For a couple of years now, I have been enraptured by Greek Yogurt. Other food obsessions come and go (dark chocolate with chiles, olives stuffed with Feta, persimmons) but this creamy white stuff was (to paraphrase Jewel) “meant for me, and I was meant for it.” It is luxury at a reasonable price, and decadence that builds strong bones and involves very few calories. It really is a healthy food that I want to eat, and one which plays well with other things that are good for me.
Greek Yogurt is “regular yogurt” strained to remove the whey. It is made from either Cow or Sheep’s milk, although the cow’s milk variety is the easiest to find in the U.S. (at least that is true in the Midwest-that-isn’t-Chicago, where I live). The straining leaves it thicker and closer in consistency to sour cream than, say, your average Dannon, Yoplait or Blue Bunny.
I buy Fage brand, which is what’s available where I live. Its more expensive than the Yoplait I can get 10 of for $6.00, and it doesn’t come in fruity flavors (although you can get it in little divided containers with jam or honey on the other side). The thing is, I can eat a carton of Yoplait Light Strawberry and feel virtuous because it was good for me and only cost 60 cents, or I can eat a carton of Fage with a little honey and some almonds and feel happy, satisfied and lucky even though it costs $1.79. I’d rather indulge less often and be…indulging.
I eat the 2% variety, which for 130 calories and 4 fat grams is a sublime, sensuous experience. I put a little honey in it; not enough to make it really “sweet,” just enough to balance the tartness of the yogurt. When I am cutting back I eat the 0% Fage (80 calories, 0 fat grams) with some sugar-free jam, and rarely, as a treat I have a cup of the Fage “Classic,” which gives me calcium, protein and ecstasy for only a few more calories than a Snicker’s bar.
Greek Yoghurt also hold up during cooking and baking, and I’ve used it as a substitute for both Creme Fraiche (which I can’t get here) and sour cream in recipes. Its also great in Tzatziki sauce, breakfasts and desserts and in marinades for chicken or other proteins. I have more than once used it to thicken an improvised pan sauce (and my yogurt-hating husband was none the wiser), or mixed it with honey and fruit to make a fruit salad for guests. If you call it “yah-gurt” (in a posh British accent) you’ll feel even better about whatever you cook, as in: “oh, I just mixed up some Greek yogurt and strawberries; it was really nothing!”
Try it. You’ll like it.