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Archive for Yogurt

RECIPE: Mexican Parfait

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A savory Mexican (or Tex-Mex) parfait. Photo and recipe courtesy Food Should Taste Good.

 

This Southwestern Tomato and Yogurt Parfait is made in trendy glass canning jars, but you can use wine glasses, juice glasses or whatever you have.

It’s easy to make the salsa, but if you’re pressed for time you can buy ready-made corn and bean salsa.

Check out the history of the parfait—for most of its existence, a frozen dessert.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

 
RECIPE: MEXICAN PARFAIT

Ingredients
 
For The Salsa

  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes (we used Muir Glen), drained, 2 tablespoons juice reserved, patted dry
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped, seeded jalapeño chile
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnish: cilantro sprig
  • For The Parfait

  • 1 quart plain Greek yogurt
  • Tortilla chips
  •  
    Plus

  • 8 pint-sized canning jars (substitute juice or wine glasses)
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    Preparation

    1. MIX the salsa ingredients in medium bowl.

    2. SPOON into each of the jars 1/4 cup salsa, then 1/4 cup yogurt. Repeat with two more layers. Top with a layer of salsa

    3. GARNISH with a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Siggi’s Skyr, Icelandic Yogurt

    We remember when Siggi Hilmarsson’s skyr (pronounced SKEER), Icelandic-style strained yogurt, first appeared on the shelves of Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village.

    Hailing from Iceland, the transplanted New Yorker found the yogurts in the U.S. too sweet and not thick enough—even the Greek-style yogurts. So in 2004 he started to make his own, in his kitchen. Today, Siggi’s skyr is available nationally, to the delight of many.

    This is not bargain yogurt. It’s even pricier than Greek brands—and it’s thicker than Greek yogurt as well. The reason is, more milk is required to produce the same quantity. You get what you pay for.

    Greek-style yogurt is thicker than American-style yogurt because more water is strained out of the whey—it’s triple strained. But skyr is drained even more. Think of it as quadruple-strained yogurt. One cup of Siggi’s skyr requires four times more milk than a typical American brand.

    The result is so thick that a spoon stands up straight in the cup; yet it has 0% fat (some flavors are lowfat, 2%). The concentration of milk also delivers more calcium and protein.

     

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    A bowl of Siggi’s skyr with pomegranate arils. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     
    IS SKYR YOGURT OR CHEESE?

    In Iceland, skyr is typically fat-free because all the cream has been removed to make butter.

    If you look for information on skyr, you may find it referred to as a cheese. So is it yogurt or cheese? It depends on the recipe of the individual producer.

    The recipe arrived in Iceland from Norway in the Middle Ages. It most likely was originally made as a cheese, with rennet. These days, some ism some isn’t. Siggi’s is yogurt.

    The difference between a cultured dairy product, such as sour cream or yogurt, and a fresh cheese that looks just like it, such as fromage blanc or quark, is the addition of a coagulant, such as rennet.

    With cottage cheese and ricotta, you can see the curds. With fromage blanc and quark (and most other cheeses), you can’t, because of the particular recipe. You also can’t tell the difference by tasting it. The textures of sour cream, yogurt, fromage blanc and quark are very similar.

    Don’t confuse these fresh cheeses with yogurt cheese like labneh.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE IN YOGURT

  • Regular yogurt is made by combining milk with live cultures. It is available plain and flavored, made from whole milk (5% fat), lowfat (1%) and fat-free (0%).
  • Greek yogurt follows the same recipe, but is triple strained, removing a portion of by the whey. This creates a thicker yogurt that is higher in protein. It may or may not be tangier than regular yogurt, depending on the processes of the particular brand.
  • Skyr, Icelandic yogurt, is even thicker than Greek yogurt. Think of it as quadruple-strained. It is made from skim milk (0%)—the cream is skimmed off to make butter. In Iceland it is often made from raw milk, which is not legal in the U.S. for fresh dairy products.
  • The more concentrated (strained) a style of yogurt is, the costlier it will be because it contains more milk and less water.

    Check out our Yogurt Glossary for much more on the different types of yogurt.

     

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    Siggi’s coconut yogurt topped with toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds from the pantry. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     

    SIGGI’S FLAVORS

    In addition to its much thicker body, Siggi’s flavors have far less sugar. Mainstream flavored yogurts can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving. Siggi’s varieties have 9-11 grams, resulting in 10-20 calories less than brands like Chobani and FAGE. While that doesn’t mean a lot for one portion, for frequent yogurt eaters it adds up.

    The products are made with rBST-free milk that comes from family farms in New York State and Wisconsin, and are sweetened with fruit and a touch of agave nectar or cane sugar, instead of fruit preserves. The result is a more elegant flavor
     
    FLAVORS WITH 0% FAT

  • Blueberry
  • Mixed Berries & Açai
  • Orange & Ginger
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Pomegranate & Passion Fruit
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
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    FLAVORS WITH 2% FAT

  • Coconut
  • Mango & Jalapeño
  • Plain
  • Pumpkin & Spice
  • Vanilla
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    The company also makes squeezable yogurt tubes in Raspberry and Strawberry, and filmjölk—Swedish-style drinkable yogurt—in Plain, Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla.

    The brand is all natural, certified gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.

    Siggi’s is eco-friendly. The front of the label tells you the grams of sugar, protein and calories. The label itself is paper, and can be easily detached ffrom the plastic carton for separate recycling.

    For a store locator visit SiggisDairy.com.

     
    MOTHER’S DAY GIFTING

    For a yogurt lover, pick up one or two containers of each flavor and tuck them into an Easter basket or a nice serving bowl.

      

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    RECIPE: Better-For-You-Holiday Desserts

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    An alternative to apple pie using Apple Pie
    Yogurt. Photo courtesy Yoplait.

     

    Looking for sweet relief from high-calorie holiday desserts? Yoplait’s limited edition winter yogurt flavors can fill in.

    The new flavors include Greek 100 Caramel Macchiato, Greek Cinnamon Roll, Original Coconut Caramel and Light Chocolate Mint. Refreshing from the cup, they can also be combined with other ingredients to make better-for-you desserts.

    For example, you can make this apple pie yogurt cup in just 15 minutes:

    RECIPE: APPLE PIE YOGURT

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg roll skin (6-1/2-inches square, from a 16-ounce package)
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple
  • 1 container (5.3 oz) Yoplait Greek 100 Apple Pie Yogurt
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE a 6-inch cooking parchment paper square on microwavable plate. Spray with cooking spray. In small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

    2. CUT two 3-1/2-inch rounds from the egg roll skin; discard scraps. Cut each round into 1/2-inch strips. Tightly weave the strips into a lattice pattern on parchment paper.

    3. SPRAY the strips with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar.

    4. MICROWAVE uncovered on Medium (50%) 30 seconds; continue microwaving an additional 15 to 30 seconds, checking every 5 seconds to prevent the strips from burning in the center. Cool 5 minutes on parchment paper (the lattice will crisp as it cools). Meanwhile, stir the chopped apple into the yogurt cup.

    5. PLACE the pie crust on top of cup, and serve.

     

    RECIPE: APPLE CHIPS WITH CARAMEL-YOGURT DIP

    Or, try apple chips with a caramel-yogurt dip. If you don’t want to make the apple chips, it’s easy to buy them.

    Prep time is 10 minutes; total time including making the apple chips from scratch is 1 hour 10, minutes.

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free caramel topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 container (6 ounces) Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Apple Crisp Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
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    Apple chips with a caramel yogurt dip. Photo courtesy Yoplait.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT THE oven to 275°F. Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.

    2. USE a sharp knife to cut the apple into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch). Place on the cookie sheet.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes. Quickly turn the slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes longer or until golden brown and crispy. Cool on a cookie sheet (the apples will continue to crisp up). Meanwhile…

    4. MICROWAVE the caramel topping in small microwavable bowl, uncovered on High for 30 seconds. Stir in the salt. Place the yogurt in a small bowl and drizzle the with salted caramel. Top with the walnuts and serve with the apple chips.
     
    Find more recipes on Yoplait.com.

      

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    FOOD 101: Live & Active Cultures In Frozen Yogurt

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    Inside: 10 million or more live and active
    cultures. Photo courtesy Pinkberry.

     

    “What happens to the beneficial bacteria in frozen yogurt,” a reader writes. “Does freezing kill them?”

    No. Live culture frozen yogurt maintains the cultures’ benefits because the flash-freezing technique used in the production of frozen yogurt, unlike slow freezing in a freezer, only makes the organisms dormant. It does not kill them—or at least not all of them, as the number of bacteria in frozen yogurt is usually lower than that in the fresh yogurt from which it was made.

    Yogurt is made by culturing milk with bacterial cultures. The words “live and active cultures” refer to the living organisms, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus*, which convert pasteurized milk into yogurt during fermentation. (Note that the milk is pasteurized before culturing in order to remove any harmful bacteria.)

    This fermentation process is what creates yogurt, with its unique taste, texture, and healthful attributes. The yogurt cultures—all the strains of bacteria added to the product—make up about 1% of the ingredients.

     

    Not all yogurt has live and active cultures. Just as some manufacturers use different combinations of cultures, frozen yogurts are created with different processes. Some are heat-treated after culturing, which extends the shelf life of fresh yogurt but kills the cultures.

    Why should you care about the live organisms? There is preliminary scientific evidence suggesting that live cultures in regular and frozen yogurt can boost your immune system, prevent osteoporosis, and prevent gastrointestinal infections, ultimately helping your digestive system as a whole.

     
    *Other cultures may be added as well, but these are always the first two.

     

    Different yogurt brands, fresh and frozen alike, add probiotics, which aid with digestion. Red Mango is one frozen yogurt brand that adds probiotics. Yovation is a packaged brand found in some natural food stores.

    The levels that remain in frozen yogurt depend upon the numbers that were in the fresh yogurt from which it was made, and on the hardiness of the specific cultures that were used. Thus, Some frozen yogurts are better sources of live cultures and/or probiotics than others.

    In order to receive the National Yogurt Association’s Live & Active Cultures seal—a voluntary labeling program—frozen yogurt is required to contain at least 10 million cultures per gram at time of manufacture (for fresh yogurt, it is 100 million per gram). The amount was agreed upon by research scientists who participated in studies of the health benefits of live cultures in yogurt products.

    If you like a brand that doesn’t have the seal but want to know what’s inside, contact the manufacturer to ask what types of bacteria their product contains and how many live and active cultures are in the finished product.

     

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    Look for the seal on boxes and containers. Image courtesy National Yogurt Association.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Gourmet Lassi From That Indian Drink

    We wish Ipshita Pall would invite us to dinner. Now that we’ve had her lassi yogurt drink, we’re dying to taste her food.

    Ms. Pall is a trained French culinary chef experienced in Indian-Latin fine dining.

    We enjoy all lassi, but so far, we like That Indian Drink’s products the best. Chef-crafted, they use fresh fruit instead of purchased concentrates and purées. And oh, the spices!

    The spices make a delightful difference—so much so that Chef Ipshita and her husband, Amrit Singh, were convinced to sell it commercially (their company is called The Indian Milk & Honey Co.). The result are three flavors, each more wonderful than the next:

  • Alphonse Mango Lassi
  • Blueberry Cardamom Lassi
  • Raspberry Cinnamon Lassi
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    The ingredients include rBST-free lowfat milk, fruit, live active cultures, cane sugar and spices; 130 to 150 calories per eight-ounce serving. That Indian Drink isn’t just good, it’s good for you!

    Each bottle delivers more than a full serving of fruit, 7 grams of protein, dietary fiber, probiotics, antioxidants and addictive deliciousness.

       

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    Blueberry Cardamom is one of four delicious fruit flavors. Photo courtesy The Indian Milk & Honey Co.

     
    Look for That Indian Drink at Whole Foods Markets and other natural foods channels. Here’s the store locator.

    WHAT IS LASSI?

    Lassi is a traditional Indian-style yogurt-based drink blended with ripe fruits and spices—in essence, the original smoothie.

    The word “lassi” means “yogurt drink” in Hindi. The light, cool and creamy beverage originated in India around 1000 B.C.E. The probiotic cultures in the yogurt are believed to have healing properties in Ayurvedic medicine.

    As with kefir, another yogurt-based beverage that originated in the Middle East, lassi can often be tolerated by lactose-intolerant people. The probiotic bacteria compensate for the lack of an intolerant person’s production of lactase, the enzyme that digests milk proteins.

     

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    Surprise friends and family with a refreshing
    glass of Lassi. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Lassi is a simpler recipe than kefir.

  • Kefir is made by adding a colony of bacteria and yeast to milk.
  • Lassi can be made simply by mixing milk or water into plain or flavored yogurt. Some historians believe that lassi may have been created as a way to stretch yogurt in the bowl, by stirring some liquid into it.
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    You can find plain lassi, sweet lassi and savory lassi.

    Depending on the milk with which it is made—cow, goat, sheep, soy, water buffalo and yak—the taste and texture of the drink will vary widely.

    WHEN TO DRINK LASSI

    In India, lassi is served as an apéritif, drunk savory with meals, enjoyed sweet as a light dessert, or as a healthful sweet or savory refreshment at any time of day.

    Savory lassi is a perfect drink with spicy Indian food. Sweet lassi—yogurt and fruit often blended with ice cubes these days—is a smoothie, appropriate for a quick breakfast, a light lunch, rejuvenating snack or a light dessert.

     

      

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