Posts tagged cheese
Mast-o Khiar Persian Yogurt and Cucumbers

I'm rushing the warm weather trying to create summer dishes, while my toes are still cold.

Cucumbers in yogurt with minced dried cranberries

Yes, spring is springing, but sadly I don't yet have fresh dill or mint in my herb pots.

However, I'd been invited to a pot luck and my mind wandered to kabobs. But there needed to be more than a platter of meat. I decided to make a dish of cucumber and yogurt, using Labna Cheese/Yogurt instead of the ubiquitous Greek yogurt. As a side note can I say I'm thrilled Greek yogurt is now ubiquitous? I am. I love that I don't need to go seek it out at specialty groceries.

I digress. I live in a university area and there's a middle eastern grocery which I pass regularly. Today I picked up Lebna (the link will tell you how to make your own!) and sumac and some ground chick pea flour, but that's for an altogether different day.

When I look up Lebna some people call it cheese some call it yogurt. It sits in the spot between very dense yogurt and very soft cheese. Marscapone cheese is firmer.

This is a lovey variation on cucumbers and yogurt. No garlic, no lemon, no vinegar. The tartness of the yogurt  carries the dish. The toothiness of cucumbers is satisfying and cranberries on top aren't just pretty but add a hint of sweet that carries the flavors through.

Mast-o Khiar
Makes 3-4 cups

2 tablespoons onion, minced finely
2 tablespoons dried dill, 1 tablespoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 ounce container Lebna
2 English cucumbers, not peeled or seeded, diced
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, minced

In a large bowl comine the onion, dill, salt and Lebna, mix well. Add cucumbers. Refrigerate an hour or more. Stir again. Mound into a serving dish and top with cranberries.

Serve with kabob or pita or as a dressing on a green leafy salad.   

"Pastry, thats what I want!"
Apple Danish

On Friday evening my GF and I were driving the outer-belt and she said, "I want a pastry!" and I racked my brain to think where can you get a Danish at 9pm?

You know where? No where!

I felt inspired.

And I had just made a yeasty cake, so I knew I had the ingredients to make something and of course the book on the shelf! I have a few pastry cook books on my shelf. The Complete Book of Pastry Sweet & Savory by Bernard Clayton Jr. Is a favorite book of mine.

Braid filled with cheese, not yet proofed.
Once upon a time I was a pastry baker for a living. Making little pastry snails is one of my favorite things to do, though I do it rarely.

But I thought I'd make a braid too.

Cheese braid baked and looking good!
The braid is filled with Hungarian Cheese filling and topped with sugar. The snails are filled with cinnamon sugar and topped with apple filling. Both were brushed with a red currant glaze.

The recipe:
D'Angleterre Classic Danish Dough

2 packets dry yeast
1.5 cup water
.5 cup dry milk
.33 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
5.5 cup flour
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 oz butter

.75 pound butter
.25 cup flour

In a mixer bowl add yeast, water and milk. Mix, let sit 5 minutes.

Add sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir briefly. Add three cups of flour, mix. Add an egg and a half cup of flour. Do that 3 times. With the last egg add butter and the last half cup of flour.

Turn out of the bowl and knead a few times. Put into a bag and chill an hour.

Mix the flour into the butter, roll into a sheet and chill.

Roll the dough and fold in the dough. I use the two-thirds technique. There are plenty of videos to show you how to laminate the dough.

The next day I cut the dough, filled it, egg washed, proofed and baked. Sorry, I'm not all about the baking details. Again there are such fantastic resources out there that can describe it better than I can.

Cute snails waiting to proof.


The pastry was definitely delicious and certainly fun. Now I need to find people to eat these babies.
So the question is what motivates you to bake?