Friday, August 16, 2013

Frozen Fruit Yogurt

I sometimes buy small containers of yogurt with fruit, intending to have one for lunch or a snack, but then they just sit in the refrigerator uneaten.  I saw a post about home-made frozen yogurt on the angry chicken blog, and thought I'd try it.  It's great!  Now I'm buying a tub of non-fat yogurt each week, and enjoying this often for lunch.  The angry chicken post (and the recipe it's linked to) talk about eating it either right after it's made (soft) or freezing it for a while, when it will be more like ice cream.  I haven't had any luck with the frozen variation--it gets too hard.  So, I just make up one serving at a time, and enjoy it right then.  So far I've made it with mangoes (photo above) or blueberries.  I'm sure it would also be delicious with strawberries, raspberries, and peaches.  Maybe I'll also try plums.  Here's how I make it--recipe for one serving:

1)  The day before, freeze small pieces of fruit.  Blueberries are fine left whole.  Below is a photo of a mango that I've cut into small pieces and laid on a piece of parchment paper (so that they don't stick to the metal tray when freezing).  Yes, you could skip this step and just use fresh fruit, but the point of the recipe is that using the frozen fruit lowers the temperature and thickens the consistency of the resulting yogurt, and this is what makes it more pleasing to eat than regular fruited yogurt.

 2)  When you're ready to make the frozen yogurt, mix up the following in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender:

  • 2/3 cup of non-fat plain yogurt
  • a squirt of honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of fruit (e.g., I used half a mango)
If you're using an immersion blender, mix up the fruit and yogurt a little bit before you blend.  Here's what mine looks like in the beaker that came with the immersion blender:

Press the immersion blender down slowly into the yogurt, and then move it up and down a few times to blend.  You may need to stir with a spoon once, if some of the fruit gets stuck on the bottom of the beaker.  Although I show the finished yogurt at the top in a bowl, I usually eat it directly from the beaker--one less dish to wash :-)

Friday, August 2, 2013

An abundance of cherry tomatoes--Puttanesca!

When the cherry tomatoes first start ripening in mid-July, they are a great treat, and are mostly eaten directly in the garden.  At this point in August, they've reached the stage of abundance at which I turn to recipes to try to keep up with them.  I had Spaghetti alla Puttanesca in an Italian restaurant earlier in the week, which gave me the idea to make it at home.  I used a recipe that called for canned tomatoes, but substituted fresh cherry tomatoes.  Delicious!  I also have fond associations with this dish as something my mother made later in life, after decades of making her regular, excellent, spaghetti sauce with meatballs (recipe from Mrs. Vilano, our neighbor 60 years ago).  My mother was a great cook, but tended to stick pretty close to her repertoire.  It was a bit of a thrill to have her serve something else!

adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta, by Marie Simmons

1 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained (or 28 oz. of cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters)
1/2 c. pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
2 T. small capers, rinsed
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper (recipe called for 1 t., but I found 1/2 t. to be enough)
1/2 t. dried oregano
pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided in half
1 2-oz can anchovies, drained, blotted dry, & cut into small pieces
1 lb. spaghetti

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and sauté over low heat about 1 minute; do not brown.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, olives, capers, crushed red pepper, oregano, black pepper and 2  T. of the parsley.   Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in anchovies and other 2 T. of parsley; simmer 2 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente; drain.  Toss with the sauce.