Three things I love in this world: Tomatoes, Chimichurri, and Herbed Yogurt Cheese. Put them all together, and you have a delicious snack, lunch, dinner, or salad. Or, a nice appetizer served on crostini. Now, it’s not tomato season yet. But, they had a “sale” on the variety pack of hothouse heirloom tomatoes, so, I went for it. Since I was already planning on making the Herbed Yogurt Cheese, and thinking about Chimichurri, it just happened that they all ended up on the same plate. Really, I had no idea where I was going with these items, just had cravings for them all.
The Herbed Yogurt Cheese takes the longest, so, either start the day ahead, or buy some Greek yogurt and you’re set. I bought the regular plain yogurt, 2%, and let it drain overnight then put it in the fridge till I was ready to gather some herbs from the yard. If you have to buy herbs at the store, some fresh parsley and green onions (things most people will actually use), plus a little dried rosemary with the garlic will add enough flavor.
Herbed Yogurt Cheese
- 1 quart plain yogurt (or 16 oz Greek yogurt)
- about 1/4 cup various herbs: parsley, chives, rosemary, oregano, peppermint – heavy on the parsley, light on the stronger herbs
- 1 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1 quarter of preserved lemon peel, or zest of one lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
Line a strainer with several coffee filters, or a strong paper towel. Pour all yogurt into lined strainer, place strainer over a container to catch the whey. Let drain 8 to 12 hours. Refrigerate. Feed whey to chickens or cat.
Place herbs, garlic and preserved lemon peel or zest in small food processor and pulse to it’s all chopped fine, or mince all with knife & cutting board. Combine well with strained yogurt. Taste for salt & pepper. Refrigerate till ready to use. Best if made day before so that flavors can meld.
Chimichurri is best known as a steak condiment, but it is also delicious as a topping for vegetables, because it is really nothing more than a super concentrated “dressing”. Here, I tossed it with some heirloom tomatoes; tomorrow, I plan on tossing it with some grilled baby artichokes and eggplant.
- 3/4 cup parsley
- 2 tablespoons peppermint (optional)
- 2 tablespoons oregano (optional)
- 2 to 4 cloves, depending on size and desired strength
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 or 2 quarters of preserved lemon peel (pickled lemons)
Place parsley, peppermint (or cilantro or chives), oregano and garlic in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, and pulse one to two more times. Transfer to glass or ceramic bowl or container. Add olive oil and vinegar, mix well. Add a few more tablespoons olive oil to thin out if too thick. Season with salt & pepper. I used about a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few sprinkles of pepper.
Choose your veggies, grilled or plain, or steak, for that matter. Choose a carrier: pita, crostini, or some great fresh bread like sourdough, french or foccacia. Drizzle or toss the chimichurri with veggies or steak. Place some cheese on the carrier, and top with the chimichurri drenched veggies. I drizzled some olive oil over the cheese, and sprinkled a little kosher salt and red pepper flakes over all.
Eat, and enjoy!
I’m thinking that with the grilled veggies tomorrow, this will make a great composed salad with some tuna and garbanzos for Monday’s lunch at my desk. I’ll have to post a picture.