Monday, July 23, 2007

Product Review: Fage Yogurt

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I've never known before that there was such an animal as Greek yogurt. Well, of course there would be Greek yogurt, but I didn't know that it was more special than any other kind.

Until I read this month's Prevention magazine.

There are several recipes for Greek foods, such as Souvlaki, Village Salad with Feta, and Tzatziki, a yogurt and cucumber dip.

The Tzatziki calls for Greek yogurt. Never heard of it, so naturally I googled. Greek yogurt is touted as being creamier than most, and that creamy-ness is attributed to a "centuries-old process that involves straining to let the whey drain out."

Hmmm...sounds like what I do when I want to use yogurt cheese. When I have a recipe that calls for yogurt cheese, I'll buy plain yogurt, line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, dump the yogurt in there, and let it drain into a bowl for a few hours (while in the fridge). The result is yogurt that is much less watery.

The author of this Prevention article says that she uses Fage Greek -style yogurt. Googling that, I found all kinds of warnings about how expensive it is, and hard to find. So I prepared to buy the regular plain stuff and strain it for my Tzatziki.

But there was Fage (pronounced "Fah-yeh") at Harris Teeter, costing about 40 cents more per container than Dannon. Sounded reasonable to me.

Here's the recipe for Tzatziki from Prevention, August 2007.

2 C Greek-style yogurt (I used whole, but it comes in 2% and nonfat too)
1 C peeled, grated cucumber, spun dry in a salad spinner
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 tsp ground red pepper

Mix it all together and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with warm pita bread.

I made a batch of this for our Posse Party last night and it was virtually inhaled by every person there. (Which is good, because I'm sure all of us are exhaling garlic today.) Even the picky eaters ate this stuff. We decided it would be a good salad dressing or baked potato topping as well. I made beef kebabs with an Indian-style marinade, and the beef pieces were quite good dipped in Tzatziki.

I used fresh-pulled, non-aged garlic, so I cut back to 3 cloves. I also didn't spin the cucumber. I put it and the garlic in my mesh sieve and pressed the juice out with a paper towel.

Apparently this yogurt dip is considered to be a necessary condiment for the table in Greece, much like ketchup is to the American household.

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