Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yogurt Toppers

I love plain yogurt with a dash of sugar or agave nectar and a few fresh or frozen berries. Not everyone [in my house] is so thrilled with this. For those who prefer something a bit more like store-bought yogurt, here is my solution:

Yogurt Mix-in Sauces
4-5 Cups fresh or frozen fruit
1 Tablespoon cornstarch - this thickens the sauce so it doesn't water down your yogurt without being chunky
1/2 Cup jam or jelly
Sugar to taste - I used about a tablespoon for the recipe

Thaw fruit if frozen. In a saucepan combine fruit with the cornstarch and jam or jelly. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture gets clear and boils. Remove from heat. Strain (if desired) to remove seeds. Store in a glass jar (reuse a jar from peanut butter, salsa, etc.). Chill. 

Add a spoonful or two to 6-8 oz yogurt and mix in for homemade yogurty deliciousness :)

Shown in the picture above - Blackberry Currant (made with frozen berries and currant jelly) and Strawberry Banana (frozen berries and a banana added in just before removing from heat). Play around with spices to make other flavors - apple pie would be fantastic with apples and cinnamon, and maybe some oats.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Palak Paneer

I first had Palak Paneer at Teaism in Washington DC. I didn't really read the menu too carefully, and spent most of the meal trying to figure out what the delicious white bits were - not egg; meat, maybe? not really... cheese? not quite like any cheese I'd had... I finally looked at the menu again on the way out and discovered, yes, cheese. But no, not quite like any cheese I'd had before!

Paneer is a white cheese, and is about as easy as it's possible for cheese to be. In a nutshell, heat up milk to almost boiling, pour in a bit of white vinegar, watch it curdle, and dump into cheese cloth to drain. The end. For those who want a bit more detail in your directions, look here.

For this Palak Paneer recipe, I used a gallon of milk, drained the cheese in a flour sack towel-lined colander, then cut my paneer in half - one half to use in the recipe, and one to freeze for later. (Also - save the whey! Cook rice or pasta in it for a bit of extra flavor.)

 Flour sack towel in a colander over a bowl... post cheese removal

Half of my paneer block ready to freeze

Paneer means "cheese" in Hindi, and Palak means "spinach". There are hundreds of recipes available online, and I sort of meshed two of them, but this one is pretty close to what I made, which came out quite well! I didn't use chana masala, and only used one bunch of spinach - though should have probably used two. It could have had more, in any case! But the result was quite tasty :)

 Frying paneer - like feta, it doesn't melt

 The "masala" - mixture - of onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and spices. Smells heavenly!

 Blended palak

Everything but the cheese

Mmm, delicious!