Saturday, June 16, 2007

Labne Bi Zeit

That is the Lebanese name for what in English sound much less appealing -
Yogurt Cheese Balls in Olive Oil.

Silverfox was here for a visit and made yogurt cheese by lining a conical sieve with "sugar cloth" and dumping in 10% mf yogurt. It sat for 24 hours and like magic, voila - cheese, with the whey caught in the bowl in which the sieve was resting on. You can use the whey in bread or any baking. You can use the yogurt cheese as is. It tastes like a tart-ish cream cheese.
As you can see, I made labne bi zeit, or rather a variation of it. Here is Paula Wolfert's recipe, and my modifications follow.

Yogurt Cheese Balls Packed in Olive Oil
2 cups well drained, low fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Near East or Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
olive oil
small dried red chilis
1. Mix the yogurt and salt and dump into a triple layer of clean cheesecloth and tie up into a sack. Suspend the sack over a kitchen faucet with a bowl below to catch the drip. Allow it to hang 24 hours. A good tip is to scrape the outside of the cheesecloth once or twice to facilitate draining.
2. Crumble the cheese onto a paper towel and refrigerate until firm and dry to the touch. With oiled palms roll into 1-inch balls and dust with paprika or Near East Pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The balls will stay fresh for a few days. For longer storage, let them dry another day on paper toweling, then place in a glass jar and completely cover with olive oil. Add a few small dried chilis. Keep the jar in a cool place or refrigerate. Return the jar to room temperature before serving.
My variation: I used straight hot paprika, but just a light sprinkle over the balls. I didn't oil my hands and did not notice any problems, didn't dry them over night, and used the oil from Stovetop Roasted Garlic, (see early posts for that recipe - Sept, 2006??) plus a few creamy cloves. Threw in a few sprigs of fresh marjoram, oregano and a chili. The smell is lovely.
We will eat these plus the cheese I brought back from California at a little gathering at our place tonight. I'll post the favorites.

Here is a little Lemon Strawberry Cake I put together Thursday with leftovers from the wedding cake. (We are still seemingly swimming in the Saffron Lemon Curd - intentionally I might add. It is so lovely and tart, like a punch to the tastebuds.)
I managed to get this cake put together in 15 minutes, or less. Very handy to have everything made in waiting!


Blogger Candy Minx said...

God, that is gorgeous! I love yogurt balls too! Looks like you've been busy my dear...that cake is so elegant looking!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Ooooh, that cake looks amazing!

10:10 AM  

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