Showing posts with label Greek yogurt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek yogurt. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beat the Heat: Go Greek (Yogurt)

Everyone's getting into the Greek yogurt craze: this food proprietor's sign greeted me as I entered our Midtown office building today: "Put Your Greek On." The store, Fresh, is adding a yogurt station to its expensive salads and lunchtime health nibbles. Let's see if the yogurt is thickened in a pure way.
Yogurt has become my theme of the summer: earlier I wrote about New York's yogurt summit, and have learned more about Chobani, the upstart yogurt company founded by entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya.
Ulukaya is Kurdish and Turkish and grew up on a dairy farm in Turkey. He came to New York and tried feta cheese manufacturing before launching a strained yogurt enterprise.
His story in this video, and the one below:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Liz Lemon Greek Ben & Jerry's

Yiayia would never put lemon in her yogurt or put yogurt in the "freeza." But you have to love this very New York frozen yogurt tribute to 30 Rock character Liz Lemon, AKA actress and writer Tina Fey, who yes, has some Hellenic heritage. I only caught one Greek reference in the show - when the daffy assistant is engaged to a guy named Dimitri.
This ad is in the 49th Street Times Square train station, and shows the show's namesake Rockefeller Center edifice nearby. Is this Ben & Jerry's flavor available in other parts of the country?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yogurt, Whey & Greek-Turk Battle For Domination

New York recently played host to a yogurt summit.
That's right. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was front and center, too.
Despite its Big Apple reputation, New York is a state full of dairy farms. And it turns out the national craze - strained, thick Greek yogurt – is boosting milk demand and producing tons of waste. Greek producer Fage has operations in New York’s Mohawk Valley, while Chobani - founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish man of Kurdish extraction - operates in the “Southern Tier” of the state. 
The summit addressed just what to do with the runoff from straining yogurt, otherwise known as “whey.” I think of whey as a good thing. I think that's what Mediterranean food shops use to store feta. One would think industrial bakers could use it, or that someone could bottle a branded, new lassi or salty-mint drink. Instead, this Modern Farmer article totally demonizes the yogurt byproduct as "acid whey" and says it's a potential environmental hazard. One Upstate New York farmer tried to turn whey into electricity, but it cost millions.
There is another way to take the whey away: just artificially thicken the yogurt.
This 2012 NPR story explains the battle - mostly for yogurt authenticity - and says one Turkish dairy products company has studied just how to get the Greek "residual mouth coating, meltaway and jiggle."
Kiss a Greek, perhaps?
My advice: make yogurt at home. Here's a recipe for thick, Greek yogurt. Boil lots of milk, and cool it just enough to mix with some already-made yogurt. (My rule: it's just cool enough if you can hold your pinky in the hot milk for about 10 seconds). Then let the mixture sit in a warm place (that requires more finagling in winter). Strain. The above recipe says use an old t-shirt for straining. Greek grandmothers are known to use cheesecloth.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Payne Loves Mama

Alexander Payne may have received the Oscar for his adaptation on The Descendants, but he deserves another for dedicating it to his mother, and telling her Σ´αγαπω - "I love you" in Greek - on national TV. Maybe John Stamos will pop over with a case of Danon's oddly pronounced Greek yogurt being advertised all night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cooking Odyssey

UPDATE 2/2014: The Cooking Odyssey went into a third season, with a new chef. For PBS reruns via Create TV, listings may be here.

PBS is hosting a Greek cooking show called The Cooking Odyssey, shot in Greece and an eco-friendly American studio kitchen. Host and Chef Yanni is an Oxford PhD in molecular epidemiology. Which guarantees you won't get botulism trying to make his yogurt in your own κουζίνα. I met the jovial producer George Stamou last week, who got funding from corporate sponsors. He had no luck with the Greek government, which probably would have pushed a national dandelion diet as part of its economic austerity plan.
Chicagoans will only get to see the show via the Milwaukee PBS station the next five Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.; New Yorkers can watch it on WLIW Channel 21 for the next three Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., and then the schedule is odd. A second season is in the works. Looks like the first season's recipes are from islands, and they trekked to Metsovo, arguably the cheese capital of Greece. I recently got to try Odyssey's "cheese mousse" -- not for lent, but might be good for Easter dessert, and very simple!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yogurt Cotton Kandaki

Yiayia would have been perplexed at yogurt-and-lemon-infused cotton candy, but boy, that's the tastiest, most inventive Greek sweet I have consumed in ages.
And it just might be Lenten, too. Karidopita, baked with real honey to connote the consistency of flourless chocolate cake, but with the taste of walnuts and spices, cannot be Lenten!
Those desserts capped an otherwise just-okay meal last night at Anthos, the midtown restaurant opened by a guy named Michael Psilakis, one of New York's most celebrated new chefs since Mario Batali. Inventive twists on Greek themes are his thing; he also runs Kefi on the Upper West Side. My peeve: his salads are unpleasantly salty. No matter. The New York Times loves him Q&A here and review here, and Esquire named him Chef of the Year. He still buys tea and spices in Astoria, for the photographers anyway. I don't know how he'll do in Midtown in a recession, especially with a $35 prix fixe promo.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Manti & Yogurt!

Little dumplings filled with a beef-onion-black pepper mix are called manti in Turkey, and I'm serving them tonight with a garlic-yogurt sauce.
We didn't eat these delicious-but-heavy dumplings growing up. Finding them was tough, even in New York City. But I discovered home-made manti at a deli in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where the halal butcher and proprietor, Ali, also makes bastourma, a reddish, cured meat. Ali was kind enough to give me a little of the paprika-red pepper spice I need to add flair to tonight's table and I bought some sour-cherry preserves. Mmmmm.
Ali is from near Bursa and says the peaches in the area are huge, and that people love to eat chestnuts, which he conveniently provided in candied form in a tiny $10 jar at the cash register.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Greek Islanders

Some Greek islanders who live to age 90 are the subject of an AARP longevity study.
I can tell them why Greeks live long: a rebellious spirit, and lots of yogurt. It helps that they eat plenty of seasonal veggies and walk a lot.
On the Isle of Hydra, which I visited for an exorbitant sum two weeks ago, residents this week blocked the arrival of boats. Their gripe: the loss of mega ferries that once dumped many more tourists in the tiny, gorgeous port. According to today's Kathimerini newspaper (in English), "residents on Hydra, in the Saronic Gulf, blocked the island’s main harbor for a second day ... locals gathered at the port Thursday and prevented a high-speed ferry from docking." A little moonshine -- raki -- probably gets those yiayiades and papoudes ready for their morning protests. "Nothing in excess" as Solon and others have said.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In search of a frappe coffee this morning, I wandered into a Greek-owned take-out place on Wall Street called "Koyzina Kafe."

The front counter was lined with Nescafe coffee tins. Despite its Greek name, in Greek script no less, the only Greek food in the place was Fage-brand yogurt with cherry, strawberry or honey.

They serve frappe, but only iced, pre-made with milk and a decent amount of sugar.