Recently I went to a cooking class at the French Culinary Institute where I was invited by FAGE (pronounced Fa-yeh) to cook alongside with other bloggers.
Honestly, I never bought FAGE yogurt nor have I tasted it but I was intrigued on how to incorporate yogurt into everyday cooking so I obliged.
Here’s a little history:
The Beginning: In 1926, Athanassios Filippou opened a small dairy shop in Athens, Greece. At the time, the shop’s
location was part of the countryside and only had a single train station nearby. Little by little, as travelers would come and go, Filippou’s store became known for its delicious, creamy, one-of-a-kind yogurt. With great care and passion, Athanassios nurtured the business and his authentic Greek strained yogurt recipe. He brought in his sons, Iaonnis and Kyriakos, and thus, a family business named FAGE (pronounced “fa-yeh”) was born.
FAGE (pronounced “fa-yeh”) has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It’s now Greece’s largest dairy company, producing milk, cheese and yogurt for customers worldwide.
FAGE in the U.S.: FAGE began exporting Total yogurt to the United States in 1998. In June 2000, FAGE established the subsidiary FAGE USA Corp. to import and further promote FAGE Total in the U.S. Demand started to grow as consumers enjoyed FAGE’s authentic Greek strained yogurt with its famous taste and texture.
After only four years of sales in the U.S., and with sales of over 2,000 tons of imported yogurt in 2004, FAGE saw an opportunity. In February 2005, the company built a state-of-the-art production facility for FAGE Total in Johnstown, New York, to manufacture the products in the United States. Just three years later, FAGE opened its new yogurt production plant.
When I arrived at the Institute, I had immediately noticed other bloggers I knew from previous blogging events, which is always nice. I mingled and drank sparkling water while we waited to step into the kitchen.
After some socializing, it was time to start cooking. This is the part where I was extremely excited for because I had never cooked in a real professional kitchen with professional chefs before. I was ready to start learning and getting my hands on some cooking.
We were each given aprons and a chef’s hat, which I did not wear. My hair was slicked back in a pony-tail and my hair was stiff so there was no way I was messing up my do’! The hats were cute but I wanted my hair to stay the way it was.
We were all put into groups of three. My “partners-in-crime” were Monica and Renee. They were so much fun to be around. We laughed so much, I practically developed cramps on my cheeks from all the laughter. Oh and don’t forget to check out the slideshow I created from the event below.
The menu consisted of:
1. FAGE FRIED CHICKEN
2. FAGE LEMON COLESLAW
3. FAGE MACARONI & CHEESE
4. FAGE YOGURT DILL BISCUITS
5. FAGE YOGURT POTATO SALAD
6. FAGE YOGURT PARFAITS
You can find all these recipes on the FAGE website but for now, I will post two of my favorite recipes from the event, which were both absolutely divine and may I add, very easy to make. I can’t wait to make them for my very hungry family.
FAGE Total Greek Yogurt Fried Chicken
- 2 cups FAGE Total 2% Yogurt
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2 3 ½ – 4 pound Chickens
- Fried Chicken:
- Marinated Chicken pieces – wiped mostly dry
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne
- 2 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 2 cups Canola Oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients.
- Remove wing tips and backs from chickens. Cut up each chicken into 8 pieces (2 Legs, 2 Thighs, and each breast half-cut into 2 Breast/Wing & Breast).
- Combine chicken with marinade and marinate 6 – 12 hours.
- Fried Chicken:
- Mix all dry ingredients. Then combine with the chicken pieces in a large bag and shake to coat thoroughly. Remove from bag and shake off excess flour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Oil should be about an inch deep. When oil is shimmering, carefully lower the legs and thighs into the hot oil. Cook slowly until golden brown, turning to give the chicken an even golden color. When well browned and cooked, 8 – 10 minutes, remove and drain on paper towels.
- Then place on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes to complete cooking.
- When finished with the dark meat, repeat procedure with the breast pieces.
- Check pieces for doneness and serve hot from the oven.
FAGE Total Greek Yogurt Potato Salad
- Salad Ingredients:
- 2 pounds Small Red Potatoes, scrubbed clean
- | 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and cut into slivers
- 1/4 cup Pimento Stuffed Green Olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup Celery, diced
- 2 Tablespoons Sun Dried Tomato, chopped
- Dressing Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup FAGE Total 2%
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Chives, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Place potatoes in a large pot with cold salted water. Cover and bring to a simmer. When water begins to simmer, remove heat and continue to cook slowly, until potatoes can be pierced easily with a skewer. Timing will vary depending on size of potatoes. Start checking 5 minutes after water reaches a simmer.
- When potatoes are cooked, drain gently and cover with cold water to stop the cooking. When cool, place in refrigerator for at least an hour to chill.
- Place dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Gently cut chilled potatoes in half or quarters (depending on size). Add remaining salad ingredients and the dressing. Stir gently to combine. Serve well chilled.
Both recipes are by Edward Magel.
This cooking event was my first visit and very first hands-on cooking experience at a famous Culinary Institute. If you haven’t been to a cooking school where you can throw down and learn a thing or two from the professionals, I suggest you go really soon. I hope this cooking experience will a start a new beginning with more cooking classes in the near future because I had a wonderful time. Learning about FAGE Total and all of its natural ingredients really gave me some brand new insights on yogurt.
Before this event, I would never see myself eating yogurt. Cooking with yogurt is totally different than eating it straight out of a container (at least it is for me) and it’s something I would definitely do more often. To think, I wouldn’t touch yogurt with a 10-foot pole — Not anymore.
From now on, I will embrace it into my recipes my family loves and enjoys. If I had another chance to cooking at a culinary institute, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Did you know that FAGE Total Greek Yogurt is 100% natural? It sure is.
FAGE does not contain any added sugars, sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives. No powder milk, cream or protein, no nonsense. Just raw milk, cream and live active cultures for a naturally blissful taste experience.
It’s also good to know the farmers they receive their milk and cream from do not use rBGH* to treat their cows. It’s 100% goodness needed to produce such rich and creamy yogurt, naturally.
I can’t say I will start eating yogurt out of the container (still don’t like the flavor of yogurt) but I have a brand new perspective and will definitely incorporate FAGE yogurt into my cooking, especially with chicken, smoothies and potato salad.
*Growth Hormone injected into lactating cows so that they produce more milk.
Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. I was invited to a blogger’s event by FAGE to learn how to cook healthy meals using FAGE Greek yogurt. A special thanks goes to Wendy from Sweetie’s Sweeps for taking wonderful pictures of the event while her husband slaved over the stove (ok, I’m joking!). All opinions expressed here are strictly my own.