In the same way, yogurt can be used as a dip.
Consider whipping it into hummus for a nice
consistency, suggests Tim Reardon, culinary
director for The Food Group, New York, a
marketing/advertising agency that provides
culinary support for clients, including The
Dannon Co. Inc., White Plains, N. Y.
MAKE A NICE SPREAD
Think of how mayonnaise-based spreads could
be updated with yogurt, including the use of
yogurt cheese. It’s something that fits with the
movement in America to make calories count,
says celebrity chef Jon Ashton, who also is a
public advocate for ending childhood obesity.
Tim Reardon, Culinary Director The Food Group New York Yield: 12 ( 3 oz.) skewers, 6 portions Grilled Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Method: Combine yogurt, garlic paste, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, coriander, chili flakes, chopped rosemary and salt and pepper in mixing bowl; mix well. Pour over cubed chicken breast; marinate at least 20 minutes or up to 3 hours. To assemble skewers, with scissors, trim rosemary sprigs into 8-inch lengths. (Trim away top part of sprigs; reserve for future use.) Remove all but top 1-inch rosemary leaves. Skewer 5-6 pieces chicken from bottom of sprig up to remaining rosemary leaves. Season skewers with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat (keep rosemary leaves away from direct flame to avoid burning).
1½ cups plain yogurt
¼ cup roasted garlic paste
3 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
¼ cup olive oil
1 t. ground coriander
½ t. chili flakes
1 T. chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
3½ lbs. chicken breast, 1-inch cubes
12 large rosemary sprigs, soaked in
Ashton makes yogurt cheese as the base
for sandwich and panini spreads or to top
a baked potato, and notes how simple it is
to make. He lines a bowl with cheesecloth,
pours in yogurt, pulls up and ties the sides
of the cloth and hangs it over a bowl in the
refrigerator overnight to drip dry. If he needs
the cheese faster, he adds a weight to the
top of it. The result is yogurt cheese as a
foundation to add such flavors as garlic,
mint, cumin or cilantro.
Recipe developed on behalf of The
Dannon Co. Inc., White Plains, N. Y.
4Reardon also makes yogurt cheese, and advises that the longer it drains, the firmer
it becomes. “The end result is a creamy,
spreadable cheese, similar to goat cheese
or cream cheese in consistency,” he says. “It
can be a base for cake icing. I whip it with
powdered sugar and vanilla to make a nice
icing or with a little lemon for a lemony icing.”
MEET YOUR NEW TENDERIZER
There’s a lesson to learn from the Indian
favorite, tandoori chicken, which uses
yogurt as a marinade base. Ashton points
out that many chefs stick to the French
tradition of marinating with wine, but the
lactic acid in yogurt combines with meat to
help break down the protein and tenderize.
In his native England, he says the national
dish of fish and chips has been replaced
with chicken tikka masala, which is popular
for its yogurt marinade.
Consider applications for aïoli and how yogurt
could be the stand-in ingredient. You could
make a roasted garlic aïoli with yogurt as a
sandwich spread, Schweizer says. “It becomes
a little healthier and lighter than mayonnaise.”
When used as a marinade, make sure the
yogurt hasn’t been heat-treated, which will
inactivate the enzymes that are important
for breaking down protein, Schweizer says.
He suggests using yogurt as a marinade in
place of buttermilk for swordfish, shark or
any other seafood that is tough by nature.
EXPERIMENT WITH SAUCES
Don’t limit yogurt use to cold preparations.
You can take the marinade and turn it into
a sauce. When heating it for a braise or
sauce, Reardon suggests using a full-fat
Rather than rely on butter, this Spiced
Walnut Yogurt Sauce goes a different
direction for a refreshing, unexpected flavor.