Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Go Greek....Yogurt

Have you realized the benefits of Greek Yogurt?

This product is much more than just a dessert when we talk about its culinary properties. True, it may be delicious alone or with nuts, honey, sugar, fruit, cereals or jam, but we can also use it as an ingredient in cakes, pies, ice cream and desserts as all types of milk components.

We can also use it as an ingredient in many sauces: avocado, mushrooms, mint, tomato … used to flavor chicken, salads, ham, fish and shellfish, egg, raw vegetables … the limit is your imagination.

Just remember that Greek yogurt benefits your body in many ways, but mostly it just tastes great!

For those of you who are new to greek yogurt, here are some answers to some common questions:

What is Greek Yogurt?

It is basically a thick creamy and sour version of plain yogurt. Processed much like traditional yogurt with milk and yogurt cultures, but is subsequently strained via a cheesecloth to remove whey (liquid) to make it thicker.

What is so great about greek yogurt?

1) It tastes great when used correctly. Greek yogurt by itself is very sour and pungent. I think most people who say they do not like greek yogurt have simply just tried it plain. However when combined with other ingredients such as honey the sharp sour flavor is dulled and the creamy and smooth texture of the greek yogurt really comes to the forefront. So if you don't like it right off the bat, try some recipes before you swear off greek yogurt forever.

2) It is extremely versatile. Greek yogurt can be the main ingredient, made into a sauce/dip, a condiment, and as an exact replacement for sour cream. It can be enjoyed for breakfast lunch and dinner.

3) It is extremely healthy. Greek yogurt can be low in fat (depending on milkfat %), low in calories, and high in protein. It also contains live active cultures which are natural flora and are believed to help with the GI tract.

Common brands are FAGE, Oikos, Greek Gods, to name a few. Be aware that they come in different milkfat %, such as 0%, 2%, 5%, and whole. Here is what they look like.
We sell these and several other varieties at Harter House Supermarkets.

Here's a very favorite recipe of mine for a Tzatziki Sauce
-This classic sauce is used for souvlaki and gyros.

Tzatziki SauceIngedients
-1 cup Greek yogurt-1/2 lemon
-1/2 cucumber (peeled)  (I recommend an English cucumber)
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tbsp fresh mint chopped
-1 tbsp cumin

-Place greek yogurt in serving bowl
-Grate cucmber into bowl, I prefer to use a coarse grate for a thicker feel
-Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into bowl
-Add garlic, mint, cumin and mix together

-You can use more or less lemon, cumin, mint based on personal preference