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City Palate Recipe: 3 quick ways with green beans

7 quick ways with Yogurt

Nov/Dec 2011

Yogurt is good for your gut – we all know that by now. Some yogurts are better than others, because they’re made from real food and not gums and thickeners and aspartame. Yogurt is about texture, too. Some manufacturers think we’re too lazy to stir up fruit from the bottom into the yogurt, so they do it for us. It’s called stirred yogurt, and it has a funny, kind of lumpy texture. Maybe we are too lazy. Yogurt is everywhere, but lately we’ve seen a happy proliferation of Greek-style yogurt, thick and rich tasting without a lot of fat, even zero fat, from yogurt people Danone (Oikos) and the Quebec folks, Liberté. This is good. Good for eating and good for cooking with.

Remember when we used to actually make our own yogurt? It always seemed to turn out rather too runny and tart. Some of us can make good yogurt, others of us can just buy it. Buy some good Greek-style yogurt and get cookin’. (Sometimes it’s spelled yoghurt.)

1. Yogurt Cheese

From Martha Stewart Living Cookbook...
Plain yogurt undergoes a delicious transformation overnight: it becomes yogurt cheese. Place plain low-fat or full-fat yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours to let the whey drain. The cheese will keep 3 to 4 days, tightly wrapped, in the fridge. Serve it on toast topped with jam for breakfast (or a midnight snack), mixed with herbs as a dip, or spooned on a baked potato.

2. Citrus Poppyseed Yogurt Dressing

From Fan Fare Best of Bridge Cookbook... Toss with mixed greens and top with sliced strawberries, red onions and toasted almonds. In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 c. plain (Greek-style) yogurt, 1 t. grated lime or orange zest, 2 T. fresh lime or orange juice, 1 to 2 t. liquid honey and 1/2 t. Dijon mustard. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and stir in 2 t. poppy seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Makes about 2/3 c.

3. Yogurt, Tamarind and Chile Dip

From Café Spice Namaste by Cyrus Todiwala... Whisk 1/2 c. Greek-style yogurt with 1-2 T. tamarind paste and 1 de-seeded and finely chopped green chile. Stir in 1-1/2 t. chopped cilantro, 1 t. finely chopped fresh dill and 1 minced garlic clove. Season with 1 t. sugar and some chile powder and salt to taste. Serve with snacks; particularly good with smoked meats. Makes about 1/2 cup.

4. Refreshing Yogurt Marinade

From Martha Stewart Living Cookbook... Combine in the bowl of a food processor 1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks, 2 c. plain (Greek-style) yogurt, 1 T. honey, 2 t. hot mustard powder, 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves,
1/2 t. kosher salt, 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper. Process until
smooth and flecked with mint. Chicken and seafood pair well with this
sweet, tangy marinade. Don’t let seafood marinate for more than 2 hours. Makes about 3 cups.

5. Whole Potatoes in Spicy Yogurt Sauce

From The Best of City Palate... Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss 12 small potatoes with oil and bake 45 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Set aside. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a large, nonstick saucepan and sauté 1 large chopped onion until golden. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1-inch peeled and chopped ginger, and 1/2 t. ground turmeric. Sauté 2 minutes. Add 2 t. ground coriander, 1 t. ground cumin, 1/2 t. garam masala, 1/4 t. each ground cardamom, chile powder and salt, 1/4 c. finely ground cashews, 2 chopped ripe tomatoes, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 1 c. plain Greek-style yogurt (not non-fat) and the potatoes. Simmer gently, partly covered, 30 minutes over low heat until the sauce coats the potatoes. Serves 4.

6. Yogurt and Tamarind Marinated Grilled Chicken

From Vij’s Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala. In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 c. plain yogurt (not no-fat), 1 T. tamarind paste, 3 T. minced garlic, 1/4 c. canola oil, 1-1/2 T. salt, 1-1/4 t. ground cayenne and 1 T. garam masala. Add 2-1/4 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, stir well to cover, cover the bowl and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Preheat a grill to high. Grill the chicken thighs on one side for about 2 minutes, turn and grill 2 minutes. Grill each side another 2 minutes, for a total of 4 minutes per side. Poke thighs with a knife to make sure they’re grilled through. If not, continue to grill a bit more until they are finished. Serve on top of salad greens tossed with an oil and vinegar dressing and squeeze fresh lemon juice overtop. Serves 6.

7. Cabbage in Mild Yogurt and Mustard Seed Curry

From Vij’s Indian Cuisine by Vikran Vij and Meeru Dhalwala. Cut 1 head of green cabbage into 1”x 1”x 3” pieces, place the pieces in a colander and rinse them. Drain well. Heat 1/2 c. canola oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add 1 t. asafetida and let it sizzle for 10 seconds, then add 1 T. plus 1 t. black mustard seeds and cook until you hear popping, about 1 minute. Immediately turn off the heat. After 5 minutes, stir in 1-1/2 c. plain yogurt (at least 4% milk fat) and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1 T. each ground cumin, ground coriander and salt, and 1 t. turmeric. Cook 5 minutes until the oil glistens. Add the cabbage and stir to make sure the sauce and cabbage are well combined. Reduce the heat to low and cook another 5 minutes. Serve as a side to meat dishes. Serves 6.