Weep no More, My . . . Yogurt?

I hope you’re not throwing out that yogurt or sour cream or ricotta, etc. that is only a few days old, just because it seems to have developed a puddle of watery liquid where you last spooned some out. I know it doesn’t look appetizing, and I usually just pour it off, but you can stir it back in, too, and move on with your recipe.

That liquid actually has a name—whey—and it’s full of nutrients and fine to stir back in. The process of the weeping has a name too—syneresis. Read more about it here.

But if you just can’t stand seeing that liquid, there’s an easy way to prevent it. After you spoon out what you need, use the back of your spoon to smooth out the top of the remaining food, as you might do when frosting a cake. Just smooth it to the point of having no large craters where the whey can seep out.

Here’s what happens when you spoon out some yogurt and just put it away. The next day, the space is filled with watery whey:

Here’s how to prevent that puddle:

Here’s that container after a week of spooning out and smoothing—no whey!

So, if you’re grossed out by that weeping, and you know you’ve been throwing out good food, just smooth it out after using and you’ll be surprised at how brand new it looks every day.

Peach Poblano Jam

We switched to a different variety of poblanos in the garden this year. Last year’s would have been way too hot for this jam, although if you like a jalapeno jelly, you might like the heat. This year’s poblanos started turning red much quicker and are mild enough that you get a chance to taste the pepper. The result in the jam is that you don’t get any heat at first, but then it starts showing up as an afterthought. We kind of liked that.

If you have hotter poblanos, whether or not you like that effect or not, you might consider using fewer in your jam.

My husband says he would eat the jam on biscuits, but I’m mostly planning to serve it with pork or chicken. I think it could work in a fajita as well. Anything savory where a little sweet would complement.

I looked at a lot of recipes for peach jam to compare the amounts of sugar used. For my 3.5 lbs of peaches, I settled on 3 cups of sugar. I didn’t want to use pectin, and I found a number of recipes that didn’t, but I found their cooking directions to be way off—some said to cook it for as little as 10 minutes!! Mine cooked for about as long as my tomato jam, because I was looking for that moment when the wooden spoon dragged a clear path in the jam.

How I decided on the number of poblanos to use is still a mystery to me. I used 4, cut in a small dice. It was enough that they are well distributed throughout like little red jewels. 👍

Peach Poblano Jam

  • Servings: about 5 cups
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Ingredients

  • 3.5 lbs peaches (peeled and seeded weight); 16 medium peaches
  • 10 oz poblano peppers (seeded weight); 4 peppers
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Blanch peaches for 1-2 minutes and cool in ice water. Peel peaches and remove pits.
  2. You can chop the peaches by hand to your desired size or pulse them in a food processor or both. I did both, giving me enough tiny pieces to make a thick jam base, with some larger pieces for texture.
  3. Mix peaches, diced peppers, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a large stock pot. Some recipes let the mixture sit to draw out the fruit’s juices first, some for as long as overnight. I didn’t wait, and that could have affected my cooking time.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer that keeps the mixture bubbling without a lid. On my gas burner, it’s the LOW setting.
  5. Stir occasionally until the mixture stops foaming and begins to thicken. That happened for me after 1 hour. It just clicked over like a switch.
  6. After the jam begins to thicken stir more often to prevent sticking until you can drag a wooden spoon through it and it leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan. That took another hour. It all depends on how juicy your peaches are. Just keep at it and it will thicken. I set up my thermometer, because I was curious. It hovered at about 175º until the end.
  7. Spoon into clean jars or containers and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks or freeze. I can’t advise you on canning.

Creamy Walleye Scramble, For One

I may never eat scrambled eggs again without cream cheese!

Even though the fillets were small at less than 3 oz, each, two were too many for me, and three eggs was too much. Still, I persevered 😉

Creamy Walleye Scramble

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Walleye fillets—my fish, including both fillets, was 5.5 oz. 3-4 oz might be a more typical single serving.
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
  • butter and olive oil for sauteing
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: fresh or dried herbs, like dill or chives

Preparation

  1. I’m using two of my favorite pans for this dish—stainless steel for cooking and browning the fish and nonstick for making the omelet. That poor nonstick pan has suffered abuse and will need to be replaced soon ☹️
  2. Begin by cooking the fish.
    1. Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan, because you want some nice browning, over medium-high heat.
    2. Add 2 tablespoons butter or a combination of butter and oil, and as soon as the butter has melted, place the seasoned fillets in and saute for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the fillets and cook the other side.
    3. Set aside while making the eggs. You could loosely cover the fish in the pan with foil, but do not put a lid on and let it steam and get all watery.
  3. To make the eggs:
    1. Whisk 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Don’t be like me and try to pick the smallest bowl possible, so that your egg splashes over the sides.
    2. Whisk in the cream cheese until mostly incorporated. It really doesn’t matter if there are little bits left in it, because they will melt in the cooking.
    3. Heat a nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. When hot add 2 tablespoons butter (and a few drops of oil to prevent burning). Add the eggs and let them set for a few seconds. Season with salt and pepper and herbs, if using. Begin to lightly stir and fold with silicone spatula, just to move them around and prevent browning.
    4. Crumble in half your fish, continuing to stir and fold. Remove from heat while the eggs are still moist.
    5. Plate the eggs and crumble the rest of the fish over the top.