It's Greek to me

March 16,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Have you noticed more and more “Greek style” yogurt popping up on your grocery shelves lately? Other than my husband’s knowledge of Greek yogurt (from a college trip there to stay with his best friend’s extended family), I had no experience with Greek yogurt, nor had I cooked with it until a couple years ago. When I started using Greek yogurt in recipes, I instantly saw its appeal: it is thicker, less runny and richer than it’s American cousin. But perhaps because it is not as widely available as traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt will cost you up to 2-3 times the cost of traditional yogurt. Want a money-saving, flavorful tip? Make your own Greek yogurt at home, with little effort at all. No, I am not suggesting you culture and created yogurt at home (something I have yet to try and have heard it quite tricky). But you can easily transform traditional yogurt into Greek-style with merely a strainer and a coffee filter, or alternatively, two paper towels. The goal with straining yogurt is to remove the excess liquid in traditional style yogurt until it becomes creamier like Greek-style. To do this, place a coffee filter or layer two paper towels * in the bottom of a large strainer. Scoop in the yogurt you wish to strain and place the strainer in a shallow bowl to catch the draining liquid. Place the yogurt in the fridge for half an hour or up to 8 hours. Be sure to check the bowl periodically to remove the drained liquid. After the excess liquid has been removed, the resulting yogurt will be creamier, richer and oh-so-good. It is perfect for dips or dressings, or as a treat, mixed with some maple syrup and drizzled over a dessert. Tuesday’s Tip of the week: Don’t feel like you have to spend extra money on Greek yogurt, make your own with some simple tools you probably already have on hand. (* only use plain paper towels, as you do not want the dyes in decorative paper towels to leach into your yogurt.) SPC