Pricey Greek yogurt is taking over dairy cases, but there's a puzzle here. Our extra money isn't necessarily buying some marvel imported from Greece or yogurt with special cultures.
Greek yogurt is merely yogurt thickened by draining off some of its liquid. And it is not new, revolutionary or life-changing. In fact, draining yogurt to thicken it and build up its flavor has been going on so long that Plato was probably doing it.
You can do it, too, with any good-tasting yogurt. (My splurge choice is whole milk, cream top, plain, organic yogurt). But lean or plump, any yogurt can become "Greek" for modest money.
Here is how you do it:
Let it go overnight and you have thick and creamy yogurt cheese (also known as labneh) -– good with bread and honey for breakfast, or with pita, garlic, black pepper and olive oil for supper.
A cash-saving trick: If you, too, have fallen for a certain brand's super creamy-rich (but expensive) Greek yogurt, simulate it by combining one part full-fat sour cream with two to three parts whole milk yogurt, then draining them to your taste. Add fruit and flavorings at will.
"It's sort of a funny thing for me to say as a restaurant chef, but my advice to my sons and to everyone is to cook at home at least most of the time," says chef Cal Peternell, author of Twelve Recipes.