Labneh

A friend from the Galilee area came to visit a bit ago and told me about some of the foods they’ve been eating while meeting with people in the Arabic villages in the area. One that intrigued me to try was Labneh. It’s very simple to prepare and is versatile in it’s flavorings.

– Yogurt
– Cheese Cloth (or other meshed cloth)
– Herbs & Spices

Set a cheese cloth in a strainer, or suspend it in a jar with a rubber band. Fill with yogurt and put in the fridge for a couple/few days. The liquid will filter out.

This was filled to the top, so quite a bit of liquid will filter out.

The remaining becomes more solid and soft cheese like.

Chop some herbs to mix in. I used green onions and the tops of fresh garlic. And by fresh I mean fresh.. like just pulled from the ground. The tops are basically green onions with garlic taste.. awesome.

Mix it all together and you get a little bit of awesome that is great on crackers, pita, as a sandwich spread, etc.

The taste before the herbs is very light and neutral. So as you can imagine it could be flavored in a variety of ways. Here are some I’ve been thinking about.

– Mustard greens and Dill
– Cinnamon, Vanilla, dash of sugar
– Garlic, Onion, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary (Garlic Herb bread anyone?)
– Cilantro and Parsley
Za’atar and Olive Oil

Borscht

This is Ukrainian style borscht taught to me by our dear friends Vova & Luba. Be prepared, as I was not, to make a really big pot. Vova says “You can’t make a small pot of Borscht”. So there you have it.. make lots!

Start with a big giant pot and:

1 Kilo Pork
1.5 Kilo Pork Bones

Trim and fry pork fat in large pot until most of the oily fat comes out, then fry cubed pork until seared and slightly browned.

Finely chop or food process then add in:

2 Carrots
2 Onions
1/2 Bulb Garlic
1 Hot Pepper

Add in pork, bones, tomato paste, spices, and lots of water.

770 g Tomato Paste (basically lots. “Borscht should be really red”)
Paprika
Black Pepper
Basil
Salt
Sugar

Bring to boil for 20-30 minutes, then add in:

9 Potatoes – Large Cubes (“peeled because you feed the peels to the pigs and it makes them taste better”)
1 Beet – Peeled Small Cubes

Cook for another 30 minutes or so, then add in:

1 Cabbage – Chopped

Let cook for 5 minutes then add in:

1/3-1/2 Bunch Fresh Parsley Chopped (we actually used cilantro here, but they said parsley adds a better flavor)
1 Bunch of Fresh Dill Chopped

Let cook for 5 minutes more then serve with Sour Cream and more chopped Dill and Cilantro (Parsley?), and some nice dark rye bread with garlic bulbs and salt.

Spanish Rice

2 Cups Rice
1 Large Onion
3-6 Cloves Garlic
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Small Container Tomato Sauce
Pepper
Oregano
Butter

Chop onion and garlic, then fry in a pan (or the rice cooker pot) in butter until softened. Add in oregano, pepper, and rice and fry until some of the rice starts to slightly brown. Transfer to rice cooker pot and add tomato paste and chicken broth. Cook until tender. Alternatively, leave in the pan and do the same, cooking covered on low until tender.

Chinese Chicken and Potato Stew

Whole Chicken
Potatoes
Carrots
Onion
Garlic
Ginger
Cinnamon Stick
Star Anise
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sugar
Pepper

Heat some sesame oil and lightly fry sliced onions until translucent. Add chopped garlic and minced ginger and cook until fragrant. Add anise and cinnamon and cook until fragrant. Add chopped potatoes and carrots. Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce, then fill with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 45 minutes. Add small amount of cold water and corn starch or flour until desired thickness.

Taiwanese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian)

Seared Beef Chunks
Water
Soy Sauce (the good stuff.. none of that die nasty junk)
Onions (lots)
Garlic (lots)
Ginger (goodly amount)
Star Anise
Pepper Corns
Spicy Chili Peppers

Noodles
Spinach
Cilantro
Green Onions

Lets just start by saying that if you can do a broth with beef bones its better, but if not its still good.

Sear beef chunks then add to pot or slow cooker. Chop onions into thin strips. Chop garlic into large chunks. Add water, soy sauce, onions, garlic, and spices. Let cook for a long while. Adjust soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and spicy peppers along the way to taste.

Serve with raw spinach and noodles, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Mushroom Garlic Sauce

Few Tablespoons of Butter
Large Handful of Mushrooms (more for stronger flavor)
Few nubs of Garlic (again..)
Milk
Flour
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

In a sauce pan melt the butter, then add the chopped mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute over low heat until the mushrooms are cooked down and the flavors are thoroughly saturated into the butter. Add flour until its thick and pasty. Slowly add milk while stirring over medium heat. Add milk and keep stirring until desired thickness.

Goes great over pasta or raviolis.