These are appetizers we had one day which included Greek yogurt my wife made using a special yogurt from a farm in Pennsylvania near where she grew up (left upper brown container) and smoked trout spread (lower right tan container). We also served two interesting cheeses; Blue castello (Denmark) (lower left) and Bucheron Sevre Belle (France) (upper right).
The picture below is a close up of the Greek Yogurt made from a special “high-octane” yogurt which was mixed with our favorite Spanish olive oil and seasoned with salt.
This picture shows the smoked trout dip. We used to make this smoked trout cream cheese spread often when we regularly bought artisanal apple wood smoked trout from a nearby gourmet grocery store. We haven’t made it recently, however, because the smoked trout is no longer available.
The picture below shows the Blue castello (Denmark) cheese which was a nice, mild but not too mild blue cheese. It was a bit more assertive than our favorite “Cambozola“. It is a bit more crumbly but has a nice blue cheese taste. Cambozola is more creamy and has “Camembert” characteristics.
Bucheron Sevre Belle (France) is aged but not too aged and even the rind was nice to eat. It is a nice cross between fresh and very aged (and fuzzy) goat cheese.
Smoked trout spread
1. Hot smoked trout. We used to buy smoked trout from the grocery store but this one was made from fresh trout hot smoked in the Webber. I used soaked hickory chips and indirect heat for about 20 minutes (#1). My wife carefully deboned (#2) and flaked the meat (#3), of a whole trout.
2. One package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, (#4).
3. Fresh dill, chopped, 1/4 cup (#5)
4. Lemon juice of one lemon
5. Horseradish to taste (we also added wasabi).
Just put everything in the food processor and process it until creamy and homogenized (#6). Taste and adjust any seasonings you like .
Greek yogurt spread with olive oil
* The Greek yogurt was made using “Seven Stars Farm” yogurt
from Pennsylvania which my wife found one day while cruising down the dairy isle at the local Whole Food grocery store. The name “Seven Stars Farm” and the picture of the star constellation on the package jumped out at her from all the other packages in the cold case. She stopped dead in her tracks and exclaimed “I know where that is!!” This farm happened to be across the road from where my wife went to high school. At that time, however, they did not make yogurt, it was just a dairy farm selling to milk wholesalers according to my wife.. We didn’t have any choice but to get one–or rather, to be more exact, to get several. Although the the percentage of fat of this yogurt appears to be slightly above the usual 4% (we estimated 4.5% from their nutritional facts), it looks and tastes like it has much more fat content than that. It even has a thin layer or yogurt from cream on the top which gives it some yellow color. While we really like Danon 4% whole milk yogurt and regularly use it to make Greek yogurt, Seven Stars Farm yogurt definitely has a much “higher octane rev”; it is really something special
Making Greek yogurt, my wife has really got this down to a precise and easy process.
First, we needed a deep conical strainer like the one you see below (#1 and #2). (if the strainer has a rounded rather than conical bottom the whey does not drain out as well and the resulting Greek yogurt will not be as concentrated.)
Second, you need a better quality cheese cloth called cheese muslin. The cheese cloth from the grocery store tends to be very fragile and coarse and lets most of the curd pass on through as a tithe to feed the “sink God” that lives in the drain. She spreads the cheesecloth in the strainer and adds the entire container of yogurt and folds the edges of the cloth over it (#2).
Since a rather large bowl would be required to accommodate the deep conical strainer she saves space in the fridge by using the yogurt container itself (#1) to catch the whey. That container is then fitted into a small metal bowl to catch any drippings that may fall from the cloth (#2), then, the whole thing is placed in the refrigerator.
Overnight, Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese is made (#3). You will be surprised with the amount of whey accumulated (#4).
I would like to say these snacks are a bit too rich for us but, really, who would I be kidding? They went perfectly well with red wine. Although we have made Greek yogurt spread before from Danon whole milk yogurt, this Greek yogurt is in an entirely different class. You could actually see the layer of butter yogurt on the surface after it was strained. Adding the spicy Spanish olive oil and salt really makes it. The smoked trout spread was no slouch either. The horseradish and smokiness both worked well and really complemented the wine. The two cheeses were also quite good. We filled ourselves with these wonderful spreads and cheeses and the appetizers became dinner.