Thursday, February 4, 2016

Homemade Yogurt (no machine needed)

A friend gave me this recipe for yogurt -- a process she used regularly in her house. She argued that this recipe was foolproof. When I have followed her instructions, it has worked every time. I have tried other homemade yogurt recipes that have not set up / solidified. The differences have not been in ingredients, as much as technique for keeping the yogurt consistently warm over a long period of time. I find my friend's method to be foolproof.

You could always add yogurt starter, if you wanted to guarantee results.

1 1/2 gallons whole milk
1 c yogurt, with active culture

Boil milk. Use low flame so you don't burn the pan. Boil for 2-3 hours.

Cool to baby bottle temperature.

Add 1 c yogurt. Mix.

Put in glass jars with lids or plastic jars with lids. (In this picture, I've just nestled the jars in a cooler filled with warm water, to keep the temperature consistent as I filled the remaining jars.)

Put whole thing in gas oven which has been preheated to 300 and then shut off. Leave for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, take lids off and put jars in fridge.

When they are cool, put lids back on.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups

The spaghetti squash had been sitting on the counter for a few days, mocking me. I knew I wanted to cook it, but I just didn't have the oomph. Googling around for new ways to use the squash got me inspired to put this dish together one morning.

This is a protein-packed breakfast that yielded easy re-heatable leftovers for future breakfasts.

Warning - proportions were a little disparate, as this was not the easiest dish to combine evenly. I'm thinking that, next time, I might bake the dish as a casserole, in an 8x8" pan.

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups
Based on a recipe from My Heart Beets

1 spaghetti squash, cooked (4 c strands)
4 eggs, whisked
1 bunch asparagus

To cook squash, preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seads and add a little oil, salt and pepper to the cut sides. Place face-down on baking dish.

Bake 45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife.

Meanwhile, trim asparagus stalks. Dice and place in a strainer to rinse. Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute asparagus for 5-7 minutes, until softened and starting to darken. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the squash has cooked, remove from oven. Remove skin with a fork and measure the strands.

In a bowl, combine spaghetti squash. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in whisked eggs and asparagus. Scoop mixture into a greased muffin pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Feta with Sumac and Black Sesame Seeds

When sumac became available through Penzey's, I had to buy some just to see what it was like. And that meant that I had to research recipes that called for sumac. Of the few that I have tried to date, this is the most immediately interesting, easiest to assemble, and most flexible.

I serve this as an appetizer with crackers or bread. Leftovers can be served with eggs, on a green salad, or to top a baked potato. Very versatile. If you plan on having leftovers -- and, unless you are serving this for a large party, you will have leftovers -- then dress only the serving portion with olive oil; hold the rest back, dry, for storage in the fridge. If you need more on the day of your occasion, you can always quickly dress with olive oil and place on the table.

Feta with Sumac and Black Sesame Seeds
from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 lbs feta cheese, crumbled
1 T oregano leaves
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sumac, ground
olive oil, for drizzling (use the good stuff)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tabouli with Fennel and Pomegranate

I have been making this dish for nearly 20 years and I still love it. It's rare for fennel and pomegranate to be available at the same time in the grocery, so I only get the chance to make it once or twice a year.

Tabouli with Fennel and Pomegranate
50 Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dishes

1 c bulgur wheat
2 bulbs funnel
1 red chili pepper, seeded and diced (opt)
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
2 T olive oil
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
6-8 scallions, chopped
6 T mint, chopped
6 T parsley, chopped
1 pomegranate
salt and pepper

Place bulgur in a bowl and add water to cover. Let stand 30 minutes.

Drain bulgur, pressing out any extra water.

Halve fennel bulbs and cut into very fine slices.

Mix all remaining ingredients together. Season well, cover, and set aside 30 minutes before serving.