Gardens, Yogurt, and Tulips
Are the days and weeks flying by for you, too? Do you find it difficult to believe that it's March already? Tick, tick, tick. Time passes. Dull days have given way to a few with more sunshine. When I wander around the garden, I see more and more signs of life. It's so uplifting.
The daffodil bulbs planted last spring are spiky stalks with a few buds and one open flower. Pointed red ovals of peonies thrust upwards toward the sun. Lilac, blueberry, raspberry, and more show the promise of life.
I mentioned making yogurt last week and a couple of readers asked for my recipe. It's not complicated, but I did a little research into why the process is as it is.
Many recipes call for the milk to be heated to 175-180 degrees (Fahrenheit), then cooled to 110-120 F before adding the yogurt culture. I wondered why the heating was necessary because the milk is pasteurized. If you Google the question, you'll get lots of answers, some more scientific than others. Basically, though, 180 degrees is hotter than pasteurization, and the heating alters the proteins in the milk to enable the yogurt to become thick. I'm certainly no expert as I've just begun making it, but it's worked so far!
Here's how I do it:
Heat the milk (I do 3-4 quarts at a time) in a heavy pot over medium heat until 175-180 degrees (Fahrenheit).
I run a sink full of cold water and set the pot into the water and let it cool to 115 degrees or so.
In a small bowl or cup, mix 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use organic) with a 1/4 cup of the cooled milk. Whisk well.
Add the yogurt mixture to the rest of the milk and stir. Pour into clean jars. Screw on the lids.
I set my jars into my electric oven, turn on the pilot light, and go to bed. In 7-8 hours the yogurt is done and ready to chill. You can leave it to culture longer for a tangier flavour. I've left mine up to 12 hours.
It tastes best if allowed to chill before eating.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a short boating trip to take the boat to the marine shop. On Saturday we did the reverse trip. This long pier, seen from the water, caught my attention.
Tulips are adding colour to the house these days. I do love pink flowers, particularly in the spring when I get tired of the grey weather. Soon there will be lots of colour outside; I can hardly wait.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.