone when adding to broiler pan – it can [from experience] break the stone. You can vary the recipe by substituting some of the unbleached white flour with rye flour, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, etc. Subsequent loaves (made from refridgerated dough) will be a little “denser” the the first loaf, but is quick and easy to make.

Source: Artesan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (I would recommend getting this book – it has a number of recipes for a variety of breads. All fast and easy)

Mexican Chicken/Lime soup

Nathan gave us this recipe – I don’t know it’s source. Ingredients 3 medium onions, diced 1 package cherry tomatoes, halved 2 chicken breasts or equivalent in thighs 2-3 cups chicken bouillon 1 can black beans 1 can (or equivalent frozen) corn fresh cilantro 1 lime, halved (1 half quartered) chili powder sour cream tortilla chips Directions

  • Cook chicken in oil and garlic. When chicken is just done, remove from heat and shred with forks (this can be done in advance)
  • Saute onions until transparent
  • Add chili powder to taste
  • Add shredded chicken, corn, beans and bouillon
  • Chop fresh cilantro, reserve sprigs and stalks. Tie stocks together and add to pot
  • Squeeze one half lime; add rind to pot
  • Add cherry tomatoes
  • Add fresh chopped cilantro

Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream, tortilla chils, and fresh chopped cilantro

Roasted Beet Salad with Pears, Hazlenuts and Goat Cheese

  • 2 large red beets, roasted (below)
  • 1 ripe pear, cored, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazlenuts
  • 2 tbsp balzamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 4 oz goat cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Arrange beets and pears on four serving plates. Drizzle with dressing. Scatter cheese and nuts over, and season with more pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Roasted Beets

Set oven to 425 degrees. Rub beets with olive oil, wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet; and bake about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool, then remove foil and remove skins.

Mushroom Crostini

Ingredients: 3 tblsp butter 1/2 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, chopped 4 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup blue cheese 1/2 cup prosciutto, chopped 18 baguette slices parsley, chopped

Directions:

  • Melt butter, add garlic & mushrooms, saute 10 minutes
  • Add cream & boil 2 minutes until liquid absorbed
  • Add blue cheese & mix in prosciutto
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Pre-heat oven 3750
  • Place generous tblsp on each baguette slice
  • Bake 6 minutes
  • Sprinkle with parsley & serve

Source: Anne Starr

Seared Scallops with Spinach, Bacon and Cider Vinaigrette

scallops and spinach

Ingredients:
1 cup apple cider
2 tsp sugar
4 slices bacon
1/4 cup shallots chopped
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 (6oz) package fresh baby spinach
Salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp red pepper
2 tsp olive oil
20 sea scallops
Directions:
  • Simmer cider and sugar until reduced to 1/4 cup
  • Cook bacon until crisp – remove, drain and crumble
  • Pour off all but spoonful bacon fat
  • Saute shallots in fat 1 minute
  • Stir in cider mixture and cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper
  • Mix spinach, bacon, apple, onion in large bowl
  • Heat oil in non-stick pan
  • Sprinkle curry and red pepper to cover scallops
  • Saute scallops until done – around 3 minutes per side
  • Drizzle cider mixture over spinach, toss and server on individual plates
  • Top spinach with scallops on each plate
Note: You can substitute vidalia onions for red onions, and paprika for red pepper; I served this with brown rice
Serves 4
Source: Cooking Light; March 2008

Steamed Dumplings

This recipe came from the Lokens – the kids have always loved it.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp tamari (light soy)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2+ green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients except wrappers
  • Place fat tbsp mixture in middle of wonton wrapper
  • Pinch corners of wrapper together to form dumpling (or use dumpling press)
  • Steam in steamer for 15 – 20 minutes

Serves 4 – 6

Notes:

  • I use a bamboo steamer – it helps to spray oil on steamer rack(s) to prevent sticking
  • It helps to have a small dish of cornstarch and water, with which you paint the edges of the wonton wrapper prior to assembly
  • You can use a ravioli press to make the dumplings
  • I serve with several dipping sauces: – a mixture of hoisin sauce, sesame oil, a little vinegar; – soy sauce, minced garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil – duck sauce
  • We often serve this with sweet + sour red cabbage and sesame noodles

Chinese Noodles

Another recipe from the Lokens:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta – I’ve used both rice noodles, vermicelli, etc
  • 3 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot chili oil (optional)
  • 5 – 6 scallions, minced

Directions:

Cook pasta per instructions until al dente

Mix ingredients above

Serves 4 – 6 as side dish