Culinary Literacy: April and May Recap

Happy June from the Culinary Literacy Center! This spring, we made vegan grain bowls, homemade yogurt, cherry cheesecake, basic white bread, homemade dressings and apple hand pies. We also practiced our knife skills by making mirepoix, which includes a combination of finely chopped vegetables.

We also celebrated National Garlic Month, National Pretzel Day and National Salad Month with Jessica Romeo, Mercy Health’s Community Health Educator, and the lovely folks from Stepping Out.

If you didn't have a chance to join us for a class, don't worry! Here are a couple of the recipes we made in April and May.

Instant Pot Yogurt

1 gallon whole milk (or 2%, 1% or fat free but NOT ultra-pasteurized *see notes below)
2 tablespoons yogurt starter (plain yogurt with active live cultures, commercial or homemade from the last batch.)

This recipe & instructions are not meant to serve as a replacement for the official instructions for your Instant Pot (IP). Always follow the instructions that came with your device.

Read all instructions before you begin, and assemble all equipment needed.

1. Sterilize the cooking pot: Add three cups of water to the Instant Pot, lock the lid and close the pressure valve. Set it for 5 minutes on manual. When finished, do a quick release. When the lid is safe to open, remove the lid and dump out the water. Dry and cool off the pot.

2. Pour milk into the cooled Instant Pot. Cover with a glass IP lid, the IP lid, or any lid that fits. Yogurt is not made under pressure, so the pressure cooker lid is not necessary.

3. Push the Yogurt button and then adjust the button until it says “boil.” Whisk the milk every ten minutes during this cycle. If a skin forms, remove it. “Boil” may take as long as 45 minutes.

4. When the beep sounds, open the lid and whisk. Take the temperature. If the temperature is not 180 degrees, repeat the “boil” cycle to get it to the correct temperature.

5. When 180 degrees is reached, hold the temperature for five minutes. Then, remove the pot and place it in a sink (or very large bowl) of cold water. Whisk often and bring the temperature down to 95-105 degrees. If the milk is too hot when you add your starter, it will kill the culture and not set.

6. When the milk is cooled to the proper temperature, remove it from the sink of cold water and temper your starter. To do this, scoop out about a half cup of milk and whisk it into your yogurt starter. When combined, pour it back into the pot of milk and whisk thoroughly.

7. Make sure the bottom of the pot is dry and then place it back into the Instant Pot. Cover with lid. Press Yogurt button.

8. The timer should say 8:00 and the display should say “normal”. You can adjust the time to reflect how tart you want the yogurt, up to 24 hours. More time = more tart + more probiotics. When the time is finished, the program will end. Avoid stirring during this stage as it will result in a thinner yogurt.

9. When the yogurt cycle completes, remove the cooking pot and place in the refrigerator with the lid on until cold. About 6-8 hours.

10. Once it is cold, it is ready to eat. Or you can make Greek yogurt by straining the yogurt in a cheesecloth lined colander** for 2-3 hours. The whey should be clear. If it is cloudy, you need more cheesecloth to prevent losing yogurt. Make sure to keep the yogurt covered so it doesn’t dry out while it is draining.

11. Save some yogurt from this batch for your next one! You can freeze a half a cup and then thaw in the fridge overnight when you’re ready to use it. Yogurt will be good for 7-10 days in the refrigerator.

Add sweeteners and flavors to the final, finished yogurt. Adding them before could mess up the incubation process, and plain unsweetened yogurt has more versatility. You can use yogurt in place of sour cream for some sauces, dips, etc.

*Lower fat milk will yield thinner yogurts.
** You can use coffee filters in place of cheesecloth, but you need to layer them so that they cover the whole colander with no gaps. It can also be tricky getting the yogurt out because it will want to stick to the filters.

Vegan Grain Bowls
Makes 4 servings

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa, brown rice, millet, or farro
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 firm ripe avocado, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Toss sweet potato with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until tender, for 15-18 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl.

4. To serve, divide cooked grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) among 4 bowls. Top with equal amounts of sweet potato, chickpeas and avocado. Drizzle with the tahini sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.

Basic White Bread
Makes two 1-pound loaves

4 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
1 large egg, room temp
¼ cup butter, room temp
1 ½ cups buttermilk or whole milk, room temperature

1. Mix all ingredients together using a heavy spoon or stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. If the dough seems too dry after the first few minutes, add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky. Knead for 8 minutes or possibly longer. Stop when you have a smooth and pliable dough.

2. Cover. Ferment at room temp 1 ½ hours - 2 hours until doubled in size.

3. Punch down. Remove from the bowl and divide in half for loaves.

4. Shape loaves and place into a bread pan, sprayed with no stick cooking oil*. Spray tops of dough with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap for 60-90 minutes until dough is nearly risen to the top of the pan (80 - 90% of the finished loaf size - remember the remaining 10% will happen in the oven).

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 34-45 minutes until golden brown and the thermometer inserted in the middle of the loaf reads 190 degrees.

5. Remove from pans immediately to cool for an hour before slicing. Tip to the side to allow bottoms to dry and not be soggy. Store in a plastic bag after loaves are completely cooled.

*You can cover with the oil sprayed saran wrap plus a damp towel and place in the refrigerator to be baked within the next 48 hours. When ready, take out of the fridge and allow to come to room temp plus rise until it comes to nearly the top of the pan. This could take 3-4 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. 

Last, but not least, you can find a copy of the recipe that we used to make our Cherry Cheesecakes here

This month, we’re making Alabama White BBQ Sauce and practicing knife skills by preparing a delicious chimichurri sauce. For families, we are celebrating National Strawberry Shortcake Day and teens will be making Pancake Tacos. Mercy Health will be visiting to help us celebrate International Falafel Day and National Tapioca Day. Hope to see you there!

Visit our events calendar to explore and register for all culinary literacy programs. Patrons can also register for programs by calling us at 330.744.8636.