I feel fairly at ease attempting the basics in the kitchen – sautéing, roasting, chopping, boiling, broiling. I’ve got those on lock.
And then there are other kitchen endeavors that I’ve learned to avoid. Pastry, for example, is not something I’m down with on a regular basis. Nor is deep-frying or preserving.
Normally something like making one’s own cheese seems like dicey territory, but yogurt cheese – or labneh – is where it’s at for us novices. All that’s involved is a little stirring and a bit of patience.
Labneh is almost like a Middle Eastern cream cheese, spreadable, creamy and a little tart. And super easy to make.
It’s great slathered on a warm pita or as a dip for crudités. I decided to make a quesadilla of sorts with some roasted vegetables for a weekend lunch.
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (something with at least a little fat content – I use 2% Chiobani)
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Za’atar to taste
Line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or another clean, loosely woven cloth and place over a larger bowl.
Mix yogurt, lemon juice and salt together and then place in the lined strainer over the bowl. Cover with cloth and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
(The longer you strain it for, the thicker it will be. I left mine for the full 24.)
When you have a thickened strained cheese, place it in a bowl and smooth over with a rubber spatula. Drizzle olive oil over it and sprinkle on some za’atar. (Or try sprinkling some sumac, dukkah, fresh herbs…etc.)
Labneh & Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
- 2 large tortillas or wraps
- Roasted zucchini
- Roasted butternut squash
- Harissa (optional)
- Salt and pepper
To roast veggies: Heat oven to 400 F/200C.
Cut vegetables into even sized pieces – I went for longer thinner pieces (less than an inch thick).
In a large bowl, toss with olive oil, salt & pepper (or desired herbs and spices) and line up the vegetables on a baking tray, giving each piece it’s own space.
Roast for about 20 minutes until golden in places and cooked through.
For quesadillas: Toss warm roasted vegetables with a teaspoon or two of harissa (optional)
Heat a skillet or grill to a medium-high heat.
Spread the labneh on either side of your tortilla. Layer your vegetables on one side and fold the non-veggie side over – so you have a semi-circle.
Cook in the hot skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly toasted and warmed through.
Cut into wedges and serve with more harissa if desired.