Light and lazy lemon frozen yogurt
I don't consider myself a lazy person. In fact, lately I've had the toughest time focusing on fitting in rest and relaxation. There's just so much to do. Then again, we do have a great book called The Lazy Gardener I think is a fabulous resource; and right now, I'd probably be all over a Healthy, Lazy Cook book, if there is one, but I'm not sure my energy reserves will spread so far as looking into that.
The thing is, this time of year is always crazy with school alone, not accounting for other currently looming projects that deserve prompt and careful attention. So what feels a little like laziness is probably more like lack of time, and not even necessarily pregnancy-related. Only, pregnancy was the natural scapegoat for me, until yesterday when I discovered I'm still a few days shy of the official start of the third trimester. Naively, I'd thought I was already in it! So what's the deal with already having to find a bathroom for every 1 mile run, and starting to fall asleep at 8:30 pm again?
I suppose that was just a long-winded explanation for why I have let over a week pass without writing up a recipe again, even when I've had one lined up in my head since Mary came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of, it's high time Mary got an appreciative shout out--especially knowing she's one of the few whom I know will actually read it--for being the height of awesomeness in friendship. How many people can you run with (or significantly behind, when pregnant), hike with, cook with, talk about anything with, chill with, and even play classical piano-and-violin duets with, all in the space of a weekend? Even more impressive, regarding the latter, without a trace of embarrassment? I am boundlessly thankful to Mary for being such a supportive and amazing friend, for making the trip to visit in spite of having a very full plate, and for all the little things, down to the simplest, like this lemon frozen yogurt.
Last year, my friend Melissa gave me a copy of Jenni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home for my birthday...which was oh so much classier and more lasting a gift than the 50 Shades of Gray and the dark chocolate sauce I gave her. There is oodles of inspiration in this homemade ice cream book that is sometimes best avoided...depending on where you are with dietary decisions at the moment...and every recipe I've tried so far, still just scratching the surface, has been excellent, even when I've cheated on steps to save time, which is usually. When Mary visited, we made the Lemon Frozen Yogurt after a hike, and we did take a fair few liberties and shortcuts. Such as, we used plain nonfat Greek yogurt and skipped straining--since I didn't have cheesecloth. We didn't use cream, or any milk but skim; and we subbed in agave for corn syrup. The result was still so creamy and delicious, and easy, as long as you have an ice cream freezer, I wanted to push the envelope and see how far I could go, cutting all the granulated sugar out completely, and using only honey as a sweetener.
I know, if we're talking calories, sugar is sugar. Only that fact doesn't hold up once you veer off mere calories and take on other factors, like nutrition. Consider this highly abridged endorsement by Dr. Philip Maffetone, internationally recognized researcher, clinician, educator, and author in the fields of nutrition, exercise and sports medicine, and more, in The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing:
Honey remains the most natural sweetener available. Honey contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including antioxidants. In addition, honey has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Recently a large volume of scientific literature has substantiated honey's therapeutic value, as well as its ability to improve endurance in athletes.
Honey has few critics, as far as I can tell. Motivation enough to go with it as my staple sweetener, when one is called for; and, to look out for the bees and care about colony collapse.
In all honesty, this frozen yogurt does taste more like yogurt, frozen, than silky , creamy frozen yogurt. But that doesn't mean it's not lovely, as well as good [for you] enough to figure into weekday, guiltless treat allowances. The cream cheese adds a smoothness and maybe even a tang that's unexpected. I did cut out half the steps or more, as well as changing around ingredients, which means the recipe could well cause offense if I tried to suggest it's based on the original...but it's still really, really good.
Lemon frozen yogurt
- 1 1/4 cups plain (I used nonfat) Greek yogurt
- 2 cups milk (I used skim)
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 cup honey
- zest from 1 lemon
- 2-3 lemons
- Using a peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve for the frozen yogurt (in large strips, so it's easier to strain later). Juice enough of the lemons to yield 1/2 cup.
- In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry.
- In a thick saucepan, combine the remaining milk, honey and lemon zest. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for approximately 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream cheese and cornstarch slurry to thoroughly mix.
- Stir in the reserved yogurt, lemon juice, and lemon zest; cool in the fridge or in an ice bath for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour into an ice cream freezer and process according to directions. Store in the freezer in an airtight container.