Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And to Go with Barb's Granola Gold? Homemade Greek Yogurt

In the vein of homemade is best-made, I decided to give Greek yogurt a shot--I wanted it to go with my homemade granola. Recipes abound on the internet, and no you do not need a yogurt maker (just another gadget). It is hands--off prep (almost)--but I did set a timer to remind me when the 7 hours of magic were up, or I probably would have gone to sleep and forgotten about the yogurt, which was busy fermenting in the oven.

You need:
Large cooking pot
Food thermometer
2 tablespoons prepared Greek yogurt with active cultures

Glass bowl or crock with lid (lots of people use slow-cooker crock)
cooling rack
cheesecloth (or, if you are like me, good paper towel instead)
Large bowl
Make sure all containers, pots, utensils are super clean

Yogurt with the marks of the cheesecloth (paper towel!) left on it
Homemade Greek Yogurt

1/2 gallon milk (buy good milk--use skim, 2% or whole--I used 2%)
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1. Pour milk into cooking pot and place over medium heat. Measure 2 tablespoons of the milk into a small bowl. Mix those 2 tablespoons milk with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt. Set aside.
2. Let milk come to 180°F (use candy thermometer or instant read), stirring often as temperature rises to keep milk from sticking to pot.
3. When milk reaches 180°F, pour into glass container and set container on cooling rack. Let temperature fall to 110°F.
4. Turn oven on to 150°F or Warm setting.
5. Stir up the reserved milk/yogurt mixture and add to milk in glass container. Stir to combine well.
6. Place lid on container (I used a bowl and covered the bowl with a plate). Wrap container in large dishtowel (use 2 if you have to--you want to have it completely covered, top and bottom) and place wrapped container into 150° oven. Turn oven OFF and turn oven light ON. Make sure it stays on until you remove yogurt from oven.
7. Set timer for 7 hours. At the seven hour mark, remove container, unwrap. You will have regular yogurt at this point. Place container in fridge for at least 1 hour to cool.
8. Place cheesecloth-lined strainer over large bowl. Gently scrape/pour yogurt into lined strainer. Return this to fridge and let sit about1 to 2 hours. Check yogurt after 1 hour--you can decide how thickened you want the yogurt (mine sat 2 hours in the strainer)...To store, place in sealed container and store up to 1 week. (After straining, I had about 5 cups yogurt)...

Note--I think I can make a second batch using 2 tablespoons of THIS batch--will update here when I've checked that out. My goal is to not buy ANY Greek yogurt any longer, not even as starter.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orangette...Oh. My.

I thought I'd catch up on some reading this afternoon, so I pulled up Orangette (a.k.a. Molly Wizenberg, author of one of my FAVES, A Homemade Life)...and fell headlong into losing the afternoon. I read her links. Read the recipes. Oohed and aahed over the photos.

Felt a twinge of jealousy--she's got Orangette AND she's writing for Food 52...Can I be you, Molly?

And realized maybe if I worked more at making wonderful things (as opposed to losing my afternoon reading about wonderful things!), maybe I'd have have a shot.

Or not...she's good. She's really, really good.

Go. Read. Lose an afternoon to her. You can thank me later.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Barb's Granola Gold...

I am going to package this stuff and sell it--Barb's Granola Gold. It is that good. No, really. But you don't have to buy the expensive stuff I'll be selling at the next farmers' market. You can make the recipe I give you here.

Credit for even getting me to try this goes to my friend, Sandra, who posted a version of this in a writers' forum. The part of the forum where we talk about everything BUT writing. Her words (I paraphrase)--most of the ingredients are already in the house, you mix it up in one bowl, no stove top work, then bake.

And done.

Me being me and me not having all of the ingredients Sandra listed led to my own twists...Worth it.
Ps. Great minds think alike. My buddy Robin Garr posted about fruit and yogurt, which are only enhanced with a sprinkling of granola, of course, on his blog, Eat. Feed. Love. Live.--homemade yogurt coming here on Wednesday.)

Barb's Granola Gold

2 tablespoons molasses (unsulphured)
1/4 cup golden syrup (British product, pretty easy to find) OR honey
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt (use something more coarse than table salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
5 cups oats (old-fashioned oats, not quick cooking and not steel cut)
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups golden raisins

1. Heat oven to 325F. In a very large bowl, whisk together the molasses, syrup or honey, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, oil and melted butter. Stir in the oats, almonds and raisins and mix to coat all ingredients well.
2. Spread mixture into rimmed baking pan, pressing it into 1 shallow layer. Bake 20 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 20 minutes until mix is starting to turn golden brown. Cool completely. Break into bits and store in airtight container. Makes about 8 cups cereal.

I am eating more yogurt than ever as an excuse to sprinkle a tablespoon of this over the yogurt every time I eat it--because truth be told, I could eat a cup of this at a time...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paleo Anyone?

Eating Paleo? It's in. Since it's my job to know about these things, here are the basics--The intent is to eat the way our ancestors may have eaten in the Paleolithic time--hunting and gathering, that's what they did then. And they hunted and gathered meat, fruits and veg--there was no farming, so grains don't make the cut. No salt, no refined sugar, some honey, perhaps.

That said, I decided to test this recipe. Gotta say, I pretty much loved it. Chuck roast, lots of onions, root vegetables (I used golden beets as called for and rutabaga. Believe it of not, I am allergic to celeriac/celery root. I know. I'm exotic that way. Trust me, it's a well-known food allergy in Europe. Thank my Italian ancestors. I digress...), red wine (okay, so they didn't farm, but they knew how to let grape juice ferment, right?? I'm in.).

The only twist I made to this recipe is that I seared the meat first. I'm a big fan of really getting a good brown on the meat, because then when I deglaze with that red wine, I get an incredible rich flavor from all that good stuff on the bottom of the pan (culinary vocab lesson: fond. That's what the good brown stuff is. Fond. You will need to know this if you are watching Top Chef Masters. Okay, joking. You'll need to know that if you are IN Top Chef Masters. I'm not. I still like knowing it....ARGH. I digress AGAIN.)

Bottom line? Awesome stew and easy and satisfying--because of the beets and the rutabaga (a.k.a swede, a.k.a. yellow turnip), I didn't even come close to missing potatoes in this. I browned the meat and the onions, with the garlic going in just a minute or so before adding the wine to deglaze, then adding all the rest of the veg...cover it and pop it into a 300F oven for a few hours. Awesome--do NOT miss out on the orange peel, which really adds a lovely note to the dish. I walked back into the house a few hours later and I could still catch the lingering scent of that orange/savory goodness. What a treat.

As with any stew, I can only imagine this will be even better a day later. Guess what's on my menu for lunch?