Thursday, May 17, 2007

Y is for...


Y is for Yogurt.
Who: Yogurt
What: Yogurt is a dairy product made of milk and bacteria. Yum.
Where: Yogurt can be made anywhere; factories or homes, from the milk of many different animals including goat and sheep. Cows milk is the most commonly used. Yogurt can also be made from soy.
When: Yogurt making is thought to have started by nomadic Balcan tribes thousands of years ago.
Why: Yogurt is a good source of B Vitamins, Calcium and Protein. It is also thought to keep the intestines filled with good bacteria.

Did you know? Americans eat over 300,000 tons of yogurt per year.


Great fast dip that can be served with pita bread for dipping, in sandwiches, with souvlaki or in salads.

1/2 cucumber peeled, seeded and grated
1 cup plain yogurt (I use low or non fat)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp dill

Squeeze the moisture out of the cucumber with your hands. Mix all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

A funny story about tatziki.

Years ago I worked at a restaurant and one of the appetizers on the menu was Calamari with Tatziki Sauce. Half the time our tatziki sauce was praised by the customers; other times people complained that it wasn't very good. We couldn't understand why; all the prep cooks during the day used the same recipe and if we ran low at night, those cooks were using the same recipe too. The owner finally figured out what was going on one day when she came in for lunch. The prep cook working that day had peeled, seeded and grated the cucumber. She'd put it in a colander and sprinkled it with salt. The next step was to squeeze the moisture out of the cuke (after letting it sit for a while) and mix the grated squeezed cuke with the yogurt and other ingredients. What did my boss see the prep cook do? Squeeze the liquid out of the cukes, then throw away the cucumber and mix the liquid into the yogurt! Mystery solved on why the tatziki sucked sometimes.

PS - before you ask why no one on the staff had noticed that some times the tatziki had no cucumber in it, I'm not sure. I didn't eat Calamari back then so I never tried the tatziki.

Pasta with Peas and Zucchini.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 small (8 oz) zucchini cut into smallish pieces (I cut thick matchsticks and then cut those in half lengthwise)
2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
1 1/2 cups low or non fat yogurt
1 cup fresh basil finely chopped (or use dried)(not a cupful, for the love of XXXXX, maybe a couple of spoonfuls?)
1 bag (350 - 400 g) pasta of your choice

Boil a large pot of water; salt and cook pasta until done. Drain and set aside in a bowl. Just before the pasta is done, bring another pot of water to the boil and add the peas garlic and zucchini. Boil for 2 minutes and remove the vegetables from the water, keeping the water in the pot. Finely chop the garlic. Toss the veggies into the pasta.

In a large heat proof bowl mix together the yogurt and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the bowl over the vegetable water (like a double boiler) and heat the yogurt, stirring often, until warm, 2 or 3 minutes.

Pour the yogurt over the pasta and vegetables and mix well. Serve.


Yogurt and Berry Parfait

adapted from Nigella Lawson

2 big servings, for breakfast, lunch or dessert.

150 g frozen mixed berries
1 - 2 tb maple syrup
225 g plain low or non fat yogurt
2 oatmeal cookies (like Dad's or Hobnobs)

Crush the cookies in a food processor, or place them in a bag and smack with something heavy until broken up. Set the cookie crumbs aside. Puree the berries in your food processor. Scrape the berries into a bowl and mix in the maple syrup to your taste. Place half of the yogurt in the bottom of two bowls (so 1/4 of the yogurt per bowl). Top with half the berries and half the crumbs. Repeat with the remaining yogurt, berries and crumbs. Serve straight away, or cover and refrigerate.

You week is the last letter! Wow, I don't know whether to be happy or sad about it. Have a great day, and for you Canucks out there, have a safe long weekend!

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver
K is for Kaffir Lime Leaves
L is for Lobster
M is for Mushroom
N is for Noodle
O is for Onion
P is for Pub Food
Q is for Quinoa
R is for Rice
S is for Sushi
T is for Taco
U is for Upside Down Desserts
V is for Vietnamese Food
W is for Watermelon
X is for Xtreme


breadchick said...

That is a riot about the Tatziki. You have to wonder where people's heads are at sometimes. I would never have thought to use yogurt as a pasta sauce and will have to try it and I see another Martha recipe is "spot on" as usual ;-)

Have a great long weekend!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

How amazing! Just goes to show you how if you can read you can cook. And if the recipe writer doesn't make it totally clear, interpretation will sink the ship.
All three of these look lovely. I'm very taken with the pasta dish!

Sara said...

Mary and Tanna - try the pasta, it is very very good!

Kelly-Jane said...

Great post, and all your pics look yummy-licoius!

Lis said...

I love yogurt.. eat it every morning. I've always wanted to experiment with it in cakes.. if a cake calls for sourcream, I wonder how yogurt would work instead? Think there'd be much of a taste difference or no? Morven makes some yummy yogurt cakes too.

Happy long weekend!

foodiechickie said...

Mmmm my mom makes fresh yogurt. So yuumy.

Sara said...

kelly jane - thanks, my favorite is the parfait.

lis - i don't know how it would affect it, but it would be good!

fc - lucky her! i thought about getting a yogurt maker but i figured it would just be another gagdet taking up space in my kitchen.