Category Archives: Side Dishes

Homemade yogurt

We got a yogurt maker for Christmas, and I just made the first batch of homemade yogurt.  It tastes delicious and more like yogurt I had in Europe than the stuff here in the states.  And it’s pretty easy to make.  Here’s how I made mine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 packet Yogourmet starter

The first step is to heat the milk.  I heated the milk on low to medium heat until bubbles formed around the edge of the pan and steam began to rise.  It’s important to stir the milk frequently as it heats so it doesn’t burn.  Once the milk is heated, I transfered the milk to a glass container and let it cool to the proper temperature.  (The yogurt maker came with a thermometer that displays the proper temperature).  Then I stir in the sugar.  The recipe the yogurt maker came with does not include sugar, but websites I read said sugar is an important part of the process so I added it.  Once the milk cools to the proper temperature, I blended the starter with a little bit of the warm milk then mixed everything together.  Then I transfered the milk/starter mixture into the yogurt maker cups and let them sit in the maker for 10 hours.

The yogurt was runny when I pulled it from the machine but it set up when left in the fridge in a glass container for a few hours. I mixed homemade peach jam into the yogurt and ate it for breakfast.  It’s also good with honey.  If you like tart yogurt then try it with pomegranate.  My next undertaking is to make homemade sour cream…

Jamaican Pear and Bacon Salad

Ryan and I were invited over for dinner a couple of times last weekend. Both invites asked us to bring a salad, so we pulled out our salad book, found one that fit well and made some changes. Both couples that invited us over have good taste in food and have traveled a lot. It’s hard to know what to bring that will be received well in situations like this. Here’s what we came up with:

It looks amazing, doesn’t it? It’s very simple and has some amazing flavor. You’ll look effortlessly talented.

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 5 cups watercress or spinach
  • Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Dressing:
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (creamed is best)
  • ground ginger
  • balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven broiler to high. Arrange bacon on tin-foil covered cookie sheet and sprinkle Jerk seasoning generously. Watch carefully so that the broiler doesn’t burn the bacon. Flip bacon when it looks halfway done, sprinkle Jerk seasoning on the uncooked side.Finish cooking, then allow to cool. Tear into 1/2 – 1/4 inch pieces.
Dry-fry walnuts in a skillet on medium heat for three minutes, or until browned.
Cut pear into slices, toss in extralemon juice to prevent browning.
To make the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and honey in a bowl; whisk until well-mixed. Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and season with salt, pepper, and ginger to taste. Dressing should be sweet, yet have a zing.
You can toss all together in a bowl, but I think the results end up being more presentable and the flavors more completely balanced when you arrange on individual plates.
This is an easy recipe that is sure to become a crowd favorite.

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