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Published on May 31st, 2011 | by JLedger

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Shavuot in the kitchen: The joys of yogurt

Besides being delicious, yogurt is also full of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

What better time than Shavuot to write a dairy column? And what could be more dairy than yogurt?
Yogurt is actually milk that has had bacteria added to it. Besides being delicious, yogurt is also full of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Regular yogurt is strained once or twice; the new kid on the block, Greek yogurt is strained three times (or more) making for a much thicker and denser consistency. Greek yogurt has almost double the protein and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. However, regular yogurt has three times the calcium as the Greek variety. So choose whichever one works best for you.
I prefer to use Greek yogurt to replace cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese in baking or cooking. The regular yogurt tends to curdle more than the Greek variety when you cook with it.  I gravitate towards regular yogurt when I’m making dips, salad dressing, smoothies, desserts and sauces. When you add fresh fruit either variety works great.

Yogurt Tips:
1. Use yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream to reduce calories and fat.
2. Add yogurt to your marinades. Its high acid content is a great tenderizer.
3.  Add yogurt near the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling.
4. Use yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream, or butter to reduce calories and fat in baking.
5. Don’t use aluminum pans when cooking with yogurt, the acid could cause a negative reaction.

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YOGURT MASHED CAULIFLOWER
2 heads of cauliflower (florets only)
6 oz container of Greek yogurt
2 tbs. butter
3 tbs. grated Parmesan
1//2 to 1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tbs. chopped onion
2 to 3 chopped green onions for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, bring the water to boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water and let them cook for about 8 minutes or until they are soft. Remove the florets from the heat and drain then in a colander. In a food processor, combine the cauliflower with the yogurt, butter, garlic and minced onion and process with pulses until you have a consistency you like. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Immediately spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and mix in the Parmesan. Top with green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

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GREEK YOGURT BERRY PIE

(You can use a readymade pie crust if you like)

Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tbs. water

Yogurt Cream Cheese Filling:
6 oz. Mascarpone cheese
8 oz Greek yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 cups mixed berries
3 tbs. raspberry jam

In a mixing bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut the butter into the flour mixture. Add the water to the mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough is just moistened. Shape crust dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle and then fold it in half then in half again. Place it in a nine inch tart pan with a removable bottom and unfold.  Press the dough evenly onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.
In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours. When ready to assemble the pie spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the tart shell. Sprinkle the berries over the top of the filling. In a glass bowl, microwave the jam slightly and then drizzle the warm jam over the top of the berries. Serve immediately.

Modified from about.com

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APPLE AND CARROT YOGURT SALAD
1 cup yogurt
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
4 carrots, peeled and shredded (3 1/2 cups)
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch sticks (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded jicama
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in to bite size pieces
1 cup chopped pecans

In a salad bowl combine the yogurt, vinegar, pepper, salt and parsley in a bowl. Add the carrots, apples, jicama and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to soften the vegetables slightly. Place the lettuce on a platter and then spoon the apple mixture over the top.  Sprinkle the pecans on the top and serve. Serves 6.

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AVOCADO AND MANGO WITH SPICY TAHINI YOGURT DRESSING
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of ground coriander
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
3 mangos, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make the dressing combine the yogurt and tahini in a bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Add the cumin, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Divide the avocado and mango slices between 6 plates. Spoon the dressing over and sprinkle with almonds.

Modified from Taste of Israel by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg

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FRESH HERB TUNA PASTA WITH YOGURT DILL SAUCE
1 cup orzo pasta
3 green onions (sliced thin tops included)
1 green bell pepper (minced fine)
1 red bell pepper (minced fine)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup black or kalmata olives (finely diced)
2 eggs (hardboiled finely diced)
2 tsp. fresh dill (finely minced)
1 tbs. dill (fresh, finely minced)
2 tsp. celery seeds
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. fresh parsley (chopped)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
6 oz tuna in water (drained)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
salt
pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to quick chill, drain well and pour into large mixing bowl.  Stir in green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, egg, fresh herbs, mustard, and parsley; mixing well.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, tuna and cheese, mix well; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a bell pepper slice, sliced tomato or additional cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Sharon Barlone West Bloomfield, Mich.

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RIGATONI WITH YOGURT LIME SAUCE
4 cups cooked rigatoni pasta
2 cups frozen peas
1 red pepper diced small

Sauce:
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp. minced garlic
Zest of lime
Lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced thin
Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the yogurt, garlic, and lime zest. Mix to combine and add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir well and set aside.
Just before draining pasta add the diced pepper and peas to the pot and let cook for 1 minute. Save 1 cup of the salted pasta water and then drain the rest.  Return pasta and peas to pot.  Stir in yogurt sauce.  Add the saved pasta water slowly mixing until you get the desired consistency for the sauce.  Serve immediately, topped with green onions and Parmesan. Serves 4.

© Eileen Goltz yogurt11a shavuot


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