Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We all scream for...Yogurt?

This weeks recipe was bitter-sweet. Bitter because it was my last recipe from Alton Brown! Sweet because my next set of recipes are Bobby Flay!! I love Bobby Flay and am excited to start grilling, which is something I always leave Adam to do. So it will be fun to do new recipes while learning to grill at the same time!

First, before even starting the recipe, I had to find an ice cream maker. I read the recipe before hand (tip learned from previous recipes, ie English Muffins) and realized I needed an ice cream maker and instead of buying one that I would never use, it was my mission to find someone that would let me borrow theirs. My mission was short lived, being that my Mom had one and conveniently she is staying with Adam and I right now! Once I had the basics down, it was off to Kroger to get my ingredients. Luckily, Adam was off work the week of Christmas and was able to go to the store while I was at work and round up everything I needed! My plan was to have the lemon-ginger yogurt on Christmas Day! A break from the normal Holiday treats...something different.

I woke up Christmas morning and first things first, I had to open up all of my gifts from Adam!! I was so excited because I already knew I was getting a Food Processor, something I have wanted for a while! Yes, I'm bad and guess my gifts before the actual day, and Adam is bad and tells me if I'm right or wrong! So after opening all my wonderful kitchen gadgets (garlic chopper-you put the garlic inside this little car looking thing with wheels and roll it on your counter and it chops the garlic for you, cheese grater-one of those big bell looking graters with different grating sections, food processor-self explanatory, julienner-SUPER sharp slicer that makes all sort of fun shapes and MUCH MORE) it was off to start making Christmas lunch/dinner and my frozen yogurt.

First, you must separate the curds from the whey in your yogurt. Basically the curds are the solid particles (the ones you want to keep) and the whey is the liquid that you see when you first open the yogurt, before stirring it. You don't want your whey, because this would hinder your yogurt from becoming a solid and turning into and ice cream-like frozen treat. So you have to use a colander (or splatter screens, which is what I used) lined with cheese cloth, set over a large bowl, so that the whey has something to drip into. After reading the recipe many times, I knew I would have to go through this process, but completely over-looked the fact that this would take 12hrs and it was now 10am!! There was no way I could get this done and have the Frozen Yogurt on Christmas! It seemed as if my plans had been ruined, until I decided to pull out the laptop and watch the actual show Alton Brown did on the recipe to see if JUST MAYBE there was a short-cut. Low and behold, there was! The 12hr time frame is for gravity to naturally pull out the whey from the curds. Well to speed up this process you simply FORCE gravity. I'll explain: You take your cheese cloth-lined colander set over a bowl, spoon the yogurt onto the cheese cloth and fold the cheese cloth over the yogurt to keep it clean and then take a tupperware lid or any kind of flat lid that you have and place it on top. Then you take a soup can or anything that is heavy (but not TOO heavy) on top of the lid and PRESTO you force gravity and instead of waiting 12hrs you cut your time to 4hrs! This was definitely do-able, we would just have yogurt as a late night, after dinner snack!

SIDE NOTE: Make sure you buy yogurt that CONTAINS live and active cultures, not yogurt MADE with live and active cultures. Made with means that they were once live, but are now dead.

So after crossing my first hurdle, it was a waiting game. I just had to let the yogurt sit in the fridge and drain for 4 hrs. I started with a soup can on top of the lid at first and then moved to a ketchup bottle and then to a bag of flour! You could say that I'm not the most patient person in the world!! It worked out great though, because during this 4 hours I was able to spend Christmas with my family, play a few games of farkle and let all the food we had eaten throughout the day settle! Once the whey has separated from your curds your yogurt should be a cream cheese-like texture. You could actually use this as a spread for crackers or add ingredients to make it a cheese ball and it is much healthier than actual cream cheese (just a little extra tid-bit for you people with the New Years resolution to lose weight). I discarded the whey and emptied my yogurt into a medium bowl and threw away my cheese cloth. It was time to start using 1 of my new gadgets...the cheese grater!! Except I used it to grate my lemon zest and ginger instead! If you have never worked with ginger root before, do not be afraid! It was my first time as well and for some reason I heard it was hard to work with, but in fact it was really easy! I just used my vegetable peeler (sorry Angela, I went back to being lazy and didn't use your nifty techniques you showed me with the knife) and peeled away the outer "skin" and then grated 1 tablespoon to add with my yogurt. On top of that I grated 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice! It smelled so good already, that I wanted to just stop and devour it then, but knew other people would probably want to enjoy some too. Then you just throw in your corn syrup and sugar and it is prepped and ready for the ice cream maker!

I had never used an ice cream maker, so I enlisted the assistance of my Mom. We put the yogurt in the mixing bowl part and then filled it up with ice-salt-ice-salt...and plugged it in and...NOTHING! It didn't budge an inch, so we fidgeted with it again and plugged it in and....NOTHING! It still wasn't moving, so we fidgeted again and again and this goes on for about 15 minutes until we finally decide that either 1. the yogurt is too thick so the ice cream maker thinks it is done and won't churn or 2. the ice cream maker is broken (which it was bought in 2006, but had only been used once, so we assumed 1. was the safest bet). We came to the conclusion that we were just going to have to churn it by hand. Sounds easy right? NO! It only had about a 1 inch knob on top that you would have to spin for 25minutes (probably longer, since we were doing it by hand and were slower). So feeling defeated, I call Adam into the kitchen and ask him to trade off with my Mom and I on spinning the ice cream maker for about 30 minutes. Adam, determined that he wasn't going to spin a 1in knob for any amount of time says, "WAIT A DAMN MINUTE"!?!?! If you know Adam you can hear him saying this and you are probably laughing right now! He runs off, leaving my Mom and I bewildered as to what is going on and quickly returns with a hammer drill. Thinking, in my head, that he is going to beat the crap out of the machine until it works, he corrects me and shows me that we will use the drill instead of our hands to churn the mixer. I assured him this was exactly why I loved him so much and that he is a genius!! We are still singing his praises for saving us from hand churning the yogurt!!

With the drill in hand, we churned away for 20 minutes and at the end it looked fantastic! It still isn't ready to eat at this point though. I chopped up my crystallized ginger (which is super yummy and SUPER expensive for such a little bottle) and gently folded it into the mixture. I placed it in an air tight container and put it in the freezer for about 2hrs. It was well worth the wait once the 2hrs was up and we were able to try it. By this time it was about 9:00 at night and we were all stuffed from all the food we had eaten that day, but managed to each have a couple scoops of yogurt!

My plan worked out and we were all able to enjoy frozen yogurt on Christmas Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season and a Happy New Year! Here is to a New Year filled with new recipes!!!

PS: We tested the ice cream maker with water to see if our theory of the yogurt being too thick was right and we were wrong. The poor ice cream maker had sadly just given out from lack of being used! RIP ice cream maker 2006-2009 :(

Recipe Rating: Medium if you have a faulty ice cream maker or want a quick recipe!
Good Leftover: YES! Just like ice cream it will last for a while!
Tip: Think outside of the box when you run into a problem, there is almost always an easier solution than your first thought!!
Stay tuned in 2 weeks-Charred Corn Guacamole with Chips

You can find the Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt recipe here:

1 comment:

  1. Adam is a freaking genious!!! Thanks for letting me try the "yogurt"...YUM-O!!