For years I have been watching the Daring Bakers Challenge with envy. I have always wanted to participate, but never had the time. I happened to surf past their website the other day and saw that the recipe for the month was Mezze. Mezze is not a food exactly. Its more of a way of eating. A way that I happen to eat every day for lunch. Mezze is a bunch of small dishes all served at once. You pick out a little cheese, some olives, sliced tomato, cucumber, avocado all drizzled with vinaigrette. Add slices of dry salami and black forest ham. Spinach leaves, crackers or pita are used to make little sandwiches, to scoop up hummus or Cucumber Raita. I LOVE it! You can use anything, just grab what you have and make simple mini dishes out of it.
The challenge was to make pita bread and some other mezze style foods to go with it. The recipes included in the post were Cucumber Raita, Falafels, Hummus, preserved lemons or some other mezze style food.
I've made some of those already and I have been reading a lot about making cheese. Yogurt cheese is very easy to make and is a great mezze style food.
This pita bread recipe is fabulous! The bread was soft and chewy. I have made pita bread before, but it didn't turn out anything like this. This is something I could eat everyday!
I always seem to burn myself when I cook. I took the top rack out of the oven so I could take better pictures while the pitas were cooking. I told myself not to back up into the 450 degree rack as I set it on the sink, but of course I did.
To make the cheese I bought some Mediterranean style yogurt and let it strain overnight in cheesecloth.
You can do this in or out of the fridge. I hung mine from the sink for a few hours then transferred it to the fridge when I went to bed. I couldnt keep it out all night, its my American sensibility to bacteria, haha. I was able to wedge the cheesecloth in between the middle shelves so it hung down toward the shelf below. Then I stuck a bowl under it to catch the whey. I should have taken a photo of it in the fridge... Anyway, the next morning you will have yogurt cheese.
Mix in a bit of salt and your done. I decided to get a little creative with my yogurt cheese. Here is what I came up with.
Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Yogurt Cheese
-1 pint of yogurt - Strain overnight in cheesecloth to make cheese
-1/2 red bell pepper
-2 cloves of garlic
-2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-1/2 tsp dried rosemary
-salt and pepper, to taste
Slice bell pepper into strips and mince garlic. Put peppers, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper into a small sandwich bag and mix until peppers are completely coated. Pour peppers and garlic on baking sheet and broil 4 inches from broiler until peppers are soft and slightly blackened. Mash peppers and garlic together in a medium sized bowl until well mixed, leaving chunks of pepper. Add the yogurt cheese and mix together well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I hope I am able to do more of the baker challenges. I feel like my baking skills are at that level, but I need to use them! I just dont want to eat everything I make and gain 30 pounds! I will have to start giving more food away.
Back soon with new knitting.