10 May 2014

Weekend Cooking: The Greek Yogurt Cookbook by Toby Amidor

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The Greek Yogurt Kitchen by Toby AmidorLike many of you, I almost always have a container of Greek yogurt in my refrigerator. I've been a fan for decades (back in the 1970s we made our own and called it dripped yogurt). Although I still make many of my own foods from scratch, I've long since simply added Greek yogurt to my weekly shopping list, happy that it's now so readily available.

When Toby Amidor discovered Greek yogurt eleven years ago, she became an immediate fan. Not only did she love the taste but the clinical dietitian in her loved the nutritional profile. As her writing career started to take off, it seemed only natural that she'd eventually write a cookbook focused on one of her favorite ingredients.

The Greek Yogurt Kitchen, out just this week in time for Mother's Day, is a collection of 133 kid-tested, family-friendly recipes that is sure to find a permanent place on your cookbook shelf. Through research and experimentation, Amidor found the perfect proportions for substituting Greek yogurt for part of the fatty ingredients found in recipes from baked goods to sauces and from salads to main dishes.

She also answers the question of why you would want to add Greek yogurt to your recipes. Compared to regular yogurt, common cheeses, oils, butter, and dairy products, Greek yogurt generally has less fat, less lactose, less sugar, fewer artificial ingredients, and more protein. At the same time, however, Amidor is interested in good flavor and thinks food should be as much about enjoyment as it is about health. Thus many of her recipes still call for a little heavy cream or soft cheeses. The Greek yogurt is used to lighten up dishes, not to take away from their deliciousness.

Besides the great range of baked goods (from breakfast scones to carrot cake), the recipes in The Greek Yogurt Kitchen include stuffed acorn squash, fish, sandwiches, and even pizzas. I made the turkey tacos shown here (photo was scanned from the book; it's not mine) and the spinach macaroni. Both dishes were flavorful, easy to make, and pretty on the plate.

As we head toward summer, I'm looking forward to trying the salads and cold soups and plan to make some of the dips for our evening drinks and snacks on the deck with friends. I am also drawn to these recipes because Amidor includes useful nutritional information with each one. Whether you're watching calories, protein, carbs, or sodium, you'll know exactly how much you're consuming with each serving.

The directions are clear and well written, and I predict that pretty much everyone will see success with these recipes. I love the prep and and cooking times, so I can tell at a glance if a recipe will fit into a busy day's schedule or if it's better for a holiday or weekend. In addition, I like the useful tips and hints that are scattered throughout the book. Some of these let you know if a recipe can be made ahead; others offer storage information, advice on techniques, and health data.

 Because I always have Greek yogurt in the house and because all the ingredients in The Greek Yogurt Cookbook are readily available, I know I'll use this book often. It's clear that Toby Amidor cooks for real people: Her recipes may be a little lower in fat than your grandmother's but they offer plenty of flavor and retain their appeal to even picky eaters. This is a cookbook you can use every day; your family and your friends are sure to ask for seconds.

Here's a quick dip that Amidor uses with raw veggies, but I think it'd make a great pita filling too, topped with a summer tomato, cucumber, and greens.

White Bean Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes; cook time: 0 minute
Serves 4
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
 Place the beans, olive oil, yogurt, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the puree to a serving dish and sprinkle with the paprika. Serve immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Published by Hachette Book Group, 2014 (May 6)
ISBN-13: 978145551200
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Tina 5/10/14, 6:58 AM  

We are also fans of Greek yogurt and have a serving every day at lunch. I am intrigued by this cookbook as I am looking for ways to swap out some of the higher fat ingredients to make dishes a wee bit healthier.

Great Mother's Day gift idea!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 5/10/14, 7:17 AM  

I love white bean anything, so the white bean dip looks great! I also agree with Amidor's philosophy on cooking/eating - food should be delicious and I love the idea of using Greek yogurt to lighten things up while still using a little bit of the good stuff for flavor!

Megan 5/10/14, 8:17 AM  

I've definitely become a huge fan of Greek yogurt and I could definitely get behind using it to lighten up some recipes. Not to mention, that turkey taco looks delish!

Jackie McGuinness 5/10/14, 8:24 AM  

I, too, love Greek yogurt. Have had several this week. I love that it is not sweet like others.
Saw a recipe this week on The Chew using Greek yogurt to coat steak and grill it for sandwiches.

Jackie McGuinness 5/10/14, 8:24 AM  

I, too, love Greek yogurt. Have had several this week. I love that it is not sweet like others.
Saw a recipe this week on The Chew using Greek yogurt to coat steak and grill it for sandwiches.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 5/10/14, 9:17 AM  

Yum - this looks like a great read!

Margot 5/10/14, 11:10 AM  

The book sounds interesting but it's the bean dip that I have to try. I've been looking for something like this. Thanks for sharing,

Beth Hoffman 5/10/14, 11:24 AM  

This sounds wonderful, and I've decided it will be the gift I give my husband (from the cats) on Father's Day!

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/10/14, 11:31 AM  

My son and I just had a discussion last night about Greek yogurt. I'm going to try this White Bean Dip recipe.

Rhiannon 5/10/14, 1:01 PM  

I've been looking for more recipes with Greek yogurt. I tried using it as a substitution for mayo in one recipe....disaster. I'm going to give this a shot!

Carole 5/10/14, 4:07 PM  

A whole book centred on Greek Yoghurt! Wow!

bermudaonion 5/10/14, 4:08 PM  

I need to get that cookbook for my mom.

rhapsodyinbooks 5/10/14, 4:51 PM  

Oh, I'm very excited about this cookbook! I need to take a look at it!

Too Fond 5/10/14, 5:09 PM  

That sounds like a great, easy dip! I love Greek yogurt, too, and often use it as a substitute for cream (this is France after all. :)

Peaceful Reader 5/10/14, 5:36 PM  

I have two tubs of Greek yogurt in the refrigerator right now. The dip you shared will be a perfect summer time app with cocktails on the patio. I might need to take a closer look at the rest of this book...

Anonymous,  5/10/14, 11:10 PM  

I also always have Greek yogurt in my fridge. I'll have to check this book out!

nishitak 5/11/14, 3:15 AM  

I've mostly had Russian yoghurt, never tried Greek yoghurt before (it's not readily available here), but it sounds totally delish. Must try it if I ever get an opportunity.

Couscous & Consciousness 5/11/14, 6:37 AM  

I totally need this book. I love Greek yoghurt and have it every day. I have to make my own though, as it's really not available here. The best we get is what's called Greek-style yoghurt, but it's really nothing like the real deal.

Laurie C 5/11/14, 11:39 AM  

I like the texture of Greek yogurt better than regular yogurt. I don't want a whole cookbook about it, though! ;)

Debbie 5/11/14, 7:28 PM  

I have to confess....I've never tried Greek Yogurt.

Anonymous,  5/12/14, 12:51 AM  

I love Greek Yoghurt and I'm always trying new ways to eat healthy. This seems like a useful book, something I might like to look into.

Julie Goucher 5/12/14, 2:50 AM  

There was a UK supermarket here that used to see the most delicious Greek yoghurt. Of course, over the years someone fiddled with the supplier and I have never found a similar one, so tend to not have Greek yoghurt. Might look again though. Linked up late this week!, where do the weekends go?

Charlie (The Worm Hole) 5/12/14, 12:22 PM  

I admit I was surprised to read about the substitution at first, but reading on it sounds pretty good (and, of course, especially the healthy aspect). We don't eat much of it but if there are recipes to add it to I'd definitely consider buying it more often.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 5/16/14, 2:07 PM  

A whole cookbook for Greek yogurt recipes, I love it! We use it in so many things now.

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