Odds and Ends: Soupy Yogurt

I finally gave up on my old yogurt makers from the 1970s. They were five-container Saltons I’d picked up at garage sales during the back-to-the-land era. Sometimes I would get good yogurt from them and sometimes I didn’t–mostly at the end I just didn’t!

I started to look around for a new yogurt maker and found one “new” in the box with a new unopened thermometer and a muslin bag for straining yogurt into cheese at my local St. Vincent de Paul store for about $13.

I’m hooked on Greek-style yogurt and make it thick and mild from whole milk and a single half-cup serving of plain yogurt from the dairy aisle at the local grocery store. I mainly eat it with fruit and granola with a drizzle of honey and a few tablespoons of sliced almonds on top–Breakfast of Champions!

My new yogurt maker works very nicely, and I’ve fine-tuned just how to get the thickest Greek yogurt without straining it or adding gelatin or milk solids (I let it come to a boil. It’s often a mess, but it works for me.)

Until I discovered my boiling method, I had a few “failures.” The worst one was a batch that I couldn’t even strain into a thicker product. I couldn’t bear to pour 2 quarts of it down the drain (which would have been the acme of foolishness anyway)!

I ended up using my soupy yogurt a couple of different ways–mainly as a substitute for buttermilk in cooking our Saturday morning pancakes. I also used it to make a fruit lassi drink in the Vitamix to go with some chicken tikka I made for supper one evening.

If you are getting used to a new yogurt maker, don’t throw away your failures.

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Happy Easter!

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Spring in Wisconsin: Gardening!

Maple sugaring season is over, and I just picked my first fresh salad ingredients from the garden today. I have my raised beds of greens planted (along with a few sugar snap peas), but it will be four or more weeks before I start harvesting them.  It has been pretty brisk lately with snow (which has all melted again as snow will at this time of year), strong winds, and icy rains.

All the plants that I have pictured are edible after a freeze as long as you allow them to defrost before you pick them. I have mache (also known as corn salad) reseeding every Spring. The rosettes of  mache that I picked today germinated from seed dropped last summer, overwintered, and began growing again as soon as the soil warmed a bit. More will germinate as the weather warms.

The green onions are what we call Egyptian onions  and are meant to be cut in the early spring. The plants become woody as the year progresses. They produce sets at their tips, and when the plant bends to the ground under their weight, they take hold where ever they touch earth. Some people harvest these sets to create onion-flavored vinegar.

I also waded into my herb border and cut some fresh chives and sour sorrel. Nothing flavors and tops off a salad like chives. The smell means spring to me.

The sorrel was just coming up, and I noticed that I have a handful of new starts coming from seed. I will continue to experiment in the herb border this season to make it more and more self-sustaining. I like plants that reseed so I don’t have to. I guess I am just getting lazy in my old age! Begonia

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