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Yogurt Cheese with Garlic and Parsley

DSCN2572Yogurt cheese is easy to make—it just takes preparing ahead—18 to 24 hours. So if you want yogurt cheese for tomorrow—make it today, if you want yogurt cheese for today—too late, too bad. This recipe uses parsley, because that is in our box this week. If you have that freezer stash of basil pesto, it is perfect for flavoring yogurt cheese; mix in 1/4 cup of pesto in place of the garlic and parsley. You can use other herbs too—cilantro, basil, dill—depending on what you have or prefer.

In the era when many were cooking their way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes One and Two, I was throwing dinner parties and cooking out of Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure, Books I and II.  Know that it’s true when I say that Anna’s recipes were just as time-consuming and calorific as Julia’s. In 1996, Anna published a new cookbook, with dinner-party ideas and recipes of a lighter fare—this Yogurt Cheese comes from her The New Vegetarian Epicure.

1 quart high-quality plain non-fat yogurt (no starch or gums added)

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1/8 teaspoon Real Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Line a large sieve of colander with a triple thickness of damp cheesecloth, Dump the yogurt onto the cheesecloth and place the sieve or colander over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 18-20 hours. Check under the sieve, especially in the first hours, and drink or throw away (sic) the whey that has drained into the bowl.

Turn the thickened yogurt cheese into a bowl and mix in the garlic and parsley, or pesto, as well as salt and pepper, to your taste. If you have the time, refrigerate for a few hours before serving, letting the flavors meld.

Serve with crackers or crostini, as an appetizer, or with baked Ranui Charlotte potatoes for dinner.

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