11 January 2013



How come I can buy the world's largest butternut squash, but I can only buy these teeny tiny containers of yogurt? What if I want to make a recipe that calls for 2 cups of yogurt, why then yes, it's totally normal to buy 20 tiny containers from the store. Of course.

Algeria, so many questions.

Why do you only ever sell purple onions? How come we only ever, ever see white onions during Ramadan, and then they miraculously disappear. Are white onions so much harder to grow than purple onions?

How come for months I could buy labne in the stores here and now, ever since the December, no one in the entire country has labne.

And why, why, is it impossible to buy bread after 5 pm? I know you all like your bread and all, but apparently unlike everyone else in this country, I don't leave work to go to the bakery in the middle of the day. 

I suppose I should stop asking questions and go back to eating my delicious local oranges now.


Allie said...

This doesn't help you right this moment, but perhaps you could just make your yogurt (and labne)? Neither are difficult to make. For the yogurt, just heat some milk to 185F (for extra creamy, hold at 185F for 30 minutes, though it's not really necessary), then cool to 110F. When it's down to 110F, stir/whisk in a couple tablespoons (or up to a half cup) of yogurt until well incorporated. Wrap the container the milk is in (I actually do this in a crock pot, but it's much faster on the stove) in blankets then put it in a cooler. Walk away and come back in the morning, remove from cooler and stir (the greenish liquid is normal). Refrigerate to thicken. If you want Greek-style/Arabic-style instead of American style, strain it in muslin for a few hours or up to overnight to remove the whey (which you can then use in making breads instead of water if you wish). Put in a container and eat.

For the labne, salt your yogurt and strain for a day to three in a muslin-lined colander.

My husband eats so much yogurt and labne, this is the only way his habit is affordable. But really, it's so little work that it's no trouble at all to do, especially since it only costs the amount of the milk to produce an extraordinary amount of both.

As an aside, you can save a few tablespoons of each batch of yogurt you make in the fridge or freezer to use as your culture. Freezing it makes the texture a little weird, but since you only need it to stir into the new batch it doesn't matter much.

Anonymous said...

Hello - I haven't read your blog in a long time...you disappeared...then I disappeared, but we are back. I'm interested in reading about Algeria and your new life there. I couldn't find why you moved there. I'm pleased to see you are still writing. Happy New Year. Vicki in Georgia

Mercedes said...

Allie, thank you for the suggestions, we do often make our own yogurt and labne, however, we also work 12+ hour days and sometimes you just want to be able to buy something at the store.

Allie said...

Ouch, Mercedes! 12+ days are terrible. I never want to make anything myself when that's what I'm dealing with!

Needful Things said...

Labne is super easy to make - like Allie said. I don't even add salt or sugar, I just place yogurt in a cheese-cloth lined strainer overnight & voila: labne in the morning. Use the strained whey as a substitute for water or milk in recipes & get a protein boost!