Mostly having given up on yogurt years ago, I've recently started slowly getting back into eating it. A few weeks ago, I bought a few cups of yogurt for myself to eat as a quick breakfast. It was a brave first step, but I didn't eat them. Rocket ate two of them and the third stayed in the refrigerator long enough to go bad. I buy yogurt all the time - but for my kids. I'll only say that my aversion came from 32 weeks of morning sickness, coupled with three days of no water as our kitchen was being remodeled. No water means no use of the bathroom, which also means no fun for a pregnant woman with morning sickness. That was when I was pregnant with Clover, over eight years ago and I'm just now tentatively ready to try yogurt. It was that bad.
When Stonyfield sent over an invitation for a talk featuring yogurt-based food at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, I was torn. I'd always wanted to try Greens, but then there was the yogurt. Could I handle it? Greens won out, and I decided to go for it.
The food was great, some of it amazing to the point where I wanted to be left alone with a giant serving. The roasted red pepper and yogurt soup was good enough to drink, which is what I did (in my defense, it was served in a small mug). Every woman with post-pregnancy food aversions should be so lucky as to have them worked out by the skillful kitchen at Greens.
While we ate we talked about how yogurt can be used to tone down the spiciness in recipes or to add creaminess without actual cream. We were told the kids are comfortable with yogurt, which means they aren't afraid when it's added to food. This is very true in our house. My kids eat those little six pack cups of Stonyfield yogurt all the time. It wouldn't bother them if I added yogurt into a dish. I was the one with the hang up.
Greens Executive Chef Annie Somerville
Knowing the yogurt can be used as a substitute for higher fat ingredients, I tested my truce with yogurt by using plain Stonyfield yogurt in place of buttermilk in a recipe for baked chicken tenders. I coated and marinated the tenders in yogurt for about 15 minutes, then dredged them in breadcrumbs, as is called for in the recipe. The chicken tenders were tasty and extremely tender. A small yogurt victory. Since then I've actually eaten yogurt straight (strawberry acai B-Healthy), which doesn't sound like much, but it's a big turn around. Yogurt has won me over.
Other yogurt/organic facts I picked up:
*A yogurt mistake I didn't realize I've made was that sometimes when I open a cup for the kids, there's some liquid on top. I assumed this was part of separation as the yogurt ages, and because I was worried about turning off my kids, I'd occasionally pour out the liquid. It turns out the liquid is nutrient-rich whey, something I definitely want the kids to eat, so I now make sure to either leave it or stir it back in. Stonyfield doesn't use stabilizers, making the separation more likely to happen.
*"All Natural" on a label really means nothing. It's a marketing term and there isn't a government standard or definition, allowing anyone to use it. The issue is in the news right now as Unilever has agreed to remove the term from Ben & Jerry's packaging because the ice cream contains corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and other non-natural ingredients.
*Stonyfield gets their dairy products from the small farmers of the Organic Valley cooperative. Being organic, the farmers don't use antibiotics, which means herd health is their chief concern. If a cow gets ill, they try natural remedies, but if the cow is ill enough to need antibiotics to survive, the medicine is administered, however the cow must leave the herd (frequently heading to a nonorganic farm). Nonorganic farmers can use antibiotics as much as needed.
I needed no selling on going organic; we use as much organic food as possible, with organic dairy and meats being a must. But eating yogurt, that was a tough sell. I'm not ready to try the yogurt-based pot de creme recommended by Stonyfield, but maybe some day. Baby steps.