Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Skinny on Yogurt Cheese:

I heard you. You just gasped, “The skinny on WHAT?”

Yes, I’m going to talk about yogurt cheese. Hang on.

My name is T.W. Barritt and I am a cheese addict. Admitting you have a problem is half the battle.

I’ve struggled for years, in fact, ever since I had my first taste of Velveeta. The minute I walk in the door from a tough day at work, I crave cheese and crackers and a glass of ruby Pinot Noir. I admit the response is Pavlovian, a survival instinct I’ve cultivated during years in the business world. It’s like Snoopy’s love affair with cookies, or Garfield’s fatal attraction to lasagna. Gorgonzola, brie, cheddar or blue – my addiction knows no boundaries.

But it’s January, and I’ve been eating everything in site since mid-November. I need a “lighter” alternative to port wine cheese. As I was cleaning out a kitchen cabinet the other day, I came upon my answer – a yogurt strainer.

A yogurt strainer is a miraculous conical device that transforms plain, non-fat yogurt into a tangy cheese snack. Just drop a six-to-eight ounce container into the strainer and let it sit, covered, in a tall container for 5 hours or more. The whey – which is the milky liquid in yogurt – strains through and what’s left, is a thick spread that is the consistency of cream cheese. It is reminiscent of the thicker, rich yogurt served in Middle Eastern countries. And, if you’re trying to tame the knoshing demons just a tad, one batch is only 80 calories – with zero fat calories – per 6 ounces.

The flavor combinations are as broad as your imagination. I added a teaspoon of roasted garlic and chives, but you can use citrus zest or a touch of tahini. Any strong flavor you enjoy will blend nicely with the savory goodness of the yogurt. It’s tastes great on a crisp wheat cracker.

After all, who wants to give up snacking completely?

© 2007 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

YUM!! I'm a dairyholic too :D with allergies ta boot! :D

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, T.W., it's so good to know I'm not alone in this world!! :D

I'm a cheese fan(atic?) too and love it so much.

This is a great way to cut down some of those nasty calories, right?

I should find me a yogurt strainer. :D

Jann said...

Hopefully, I could loose a few pounds... following in your footsteps-I think we all over-induldge during the holidays-a very delicious dish ,indeed!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Patricia - I should have mentioned that cheese cloth or a fine strainer works just as well!

Patricia Scarpin said...

T.W., that's great info!

Tks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hmmn, this looks so good. I've done the strain the yoghurt thing before. Tied the cheesecloth over the sink. I used it to make some Indian cuisine...can't remember now what that was.