Yogurt (Blogging for Books review)

This is the perfect jumping-off point if you’re new to cooking and baking with yogurt and are looking for more ways to incorporate it into your diet; I frequently eat yogurt at least twice a day and use it in a variety of dishes as a marinade, in baking, etc., and really appreciated the quick, easy ideas in “Yogurt,” particularly the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian accents.

Far beyond simple parfaits or yogurt-based dips such as tzatziki, yogurt can be used as the base for a number of versatile appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes (particularly as a marinade for meats), and desserts. In “Yogurt,” Janet Fletcher (longtime contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the Planet Cheese newsletter) collects a wide range of tantalizing recipes using yogurt, from breakfast parfaits to more unusual applications such as Seared Mushrooms & Shallots in Yogurt with Garam Masala, Harissa-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Peppers, Cucumber Salad with Yogurt, Golden Raisins, Walnuts & Mint, and Indian Yogurt Pudding with Saffron, Cardamom & Toasted Nuts (Shrikhand).

You’ll find advice on making your own yogurt as well as selecting store-bought (as well as when it is acceptable to substitute lower-fat yogurt in a recipe), a great guide to seasonal fruit for breakfast parfaits, yogurt with eggs, and other add-ins. Many of these are suggestions more than recipes per se. Note that the book only refers to dairy-based yogurts; you won’t find suggestions or mentions of soy- or alternative non-dairy yogurts (hemp, coconut, rice, etc.).

I loved the appetizers section in particular, as Greek and Turkish mezze are some of my favorite foods on earth (and also vegetarian-friendly!). Recipes like Yogurt Cheese with Feta, Pumpkin Seeds and Za’atar, Grated Beet and Yogurt Salad with Beet Greens, and Chopped Summer Vegetable Salad with Farro, Yogurt and Za’atar make perfect summer meals when it’s too hot to cook. Meat dishes feature many Mediterranean-inspired lamb and yogurt dishes (including a recipe for homemade skillet flatbread for souvlaki), while veggie dishes offer a blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. I also loved the Fettuccine with Fried Onions, Yogurt and Poppy Seeds, and the light, fruit-based desserts like panna cotta, Warm Baked Figs with Pernod, Candied Walnuts and Yogurt, and Yogurt Mousse with Orange Marmalade and Toasted Almonds. Along the way, gorgeous photographs will inspire you to make many (if not all!) of the dishes in this book.You’ll also find a selection of yogurt-based drinks such as Indian lassi, smoothies, and ayran. Finally, a fairly thorough bibliography and list of mail order / online resources for supplies will give you plenty of tools to embark on your own yogurt journey.

*I received this book through Blogging for Books

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