Pascale’s Kitchen: Yummy yogurt – The Jerusalem Post

Outside the sun is shining and temperatures are rising, meaning this is the perfect time of year to prepare labaneh and tzatziki, dishes made with yoghurt and served cold.

Both labaneh and tzatziki can be eaten on their own or spread on pastries and freshly baked bread. Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods we eat as it is an excellent source of vitamin B, protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium. In addition, yogurt is packed with probiotic gut bacteria that help improve digestive health.

You can find more recipes by Pascale here>>

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Interesting, Yoghurt plays a central role in Bulgarian cuisine and is consumed in extremely large quantities by Bulgarians on a daily basis. Apparently it plays a big role that Bulgarians live longer than most of their neighbors.

One of my favorite summer snacks is labaneh with olive oil and fresh za’atar that I pick from the herb garden in my backyard, or with dried za’atar. Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make homemade yogurt labaneh. All you have to do is mix some yogurt with salt and place the mixture in cheesecloth or in a labaneh making device available at specialty stores.

I tie the four corners of cheesecloth together and then hang it on the faucet in my kitchen sink so the liquid can drain easily into a bowl. In just a few hours, the Labaneh is perfect and ready to eat. If you want your labaneh to be even more decadent, you can add sour cream. And believe it or not, the liquid that drains isn’t lost since I add it to the batter I use to make milk pastries.

Labaneh Balls (Credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

If you want your labaneh to be silky smooth so it’s easy to spread on fresh bread, all you have to do is let the yogurt sit on the cheesecloth for 6-7 hours. If you wait 12-13 hours the labaneh will firm up a bit and you can form labaneh balls out of it.

Both soft and firm Labaneh go well with salads and pastries. Or you can serve it all alone, with a little drizzle of olive oil and a few za’atar leaves.

Soft versatility

Makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 liters of goat or sheep yoghurt,
  • 4%-4.5% fat
  • 1¾ tbsp. Salt

toppings:

  • olive oil
  • Fresh za’atar or 2 tbsp. dried za’atar with sesame seeds

directions:

  • Put the yogurt in a large bowl. Add the salt and mix well.
  • Place a cheesecloth over another large bowl and pour the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth. Hold all four corners of the cheesecloth and tie the corners together. Hang the cheesecloth from a faucet over a sink. Place a bowl in the sink below. Drain the yoghurt for 6 hours.
  • Transfer the yogurt to a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and add the fresh za’atar leaves or dried za’atar.

difficulty level: Easy.time: 5 minutes + 6 hours.status: dairy.

Labaneh balls

You can put half of the balls in a jar with olive oil and cover the other half of the balls with spices and seeds. Store them in the fridge.

Makes 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 liters of goat or sheep yoghurt,
  • 4%-4.5% fat
  • 1 level tbsp. Salt
  • 2 containers (400 gr.) Sour cream
  • 1 TBSP. freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the balls:

toppings:

  • ½ cup sumac
  • ½ cup zaatar
  • ½ cup sesame seeds or dried oregano
  • ½ cup nigella or black sesame seeds
  • ½ cup black pepper, paprika or
  • Spicy paprika

directions:

  • Put the yogurt in a large bowl. Add salt, sour cream and lemon juice. Mix well until smooth.
  • Place a cheesecloth over another large bowl and pour the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth. Hold all four corners of the cheesecloth and tie the corners together. Hang the cheesecloth from a faucet over a sink. Place a bowl in the sink below. Drain the yoghurt for 18-24 hours, depending on the desired consistency. You can squeeze the cloth from time to time to allow the liquid to drain from the cheese.
  • Remove the cheese from the cloth and place in a bowl. Cover your hands with oil, then take a little cheese and form balls 2-3 cm in diameter or any size you like. Continue to cover your hands with oil if necessary. Spread the balls out on a tray with space between each.
  • Pour olive oil into a jar, then place half of the balls in the jar. Cover with more olive oil. Close the jar and put it in the fridge.
  • Put the spices and seeds on a plate and roll the other half of the cheese balls in it. Arrange on a serving platter or in a tightly sealable container and store in the fridge.
  • The Labaneh balls can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

difficulty level: Easy.time: 10 minutes + a few more hours.status: dairy.

Yogurt Cucumber Soup (Tzatziki)

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml. Goat yoghurt or other yoghurt
  • 2 cucumbers, finely chopped or coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 TBSP. olive oil
  • 3 TBSP. Dill, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 TBSP. sour cream

toppings:

  • ½ cup dill, chopped (or mint)
  • ice cubes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber

directions:

  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and season.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to intensify the flavor.
  • Serve cold in individual bowls. Add ice cubes, dill or mint and small pieces of cucumber.

difficulty level: Easy.time: 5 minutes + 2 hours.status: dairy.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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