Give a gathering some Middle Eastern flair with these one-bite wonders. Snowy white lebneh is made by draining yogurt so that it thickens and gets extra-tangy. Be sure to use yogurt with a 2% fat level or higher and one that is not Greek style. The floral and tangy spice mixture za’atar, which includes thyme and sumac, only serves to make it better. If you can’t locate za’atar, you could simply flavour the yogurt with fresh thyme and lemon zest. The lebneh is also stellar when stuffed into sweet-spicy peppadew peppers.
3 cups (750 mL) plain yogurt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) za’atar
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest
1 lb (450 g) mini sweet peppers
2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed oil
For lebneh, line strainer with a couple of layers of cheesecloth. Set strainer over bowl deep enough so the bottom of the strainer is a few inches above the bottom of the bowl in which strained liquid will collect. Stir salt into yogurt and place yogurt into lined strainer. Fold ends of the cheesecloth over yogurt and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Place thickened yogurt in container and stir in za’atar and lemon zest.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Cut 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from stem end of peppers. Remove seeds and veins with paring knife or fingers. Toss peppers with oil and spread out on baking sheet. Bake until peppers are tender, about 15 minutes. Let peppers cool.
Using small dessert spoon or piping bag, fill each pepper with lebneh mixture.
Serves 8 to 10.
Each serving contains: 83 calories; 4 g protein; 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 9 g total carbohydrates (6 g sugars, 1 g fibre); 182 mg sodium
source: “Pickup Artists“, alive #386, December 2014