Tag Archives: yogurt

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.

And then you can’t taste anything

Since my last post, I haven’t been in the kitchen, but I’m expecting to get back in soon, whenever this sinus infection clears up and I can begin to taste again. Anything I have been eating has had to have texture to entertain me or soothe my sore throat. Bananas, yogurt, and cups of Better Then Bouillon® Chicken Base are the things that are the most soothing. I can’t say enough how tasty that chicken base is (when I can taste), and it’s not salty, like bouillon cubes—actually, I just had this conversation with the woman behind me at the grocery a few minutes ago who saw the jar and had to comment on how great it is. Okay, that commercial’s over.

The other interesting texture is crunch. I’ve been satisfying that with Simply Smart® chicken tenders and the old reliable Ore-Ida Tater Tots®.

Can’t smell, can’t taste, but texture helps me imagine a little. I’m pretty sure the next post will be a recipe for my mother’s “Hamburger Stew,” but not until I know I can taste it.

Pumpkin Apple Walnut Bread

My husband has been putting canned pumpkin in the dog’s food for a while (it’s all about fiber or something) and I’ve been looking at those cans more and more as the fall weather approaches, and I had two Granny Smith apples sitting around, plus walnuts, so it was inevitable that I would be making a nut bread. I made pumpkin bread for years and then stopped and lost the recipe. Nothing I’ve tried seems to be like that old one, so I’ve just moved on and keep trying new ones, tweaking them as I go. Today’s is a keeper. I found a number of recipes, some identical to each other but with no credits, and narrowed it down to two before adding my ideas:

Mine is most like the “Pumpkin Apple Bread” from Heather Homemade, but I added walnuts and changed a few key ingredients and amounts.

Then again, it’s a lot like “Pumpkin Apple Bread with Streusel Topping” from Sand & Sisal, again with my own changes and additions.

What’s with no one adding nuts to their pumpkin bread?

 

Pumpkin Apple Walnut Bread

  • Servings: 2 large loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 350°

Grease 2 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 loaf pans

The main changes I made to common pumpkin bread recipes are using half whole wheat flour, adding walnuts, and substituting plain Greek yogurt for half the vegetable oil.

In large mixer bowl mix the following ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups white sugar

Stir in 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced, finely chopped, or grated.

Stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture, not overbeating:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and top with streusel (below). Bake for about 50 minutes, checking to make sure the edges do not burn. Cool on racks for about 15 mins., then remove from pans to cool completely. For the best flavor, wrap tightly and serve the next day so the flavors have a chance to develop—just don’t make eye contact with your family, who have been smelling the pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, and walnuts all afternoon. Or eat one and wrap one for later.

Brown Sugar Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Oops! almost forgot the 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Mix all and cut in butter until evenly distributed and crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in pans before baking.

 

 

Chicken Coconut Curry

I haven’t made a curry in a long while, but when I picked up coconut milk for the 4th of July coconut cream pie, I accidentally picked up one can of the lite version with one can of the regular—who would use light coconut milk? Ended up going to a different store for the Goya® brand I wanted, so I bought two, which left me with two cans, one regular and one light. Hence, the curry.

My Chicken Coconut Curry is a version of this recipe—http://allrecipes.com/recipe/indian-chicken-curry-ii/—but I’m iffy on the yogurt and lemon as being too tangy, and I would like more vegetables in the curry, maybe snow peas. Let’s see what looks good at the grocery store.

Snow peas it is! I made a number of other changes to the recipe including adding garam masala, instead of the called-for cinnamon, along with the regular curry powder and cooking the dish in layers. Cooking in layers instead of throwing everything together at once, is probably a change I am most likely to make to recipes that I adapt. I like building flavors separately before combining them in the final step.

Other than my changes to the ingredients list, the browning of the chicken makes the biggest change. The recipe calls for dumping everything, raw chicken and all, into the sauce, and I don’t really like the image of the gray chicken that would result. Maybe I’m not a curry purist, but browned chicken adds much more flavor, including from the browned bits in the bottom of the pan, in which the onions are cooked. This step, plus the addition of chicken stock instead of yogurt, might make the sauce lean toward being more of a gravy, but we loved it.

Chicken Coconut Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 small onions, small dice

3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1.5 tablespoons regular curry (hotter if you like that)

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon paprika (mine was smoked)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 13 oz. can coconut milk, unsweetened

1-3 cups chicken broth or bouillon—I used Better Than Bouillon® chicken base, using two cups for the rice and one for the curry

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half-inch cubes

1.5-2 cups whole snow peas, cleaned with any strings removed

Rice—I had arborio and made it in a rice cooker

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices and aromatics. The dish goes together more quickly than you might think. These initial preparation steps might take 15 minutes:

  1. Begin the rice—mine cooked in less than 30 minutes, but you should plan for your type of rice and method of cooking
  2. Dice and grate the aromatics
  3. Mix the spices and seasonings together
  4. Clean the snow peas and set aside
  5. Brown the chicken in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside—do not overcook, as the chicken will be added to the sauce for another 10-15 minutes

In the pan where you browned the chicken, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, bay leaf, and spices. Stir over heat for a minute or two to release spice oils and distribute the tomato paste. Add coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the browned chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Confession: I thickened the sauce after adding the chicken with a little cornstarch/water mixture. This is probably not a traditional curry step (I don’t know), but I liked the result.

Sprinkle the snow peas over all, cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until snow peas are crisp tender. I add these last to avoid overcooking the snow peas.

Serve over rice. *The recipe would serve four if my husband is not one of them and allowed to fill his own plate.

Update 2/6/14: I made this again yesterday with a few changes:

  1. For the chicken broth, I substituted 1 cup of sour cream. That meant I did not have to thicken the sauce, and it added a nice creaminess.
  2. I added one thinly sliced carrot to the onion-garlic step. The carrot adds both color and sweetness. I omitted the snow peas.
  3. I substituted one thinly sliced leek for one of the onions, mainly because I bought too many leeks the other day, but it was a good addition.