Now, as inspired as I was by this book (gorgeous photography) and as many times as I have flipped through it, I am dismayed to admit that I hadn't cooked anything out of it yet. Sometimes, I disappoint me...
When I saw that Sawsan had selected cheese as this month's Daring Cook's challenge, I immediately though about doing something with labneh - yogurt cheese. I remembered that New Middle Eastern Food had several labneh variations and thought it would be fun to play around with that.
Since I was making a batch of lentil soup and a caper-yogurt bread, I decided to make one batch of harissa labneh and a second batch of parsley labneh to serve along with it. Note to self: the water that a half-pound of dried chili peppers has been soaking in is brutal on any open cuts on your skin - AVOID!
It turns out that those two containers of labneh ended up being multi-functional:
Night one: the harissa labneh was spread on the yogurt-caper bread (adapted from an olive bread recipe in NMEF), while the parsley labneh was swirled into lentil soup
Night two: the harissa labneh was used as a marinade for chicken breast, which were then breaded in panko and baked (most tender chicken I have ever made)
Night three: the rest of the parsley yogurt was used to marinade tuna steaks, which were then grilled.
Spoons of it may have disappeared into other applications between nights one and three...
Labneh (Yogurt Cheese)
Adapted from Malouf: New Middle Eastern Food
2 pounds Greek yogurt (preferably made with whole milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir the yogurt and salt together. Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl large enough to hold the sieve. Scoop the yogurt into the cheesecloth & tie up the ends of the cloth. Place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours - or up to 72 hours (the longer you leave it in, the thicker it will be).
To make parsley labneh, add one pound of strained yogurt (labneh), 1 cup of parsley and 1/2 cup of fresh, plain yogurt to the work bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Either serve immediately or strain in a cheesecloth lined sieve for 24 hours for a thicker product. (The thinner version makes a great dip or marinade; the thicker version is great slathered on crackers or bread.)
For harissa labneh, add one pound of strained yogurt, 2-4 tablespoons of harissa (it depends on how hot you like it) and 1/2 cup of fresh, plain yogurt. Follow processing instructions for parsley labneh.
This post participates in The Daring Cooks. Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!