BBQ Season Is Here

This long weekend is for bbq’s, beach outings, camping, sharing meals with friends, and definitely for ice cream… or frozen yogurt! Let’s all get the unofficial kick-off to Summer started off right. I’ve got a million things to do, but it’s going to have to wait; at least for a short bit because my brain is a little fried and I really need to get my fix of the outdoors and fresh air. So with Saturday looking to be warm and sunny we’re headed up for the straights to get in some surfing, camping, and general hang out time with good friends. What are you all up to?

Before heading out, I wanted to share a tasty frozen treat with you. I was inspired by a friend’s recipe for roasted strawberries. I combined strawberries and rhubarb together and roasted them until all their juices squeezed out and their flesh was left soft, perfect for swirling into honey sweetened frozen yogurt.

Have you ever made yogurt yourself? I know it sounds a little daunting, especially since live cultures are involved, but it’s totally only takes 1 or 2 times before you have it down. I’ve been making batches on and off for the past year, ever since reading a book. There are many different methods I’ve seen online and below I’ve given what works for me.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ribbon Frozen Yogurt / makes 4 cups

I’ve given instructions below for making yogurt at home if you want to give it a try, but you can definitely use store bought with the same results.

2 cups fresh strawberries, halved or quartered depending on how large they are
1 cup fresh rhubarb, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
pinch salt
3 cups homemade yogurt or Greek or strained plain yogurt
1/2 – 3/4 cup honey or maple syrup (depending on sweetness preference)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

Place the strawberries and rhubarb in a small bowl and mix with the 2 tablespoons honey and a pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the berry juices thicken, take care not to let the juice burn. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Place the yogurt, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions. Pour frozen yogurt into what you will be freezing it in and swirl in the chilled strawberry rhubarb mixture. Allow to harden for several hours before serving.

Homemade Yogurt / makes about 1 quart

Use the best milk you can buy. It should also be noted that the milk you use should not be ultra pasteurized milk, even if organic. Search out a local farmer if you can. Also, make sure your yogurt started has real and active cultures.

1 quart milk, whole, 2%, or goats milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt with active cultures or 1 teaspoon of powdered yogurt starter

Pour the milk into a large non-reactive sterile saucepan and hook a candy thermometer over the edge. Heat over medium-low (never bring to a boil) until milk reaches 180 degrees F. Stir occasionally as it’s heating. Once heat has reached 180F, hold it there for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to cool to between 110 and 112 degrees F, stirring occasionally. The top layer may crust, this is normal and you can skim it off if you want or stir it back in.

While your milk is cooling, bring a large pot of water to 90 or 100 degrees F. This is what you’ll use to incubate the yogurt in.

Once the milk has reached the right temperature, place the 2 tablespoons of fresh yogurt into a jar and pour in about 1/2 cup of the cooled milk. Whisk well to blend in, pour it all back into the milk and stir in just to combine. Pour mixture into sterile jars that you want to store in, secure lid tightly to the top and place in the water bath you’ve prepared.

Place a lid on top of the pot and stick the whole thing in the oven with either your oven light on or, if you have a gas oven, the pilot light. Incubate for 8-10 hours, then remove from the water and place in fridge until cool. It should be noted that the longer your yogurt incubates the more tart it will become. I read that if you let it incubate for up to 24 hours it removes most of the lactose, which is good for those who are lactose intolerant.