Thursday, April 18, 2013

yogurt with poached rhubarb and almonds

Yogurt is one of those foods that is satisfying any time of the day. It can be used in many sweet or savory dishes adding a rich tangy creaminess to everything. In my house we make yogurt several times a month and use it in smoothies, eat it with nuts, honey and fruit, and add it to blanched spinach for making borani.

This yogurt dish was inspired by the spring rhubarb plants in my garden that up until now I've had to leave alone to develop roots properly.  Poaching these new spring stalks in a simple syrup with some aromatic orange peel and a vanilla bean makes a wonderful accompanyment when mixed with fresh yogurt. I had wanted to make a rhubarb strawberry pie but we don't have strawberries yet so that will be a story for another time.

For crunchiness add toasted nuts and for a little more
flavor add a little of the sweet poaching liquid.

Yogurt is really very easy to make, so good eat and has the added health benefit of live cultures to help keep you healthy. I like to make yogurt two quarts at a time using a yogurt maker with a water bath incubator, that way I know the incubating temperature with stay constant no matter how cold the temperature of my kitchen.

Here is the recipe:

Slowly bring milk up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the slow heating keeps the milk proteins from combining to make the milk grainy.

Let the milk cool to 120 degrees.

Use whole milk for richness

Add 1 tablespoon of room temperature yogurt culture for each quart of milk and whisk until combined.

I use plain Greek Gods Yogurt as a culture.

Pour 115 degree water in the incubator and place the milk container in the water.

The milk container sits in a water bath.

Cover and keep warm for about five hours or until set.

Plug this unit in to keep the water warm to promote milk fermentation.

Then you get yogurt!

I like to hang the yogurt to let the whey drain out to get a thicker consistency.  Then place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. If you want, use the whey to braise or lacto-ferment vegetables and fruits or as a liquid substitute in baking. 

Use a muslin bag or strainer for hanging yogurt

Poached rhubarb recipe:

2 C rhubarb 1/2" pieces
1 C sugar
1/2 water
3 strips of orange peel about 11/2" wide each
1/2 vanilla bean and seeds

Place sugar, water orange peel and vanilla bean pod and seeds in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then add rhubarb. Turn heat off and let the mixture sit for an hour and a half. Strain the rhubarb and keep in a covered container until read to use. Save the liquid for more poaching or drizzles a little on top of your yogurt.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

asparagus prosciutto egg and home made noodle sheets

Spring is here and so many good things are starting to happen in the garden. One of the first vegetables to popup out of hibernation is the asparagus and the hens are in full swing laying eggs.  With these welcome taste of spring I was inspired to make this dish of asparagus with prosciutto, poached egg and home made noodle sheets.

This is really a simple combination of ingredients. The noodle sheets are made from a simple pasta dough and instead of cutting the dough into slender noodles, I cut them into small rectangles. Blanch the asparagus in a little salt water, poach an egg, add a little thinly sliced prosciutto and finish it off with olive oil, salt and pepper. Once you break open the egg, the yolk will add rich creaminess to these wonderful spring time flavors

For the pasta:

210g semolina flour
3 lg egg yolk room temp
1 lg egg room temp
1 tsp olive oli
11/2 Tbls water

Mix all ingredients and blend in a mixer with a paddle attachment for five minutes. Gather the dough together in a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll the dough through a pasta machine or hand roll. Cut into 3 inch by 5 inch sheets. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender.

For the asparagus:

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and blanch asparagus until just tender. Remove from water and cool. 

For the poached egg:

Bring a pan of water to a boil, turn heat off and gently drop an egg in the water. Cover and let cook for about 3 minutes. Remove egg with slotted spoon.

For the prosciutto:

A couple of slices of a delicious prosciutto

Assemble everything on a plate or in a bowl and enjoy!