I have been on a huge yogurt kick for a while now. I make 2 1/2 quarts at a time, using my dehydrator to incubate it, which provides me breakfasts for more than a week plus extra for other applications. It’s been a while since I did that original yogurt post; perhaps I should do an updated one with my current tips and tricks. Anyway, since I’m pretty much always swimming in yogurt these days, I’m always thinking of things to do with it other than scarfing it down with Grape Nuts, berries, and coconut nectar every morning.
Wide-mouth canning jars are perfect for making yogurt.
I recently bought some commercial yogurt to refresh my cultures and was appalled by how nasty it was: runny, sweet, and so yukky that I gave all but the two tablespoons I needed to the raccoons (who were not nearly as picky as me about it). I should have scooped some out into a bowl for this picture so you can see how thick it is, but trust me, it’s thick.
Anyway, in addition to a ton of delicious yogurt, I had a head of cauliflower and an outside temperature of EIGHT DEGREES last night. Man, I HATE winter. I feel brittle. My feet actually hurt all day, indoors, because they are so cold they feel like they are going to break into pieces. I’ve been talking to the wonderful Smucky and cursing the cold while he at the very same time complains of the heat in Sydney. It’s a stupid 8 degrees here and it’s 114 there! I’d rather have his problem, BUT at least I love soup, so here’s what I made for dinner last night.
Tangy Cauliflower Soup
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (if I don’t have this, I’ll often just sprinkle some celery seed in)
1 medium potato, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped (doesn’t need to be pretty)
veggie broth to just cover veggies – about 4-5 cups
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup plain nondairy yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
Heat some oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the onions, carrot, and celery and cook until the onions are beginning to brown. Add the cauliflower and potato, then cover them with the veggie broth and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is completely soft, about half an hour. Remove from the heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in the yogurt, then puree until silky using an immersion blender, or by cooling and then blending in batches in a regular blender. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lemon juice, more or less to suit your tastes.
Serve with crusty bread, crackers, or croutons. That’s a whole wheat miche, which is a sourdough bread and was nearly as tangy as the soup!
I don’t have much wildlife news to report. I don’t see too much of the raccoons this time of year because they’re older and therefore nocturnal, although we do have two young enough to greet me most mornings. No recent pictures of our juvies, but I did notice a wild (probably earlier-released) adult peeping at me from a nest box the other morning:
My bird feeding station is proving very popular this winter. My favorite bird right now is the red-bellied woodpecker. These pictures are a couple months old but he’s still around. (I say “he” but we really have several.)
I haven’t seen the mangy fox for a while, which is a bad sign. I’ve stopped putting chicken out for him, but I still have interlopers showing up looking for handouts. The interesting thing is they mostly seem to get along. This video shows an opossum, raccoon, and fox in my yard at the same time.
And here is some footage of my favorite skunk, Super H, who is named after my favorite Korean grocery store and the “H” on his back.