Saturday, July 7, 2012

yogurt cheese (not ewww, delicious!)

Yogurt cheese. It sounds kinda gross, but let me sing it's praises! Soft, tangy and spreadable, it can be made in the fridge overnight.  If you buy a large tub of plain, organic yogurt (Saugeen County Yogurt, for example), you can have a vast amount of yogurt cheese, for a fraction of the price of marscapone or cream cheese. You can add any number of flavours, via herbs, zests and spices. Yogurt cheese is also known as strained yogurt, and it's big in Europe. It's the main ingredient in tzaziki, the creamy cucumber and yogurt condiment from the Middle East.

Here's a recipe, plus two examples of yogurt cheese hard at work.

yogurt cheese
2 cups whole milk, plain yogurt (usually 3% to 6% milk fat, or M.F.)
cheesecloth or 2 large coffee filters
fine mesh strainer
deep pot

Line the strainer with the cheese cloth or coffee filters. Place over a pot (I use my rice cooker pot - it's nice and deep). There has the be space between the bottom of the strainer and the bottom of the pot, this is where the liquid will collect. Put the yogurt in the strainer, and set the whole thing in the fridge. Leave it for 12 to 24 hours. Discard the whey (the liquid in the bottom), or feed it to your cats (they'll love it!). Keep the yogurt cheese in the fridge for a few weeks (the same shelf life as the original yogurt).

lemon and herb yogurt cheese spread
1 cup yogurt cheese
handful of fresh herbs (I used a mix of chives, oregano, basil and mint)
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and stir. Spread on toast, crostini, or serve on top of sautéed or steamed veggies. (Seen here in a tomato sandwich, and on top of a spring greens stir-fry of green garlic, green onions, asparagus and snow peas.)

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