YOGURT: MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT
In her latest cookbook, Janet Fletcher, the award winning Napa-based cheese writer and educator, comes clean—she loved yogurt first. “Frozen yogurt” hadn’t even been invented when she was regularly taking little cartons of store-bought yogurt that she stashed overnight in her home freezer to school. Tucked into her lunch bag, the yogurt would be slushy and spoonable by noon. She acknowledges that this may not have been the safest practice in steamy Texas, but she’s still here!
In Yogurt: Sweet & Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Ten Speed Press, 2015), Fletcher offers all of us Johnny Come Latelys to the yogurt party a thorough and well-crafted guide to the myriad of yogurt choices found on today’s grocery shelves, as well as easy-to-follow instructions on how to make your own for the truly inspired.
The beautiful book also explores yogurt as an ingredient in delicious and diverse recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as in desserts and beverages. We especially love the Hanger Steak with Red Onion Raita and Greek Yogurt Sorbet for the summer season.
Janet’s new book can be found at many local booksellers, as well as online. Janet herself can be found at JanetFletcher.com, as well as in person at frequent local book signings and classes including a yogurtmaking class at Healdsburg SHED on June 13 and at Ramekins in Sonoma on July 26.
Reprinted with permission from Yogurt, by Janet Fletcher, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
PHOTOS BY EVA KOLENKO
GREEK YOGURT SORBET
When sweetened and churned in an ice-cream maker, Greek yogurt tastes like lemon cheesecake.
Serve with summer fruits, fresh or cooked; with fruit pies, cobblers and crisps; or blanketed with a warm fruit sauce. I love it with fresh apricots or peaches dotted with butter and brown sugar, then broiled until they begin to caramelize. And with or without the fruit, a drizzle of honey never hurts.
Yield: 6 servings
4 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt (store-bought, or see the book to make your own!)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, sieved to eliminate lumps
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
TO PREPARE AND SERVE
In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Chill well, and then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a lidded storage container, cover and freeze for at least 1 hour to firm.
At serving time, remove the sorbet from the freezer. If it is hard or icy, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to scoop. Put a generous scoop in each of 6 serving dishes.
GRILLED HANGER STEAK WITH GRILLED RED ONION RAITA
Grilled red onion adds sweet and smoky notes to this raita (yogurt salad). Be patient and cook the onion slowly so it softens fully and develops that campfire aroma. Folded into yogurt with toasted cumin and mustard seeds, the grilled onion makes an unusual raita to serve with grilled beef, lamb burgers or chicken thighs. I think hanger steak is one of the most underrated cuts on the steer. It has a tough membrane running through it that you have to grapple with—directions follow—but the rich, beefy flavor will reward you.
Yield: 4 main course servings
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STEAK 1 1⁄3 to 1 1/2 pounds hanger steak
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns (white, black, green, pink), crushed in a mortar or with a pepper grinder
INGREDIENTS FOR RED ONION RAITA
1 large red onion (10 to 12 ounces)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (store-bought or see the book to make your own!)
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro or 1. teaspoons finely minced fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
TO PREPARE THE STEAK
Hanger steak has a tough membrane running down the center. You can leave this membrane in place, trimming it away as you eat the steak, or you can remove it before grilling. The latter is my preference, as the meat is easier for guests to eat with no pesky membrane to cut around. To remove the membrane, use a boning knife or other sharp knife to slice carefully on either side of it and lift it out cleanly, with little or no meat attached. You will be left with 2 disconnected strips of hanger steak. Rearrange them side by side and tie in several places with butcher’s twine to re-create a single steak.
Combine the salt and crushed pepper. Season the meat all over with the mixture. Set a flat rack on a tray and set the meat on the rack so air circulates underneath. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before grilling.
Prepare a moderate charcoal fire in the center of your grill, leaving the outer rim devoid of coals so you can grill the red onions over indirect heat. Alternatively, preheat a gas grill to medium, leaving one burner unlit for indirect grilling.
Grill the hanger steak directly over the coals or gas flame, turning once, until the meat is done to your taste, about 10 minutes for rare. (Hanger steak is best if not cooked beyond medium-rare.) Let rest 5 minutes. Remove the string (if you tied the meat) and slice thinly against the grain. Serve immediately with the red onion raita.
TO PREPARE THE RAITA
Peel the onion and slice neatly into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Carefully thread a thin bamboo skewer through each slice to hold the rings together. Brush the slices with oil on each side, and season with salt and pepper on each side. Grill over indirect heat—not directly over the coals or gas flame–turning once, until the onions are soft and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Do not rush them or they will blacken before they are fully cooked. Transfer to a cutting board and pull out the skewers. If the outer ring of the onion slices is dry and papery, discard it. Chop the remainder of the onion coarsely.
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, cilantro or mint and cumin. In a small skillet or butter warmer, warm 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Have the skillet lid handy. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Protecting your face with the lid, cook until the mustard seeds pop and become fragrant, 1 minute or less. Pour the hot oil and mustard seeds over the yogurt and stir in. Fold in the grilled onion. Season with salt to serve.