Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Greek Yogurt Cookbook: Includes Over 125 Delicious, Nutritious Greek Yogurt Recipes

The Greek Yogurt Cookbook: Includes Over 125 Delicious, Nutritious Greek Yogurt Recipes
Author: Lauren Kelly
Publisher: Adams Media (2013)

Greek yogurt is definitely the health foodists’ darling these days. Thick, tart and full of pre- and probiotics, it’s a fantastic addition to the modern diet. It’s natural rich, yet “blank slate” flavour profile adds to it’s versatility, making it a boon to the home cook. This diversity beyond a simple breakfast food and smoothie medium is extolled by nutritionist Lauren Kelly in her latest book: The Greek Yogurt Cookbook: Includes Over 125 Delicious, Nutritious Greek Yogurt Recipes.

Greek Yogurt takes the plain dairy staple and transforms it into a wide array of taste sensations. Vegetarian items throughout the book are symbolized for easy reference – and with a handful of exceptions (mainly in the EntrĂ©e chapter) the recipes generally fit this dietary choice. Readers will find more standard uses for Greek yogurt, like Tzatziki Dip (p. 36) and Coffee Cake (p. 136), as well as more innovative items like Buffalo Chicken Pasta (p. 127) and Roasted Tomato Galette (p. 88). Not to be left out, there is also an entire chapter dedicated to smoothies – my favourite two being the Chocolate Peanut Butter (p. 55) and Oatmeal Cookie Dough (p. 66) varieties. When I made the Oatmeal Cookie Dough recipe, I swapped out the almond butter for cashew, which I felt lent a richer, less pronounced nuttiness while still keeping the “baked” flavour of the original (and is a trick I picked up from Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Over 100 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Recipes that are Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, and Grain-Free).  There are no photos of the dishes except on the cover and a smattering in the centre insert, which while not a deal-breaker is certainly something to consider if you are a visual learner.

Rich Chocolate Yoghurt Frosting
Deep Chocolate Frosting (p. 141)
Since my family is generally not a fan of Greek yogurt au naturale, we were fascinated by what Kelly offered in her recipes. I used both storebought and homemade yogurts when cooking from this book, and as long as the consistency of the ingredient was thick and dense the amount of fat generally didn’t make an impact. For instance, the aforementioned smoothies were made with our usually purchased 0% brand, as was the Shrimp and Spinach Pasta Medley (p. 119) that we enjoyed between Christmas and New Year’s. The homemade yoghurt, clocking in at about 2% fat, made a surprisingly rich Deep Chocolate Frosting (p. 141) that had the perfect amount of tang to cut the icing sugar. I did, however, opt for the full-fat (10%) variety when I made the Chunky Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil (p. 41), given that it was a longer stovetop preparation and I didn’t want to risk it curdling in the heat. The soup was definitely my mom’s favourite recipe from the book – to quote her, the finished dish “tastes like an Italian Summer’s tomato sauce”. While cooking, it certainly evoked memories of past years’ long-simmered tomato sauces, and I’m sure that it would in fact be perfectly serviceable over a bed of linguine. 

Creamy Tomato Soup
Chunky Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil (p. 41)

Being a nutritionist, Kelly also makes sure to include a brief but important discussion in Greek Yogurt on the nutritional qualities of her star ingredient. While nowhere near a textbook’s worth of information, it is still a worthwhile read for those considering jumping on the yogurt bandwagon but are concerned that it is all simply a fad.

The simplicity in a bowl of creamy Greek yogurt is a pleasure all unto itself. However, it is also a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can make a meal truly special. Lauren Kelly realizes this and brings the delicious world of Greek yogurt to the masses with The Greek Yogurt Cookbook: Includes Over 125 Delicious, Nutritious Greek Yogurt Recipes – now a staple on my bookshelf.

Available on Amazon

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