HOMEMADE ORGANIC YOGURT

Ingredients: 

1/2 gallon of organic whole milk

4 tbs organic plain yogurt

Process: 

Pour 1/2 gallon of organic whole milk into a stainless steel pot, put burner heat on high. Whisk milk almost continuously, this prevents the milk from burning at the bottom. You may feel the milk start to stick and that’s fine (continue to whisk without touching the whisk to the bottom of the pan).

Let your milk boil up three times. I take the pot off the heat each time and then return it to heat until it boils up again. Once it starts to boil and foam, it will rise quickly, so keep a close eye on it at all times.

After the third time, take the pot off the heat completely, set aside, and let the milk cool for an hour (set a timer so you don’t forget about it!)

After an hour, preheat the oven to the “warm” setting, sporadically put the yogurt into the milk (in tbs amounts). You don’t need to mix it, just plop it in in four different spots. Put the pot in the oven (covered), turn the oven off, and let it sit in the oven for 24 hours.

After the 24hours is up, put the yogurt in the fridge and let it cool completely before indulging. Once it is cooled, it becomes thicker and more delicious. You’ll never eat store bought yogurt again…

dsc_0316photo of the milk after it has boiled up three times. It’s ready to sit for an hour (pictured above).

dsc_0419After 24 hours, the yogurt has formed. I love this moment (pictured above).

dsc_0421A close up of the yogurt after 24 hours. A cream top forms in some spots. I usually remove it by scraping a spoon across the top (pictured above).

dsc_0430The yogurt after the cream top is removed (pictured above).

TOMATO AND PESTO GRILLED CHEESE

Grilled cheese ingredients: 

1 slice havarti cheese

1 slice American cheese

1 slice white cheddar cheese

2 slices of rustic Italian bread (I always get fresh that day from our local bakery)

2-4 small slices of butter

Herbs for garnish (optional)

DSC_0338.JPG

Tomato pesto ingredients: 

1 large tomato

tsp of balsamic vinegar

Four herb pesto

Process: 

I add the tomato pesto to the sandwich after I cook the grilled cheese. I find that cooking the tomato in the sandwich does not optimize the flavor.

Cooking the grilled cheese…heat up your pan (medium heat) spread 1-2 small slices of butter on one side of each slice of bread. Put the first slice (butter side down) in the pan. Add your cheese. Put the second slice of bread on top of the cheese (butter side up). Cover the pan and turn down heat to low. Let the grilled cheese cook until the first side is golden brown and then flip to brown the other side. You may need to turn the heat up a little when you flip to the second side if your cheese is already fully melted.

Assembling the tomato pesto…turn the large tomato on its size and thinly slice it. I always buy harder tomatoes vs. soft. They taste better and are easier to slice without becoming mush. Take teaspoons of your four herb pesto (view receive here) and spread it on the tomatoes. Drizzle a tsp of balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes.

Combing the two and knocking your socks off…simply open your grilled cheese and add a tomato or two. I eat the tomatoes that didn’t make it onto my sandwich as is, and they’re delicious.

FOUR HERB PESTO

Ingredients: 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 fresh parsley leaves

10 leaves of fresh oregano (1 tsp if dried)

1 tbs of parmesan

1 tbs of pumpkin (or pepitas) seeds

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove (cored – cut the glove in half and remove the heart, this prevents it from having a bitter taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Process: 

Blend all ingredients with a food processor until they become one.  Cook dried pasta (of your choice), strain the pasta almost completely, but keep a small amount of the salted pasta water (just enough so the pasta is not dry). Thoroughly mix the pesto sauce in with your pasta. If you have extra, don’t fret. I always use the left over as a salad dressing (I mix the pesto sauce with a little bit of vinegar and toss it with mixed greens).

Enjoy!

GNOCCHI WITH SIMPLE RED SAUCE

FRESH GNOCCHI:

Boil 5-6 LARGE POTATOES (YELLOW) in water without salt. Once cooked, peel and crush the potatoes. Add 1 TSP OF SALT to the potatoes.

Add 1 CUP OF SIFTED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR to potatoes (add the flour in three parts, you can always add more if the dough is still sticky, but don’t let it get too dry). Combine flour and potatoes, and knead for approximately 15 minutes or until rendered smooth.

Cut the dough into small pieces and roll each one into little rods (1 cm thick). Cut into little nuggets. Use your finger (or a fork) to make indents in each nugget (optional). Flour the gnocchi so they don’t stick. Add gnocchi to boiling water. When the water boils and the gnocchi float to the top, they’re ready to eat.

dsc_0225Potatoes after they’re peeled and crushed (pictured above).

dsc_0251The gnocchi dough cut and rolled into a rod (pictured above).

dsc_0253The gnocchi after they’re cut into little nuggets and indented (pictured above).

SIMPLE RED SAUCE:

Fill the bottom of your pan with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. Add CHOPPED ONIONS and cook until they are soft/transparent. Add 2 LARGE GARLIC GLOVES and 1 28 OZ CAN OF TOMATO PUREE OR CRUSHED TOMATOES. Add 2 LARGE STEMS (WITH LEAVES) OF BASIL (you can take this out at the end). Add a small handful of fresh or 1-2 TSP of dry PARSLEY. Add SALT AND PEPPER to taste. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.