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Homemade Labneh/Yogurt Cheese

Spread this yogurt cheese on toasted or crispy bread and top it with roasted cherry tomatoes, onion and garlic like I have here. Drizzle with thick aged balsamic and sprinkle with flaked sea salt


Raw grape tomatoes are a tasty topping too! Especially these sweet yellow ones from the farmers market

IMG_1900IMG_1901Labneh spread on crispy bread and topped with raw tomatoes, thick balsamic and flaked sea salt

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Thick spreadable labneh


Labneh is a form of yogurt. You can strain regular yogurt to make Greek yogurt which ends up a bit thicker. If you strain it further to a spreadable consistency you get labneh! So simple!

So why bother? It’s a cows milk alternative to spreadable goat cheese. It’s cheaper than goat cheese and other spreadable cheeses. It’s super easy and you get your calcium and protein big time!

I like this for lunch but also cut into bite size pieces as an appetizer

My source for this recipe is an Egyptian girl at Mattersofthebelly.com  Check her post for more details! It’s authentic!

I like labneh spread on crisp bread and topped with:

1. Raw tomatoes, thick balsamic and flaked sea salt or

2. Roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic and onion drizzled with balsamic and sea salt or

3. A delish jam of your choice or

4. Drizzled honey and flaked sea salt

If you want to order the absolute best homemade jam go to Plumtreejam.com for a variety of fruit jams made in Portland Oregon. #plumtreejam

Ingredients:

16 oz whole milk yogurt

1 pinch salt

cheesecloth or sterile gauze

  • Place a colander over a large bowl.
  • Line the colander with 3-4 layers of cheese cloth or gauze
  • In another medium bowl combine yogurt and a 3 finger pinch of salt
  • Pour yogurt into cheesecloth and enclose it into a ball and tie up with a string or twist tie
  • Cover the colander and bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Continue straining to your desired consistency. Overnight is good for me
  • Scrape the labneh into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Yogurt is straining through cheesecloth and a colander into a bowl

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Cover the yogurt with plastic and refrigerate overnight

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This is the consistency I like to spread on crispy bread

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Voila! I hope you enjoy this taste of the Middle East!

 

 

 

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Feta Cheese Ball Pops 


My family loves cheese balls which are usually cheddar, blue and cream cheese rolled in walnuts and spread on crackers. 

This recipe has a Middle Eastern edge to it made with feta cheese and a Greek cream cheese and yogurt blend, rolled in cashews and drizzled with honey and sprinkled with flaked sea salt.  Plus these are individual bites stuck on a pretzel stick. Like a cake pop!

  • First thing is to blend with a hand or stand mixer

8 ounces of softened cream cheese or Greek cream cheese and yogurt, which contains less fat and has a tang to it!

8 ounces feta cheese, softened

  • Roll into bite size balls with your hands and place on a wax paper or parchment paper covered flat pan
  • Chill in the frig for 1 hour. The balls should keep their shape. If they are soft, place them in the freezer 15 minutes.
  • This recipe can be prepared in advance up to this point. The rest should be done just before serving or the nuts may get soggy.

Raw unsalted cashews have a real nutty flavor I crave!

If you have a source of home grown honey as I do, that’s the best! You’ll get the flavors of the local plants the bees polinate! Thank you Peachie Martin!

Flaked sea salt from Cypress is what I use. I purchase it at our local Mercato Di O & V, an olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt shop in Midland MI. This salt adds a little crunch and potent flavor.

Any brand of pretzel sticks will do. Just a bit of gluten here.

  • Roll the balls in

1 and 1/2 cups chopped raw unsalted cashews

  • Place on your serving platter
  • Drizzle heavily with 

1/4 – 1/2 cup honey

  • Sprinkle with

1/2 – 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

  • Skewer each ball with

A 2 and a 1/2 inch pretzel stick

Voila! Finger food is the preferred party food!