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March 21, 2013

A Sweet Little Tang

Créme Frâiche
The other day, and for the life of me, I can't remember where I was, but I overheard a conversation between two women. One of the women was raving about how much she loved--no, adored--Greek yogurt. The other woman, however, didn't and went on, at length to mention every reason why she didn't care for it at all. Finally, she ended by saying, "I don't get it at all; it's just like eating a big tub of sour cream."

In that brief instant, I had a moment of enlightenment and finally understood why I so passionately do like Greek yogurt, especially the plain version. It's because it is just like eating sour cream and I am, I admit, a sour cream sort of woman; I put that stuff on everything.

This got me thinking about why I so adore the stuff and I had a very clear memory. When I was young--who knows how old, but it was somewhere around nine or ten, I was at my grandparent's house and I was hungry and asked for a snack. My grandmother was nowhere around, or she would have opened her snack cabinet and fixed me something served in a bowl, with a napkin and at the table. My grandfather, not one to stand on such formality, handed me a piece of soft white bread spread with a thick layer of cold sour cream and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I had never had this particular combination before and I don't remember if it was ever repeated, but man, was it a revelation; it was so darn delicious that I still think about it to this day. I know that I had eaten sour cream prior to that day, but I had never really appreciated the sourness of it until that moment.

I like a little tang. My palate is wired to appreciate sour tastes, thus, I have a love for things like sauerkraut and pickles and sourdough bread, too. One reason for the sourness of these items is that they are all fermented, which is when all the good, happy bacteria meet up with all the other good, happy bacteria and they party down. Besides tasting good, fermented foods are good for us, too.

I still buy sour cream--I like the real, organic kind because it has a lot more tang--but what I really love is créme frâiche, which is rich and thick and dense and creamy and really, really tangy. I love créme frâiche on everything from scrambled eggs to chili to fresh fruit; it's also wonderful mixed into cakes or used for frostings. It's also pretty darn good licked right off a big spoon.

If you've never made crème frâiche before, you owe it yourself to give it a try. Here's my quick and easy recipe. Follow it today, and you'll be enjoying it by the weekend.

* Go out and buy one of those old fashioned looking glass canning jars with the rubber seal and wire sealing mechanism for this recipe. It's the perfect vessel for this recipe.

Créme Frâiche

1 pint of organic heavy whipping cream
2 heaping tablespoons of organic sour cream or plain, nothing added Greek yogurt (Chobani is a good brand)
1 tablespoon champagne or white balsamic vinegar

1. Put sour cream or yogurt into jar.
2. Add heavy cream and vinegar and stir.
3. Leave on your counter in a warm area for 48 hours and then stir and put into the refrigerator.
4. Chill for at least 12 hours and then enjoy.


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