Friday, August 17, 2012

Bon Appetit! Here's to Julia.

What's not to like about someone who makes learning something easy and fun?  And is entertaining in the process?  That is how I viewed Julia Child on The French Chef and her multiple PBS shows.  I just finished reading her autobiography, My Life in France, written with her grandnephew, Alex Prud'Homme.  It is a great read, charming and sweet in a Julia way.  There is something very endearing about this 6'2'' tall American woman who fell in love with France and brought back to the U.S. French cooking techniques in the era of T.V. dinners and Jell-O.  She taught me to try everything when it comes to cooking: BE FEARLESS!  I took her at her word and have loved the journey.  

In honor of what would have been Julia's 100th birthday on August 15th, I am sharing TWO amazing and simple recipes for you to try.  One is for making homemade yogurt which I will share in this post, and the second is what has come to be known as "The Wonder Bun" which will covered in my next post.  

  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk without any additives.  If you can obtain from a local dairy, go for it.
  • 4 ounces of Greek style, plain yogurt without additives or sugar.  Organic is best.  Make sure it has live cultures. It will state that on the label.
  • 2 quart sized glass bowl that fits in your microwave
  • thermometer
  • heating pad
  • 2 glass quart sized jars with lids

  1. Pour milk into your microwave proof bowl.

2. Heat 14 minutes.  This is about the amount of time it takes to raise the temperature to 175 degrees.  This will kill all bacteria if any in the milk and make it the perfect environment for the yogurt cultures.

3.  Remove the milk from the microwave and allow it to cool until it reaches 100 degrees.

4.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Whisk thoroughly to distribute the yogurt through the milk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Wrap the bowl with the heating pad set on the lowest setting.  I like to set my heating pad into a larger ceramic bowl.  I cover the glass bowl with a clean tea towel.  Then I set it all in the larger bowl and cover it with the heating pad.

5.  Allow the yogurt mixture to sit at 100 degrees for 5 hours.  Check the temperature of the mix occasionally to see if it is on target.  

6.  Check your mix after 5 hours.  You should see a firm set on the top of the mix.  If not set, recover and let sit for another hour.

7.  The yogurt will be semi-liquid but will hold its shape. Spoon it into your quart sized glass jars. As you scoop near the bottom of the bowl the yogurt will be much more liquid y.  Don't fret!  It will become more firm as it chills in the refrigerator. 

8.  Clean the tops of your jars, cover and set in your refrigerator to chill overnight.  If you want smooth yogurt without the small clumps, whisk the yogurt in the bowl before you put it into the jars


9..Spoon the chilled yogurt into a pretty dish, add your favorite fruit, jam, honey, granola, nuts, etc.  This yogurt has a very mild tang that goes with many flavors.  Here I have added fresh mango.  I like it without sweetener and just the fruit.  We like to have it for dessert with toppings and also in smoothies.  

I have made this with raw milk also. I found that with the raw milk, the yogurt separates into yogurt and whey.  The whey can be poured off and used in baking as you would use milk.  The whey contains most of the calcium and protein, so I choose to use homogenized milk and find that the whey doesn't separate.  

Try this out.  It's great to make things for yourself that you believe you cannot.  You will gain confidence in the kitchen, save yourself some money, eat good food without a lot of additives and cut down on containers thrown into a landfill.  I will share Julia's own advice, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 

Et, “Bon A Petiet"

-Julia Child 

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