Dec 22, 2005

Yogurt Cheese and Hummus


Yogurt Cheese is a lot like cream cheese but it's softer and tangier. It's very versatile and much healthier than cream cheese. It's easy to make but you need to start at least two days before you want to use it because it needs some time in the refrigerator to turn out just right. Once you make it you can flavor it any way you'd like. I made two varieties today. One was flavored with honey and cinnamon. I plan to use this as a spread for sweet crackers. The second half I flavored with garlic, dill, salt and pepper. I think it will taste great on whole grain crackers or as a sandwich spread. You can also try making this with flavored yogurt which will give you a "ready made" spread once it is ready to eat. Or if you use Yogurt Cheese made with plain yogurt in the same manner you would use sour cream or cream cheese such as adding a dip mix or using in a recipe.

Yogurt Cheese

1 (32 oz.) container of plain yogurt
plain white paper towels
strainer or colander

Line a strainer or colander with 3 thicknesses of cheese cloth or white paper towels. Set the strainer or colander over a large bowl then pour yogurt into the cheesecloth or paper towels. Cover with an additional two sheets of paper towel or cheesecloth. Set in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours so all the whey will drain from the yogurt. At this point I change the paper towels or cheese cloth and allow it to drain for another 12 to 24 hours. The longer you let it drain the thicker it will be. Once it has drained sufficiently transfer it to a bowl and mix in any desired flavorings or herbs and spices.

I am totally addicted to hummus! I think it must be the garlic... my absolute favorite. My kids love it too but it makes me cringe to buy the little tubs at the grocery store for $3 or more that last about 5 minutes in our house when snack time comes around. I had been searching for a recipe for a while and after comparing several I came up with this one. It turned out great and goes great with pita chips or raw vegetables. The hardest ingredient for me to find was the tahini (sesame seed paste) but I finally came across it at Trader Joe's. I recently found out that you can also buy it on-line. My next endeavor will be to try making the pita bread!

Hummus

2 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans, drained (save liquid)
3 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprkia
salt to taste

Put garbanzo beans into the bowl of a food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, cumin and paprika. Set on low speed and process until smooth, adding a little reserved liquid as needed until you reach the consistency of mashed potatoes. Taste for salt and add more if needed then process until well combines. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavor to develop. Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

6 comments:

Bakingfreak said...

Hello Michele,
I have to say that i absolutely LOVE your blog! It made my evening so nice, all snuggled up on the sofa with my laptop, your blog and some chocolates. I had a wonderfull evening!!! I'll visit your blog a lot from now on, as i've bookmarked you, because it is not so common for me to find a christian mom blog , filled with cooking and baking on a budget! Thank you so much for sharing this all...

Michele said...

Thank you so much for the nice compliment! I am going to add your recipe blog to my blog roll, you have so many tempting treats three... yum!

Paz said...

What an interesting combination -- yogurt cheese and hummus. A long, long time ago, I tried to make hummus but it didn't turn out right. Don't know what I did wrong. You've inspired me to try again. Thanks!

Paz

Michele said...

Paz, I wasn't sure I could pull it off either but it was surprisingly easy and very tasty! Give it a try, I think you will be pleased with the results.

Dawna said...

Lovely, Michele! I'm very fond of hummus - make it several times a year - and recently tried Molly's version over on Orangette - it's terrific, too, so if you ever want to switch it up a little, give hers a try. Homemade hummus is much healthier, too, because you can control the oil - I see you don't use any (excepting what's naturally in the tahini, I guess), but I like to add about a tablespoon to give it a rich feel. I also find that "lean" hummus firms up a bit in the fridge, so I often make it a little loose, because I know it will set more as it sits for a day or two. Hummus and tortilla roll-ups are one of my favourite quick snacks.

Yogurt cheese is one of those fantastic things that is hard to believe how good/easy/inexpensive it is. I particularly like using French Vanilla yogurt to make into yogurt cheese, because you can use it for a ton of things. Topping pavolva, for example, or as a layer-filling in a cake, or smeared on banana bread... the list really goes on!

Michele said...

Dawna, you're making me hungry! :) I can just imagine the french vanilla yogurt cheese on warm banana bread... yum! I will take a look at Molly's recipe, I don't think I could ever have too many varieties of hummus to try. Will try adding the olive oil next time as well, I can imagine it would add to the texture and flavor as well.