I’m not usually one for routines except for Tuesday mornings. Baron and I beat the sun up as we head off to school. In between drop off and me returning to spend the morning with 12 kindergartners reading about Zip the zebra I squeeze in breakfast for one at one of my favorite places in Seattle. Lingering over a Cappuccino I lean into a conversation with a dad and his young son. After they’ve debated the doneness of their eggs and ultimately switch breakfasts they talk of future plans; where they’d like to travel and what they’d like to see. They also talk of nothing but they do so together. The dad is engaged, listening and there is nothing more important than his son in that moment. Not even his Croque Monsier. I can’t help but smile while subtly watching the scene.
I’ve never been the one who has “the usual” but on Tuesday mornings I do. Cool yogurt, tangy and dripping off the spoon clings to toasted walnuts and a honey so floral and sweet my throat tightens a bit with each bite. There are days when I’m tempted to order the baked eggs with ham and gruyere or perhaps a butter-flecked croissant but it is always the yogurt that ends up in front of me. It’s a taste I now crave and love to enjoy slowly while silently chuckling to myself as the young guy next to me orders a Macchiato and explains to his friend that it’s a caramel flavored coffee drink. As the real Macchiato arrives you can imagine his confusion when an espresso cup with a smoky, black shot arrives with just a bit of foamed milk on top.
The sun pours in and illuminates my cup by the time I’m on my second. I may write a bit, edit some images, read one of the many books I’m well into or I may just sit and revel in the quiet moment alone. When the majority of my days are with three young and not-so quiet children these moments feel like a gift. During this breakfast I have a moment to catch my breath, linger in the quiet or the conversations of others in which I have no obligation to participate in. Walking away from that time I feel better equipped to take on the rest of the week, find joy in the loud days when I long for more quiet and already anticipating next week’s little cup of yogurt.
Homemade Yogurt with Butter Toasted Walnuts and Honey
I realized a week is too long to wait for this taste so I determined to recreate it at home and am very happy with the results. It also solves my morning problem of not eating breakfast – which I’m known to do. The mornings are quite frantic and by the time I’ve got the kids their food I’ve little desire to make more for myself. But this is thrown together in less than a minute and packs the protein to satisfy until lunch. Of course you are welcome to skip the step of making your own yogurt, just substitute any plain yogurt.
4 cups whole milk
3 T plain yogurt (with active, live cultures)
In a medium saucepan bring the milk to 180*F, or just to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to around 115*F. You can speed up this process by submerging the pan in an ice bath. In a small bowl combine the plain yogurt with 1 cup warm milk. Mix to combine gently. Add this mixture back to the rest of the milk.
For the next 5-10 hours (depending on how fast the yogurt is developing and how thick you want it) you will need to maintain the temperature between 110*F-115*F. I use a small slow cooker with a thermometer tucked into the milk. As the temperature drops I turn on the slow cooker for 5-10 minutes then turn it off and let it sit there until the temperature drops. You could also set the milk in a just warm oven with the pilot light on.
Let the yogurt sit undisturbed at this point. Once you’ve reached the desired thickness or flavor let the yogurt set up in the fridge for several hours. It will firm up quite a bit but still remain quite loose as homemade yogurt is.
Before eating I pass my yogurt through a strainer to get a perfectly creamy texture. If you’d like the yogurt thicker, like Greek yogurt, you could line a strainer with cheesecloth and let the whey drain off until the desired thickness is reached.
Butter Toasted Walnuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup walnuts
In a large skillet melt the butter and add the walnuts. Toast until butter browns and the nuts send off a toasty fragrance, about 3-5 minutes.
Let cool before topping your yogurt. Drizzle a good amount of honey over the walnuts and yogurt.
Homemade Yogurt Resources: