Sometimes, a girl comes home from the market, decides what to do with her purchased produce and dairy, and discovers she doesn’t need a large quantity of yogurt, but rather a solid dollop of sour cream. No problem. Just grab a strainer (I have a semi-fancy one that sits in a container with a lid over top) and make yogurt cheese. You can accomplish the same straining with a few layers of cheese cloth over a bowl, but I’ve never attempted that method.

Okay, back to making the cheese.

Nothing irks me like coming home from the market and discovering I have almost the right ingredients, but not quite. Draining enough whey out of my homemade yogurt to make an acceptable sour cream or cream cheese substitute (or even just to get a nice Greek yogurt consistency when a batch comes out a little runny) offers that satisfying “Ha! Take that, life!” self-sufficiency that I so enjoy in the kitchen. Not to mention that it saves me from making an additional trip to the grocery.

So, when there are enough of those little glass jars of yogurt taking up shelf space, I pull out two while I’m still putting things away, pour the yogurt into the strainer, pop on the lid, and leave it to drain in the fridge–anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, depending on the consistency I’m going for and how soon it’s needed. The whey collects in the bottom container and you can just pour that off or conserve for some other use.

Some weeks it seems that my commitment to making my own yogurt is much stronger than my desire to actually eat it, but a fresh dish of yogurt cheese usually turns that around. This week I left a batch for a full 48 hours (okay, yes, I forgot all about it) and had a nice, thick base to work with. I added a pinch of salt, a chopped scallion, and a good dose of dill, and stirred it up into a spread that makes for a perfect savory toast topping. What would you add?

I think our porch spider got a whiff of my curds and whey…