The other day I went to Michael (our chef) before placing the dairy order, as we always do, as the line uses all sorts of wonderful dairy as well, and I let him know what I knew we needed to order. When I told him we had 2 five gallon containers of lebne a wide smile stretched across his face.
"Are we really going through that much lebne?" He inquired. I said yes, now that my department was using it for a new lunch and dinner dessert. "Why are you smiling?" I said.
"I don't know why but it makes me think that all could be well in the world if we can use that much lebne."
I could not agree more.
When we get lebne from our dairy company, Palo Alto Egg, the purple topped container says its Kefir Cheese inside. Lebne is sometimes called cheese because it's so solid, so thick. It is yogurt but it's strong and hearty, sour and pungent, rich and bright. It's like Greek yogurt, but even denser, if you can imagine.
I've been sneaking some of it home just about every weekend so I can see how it works in other applications, sweet and savoury. Lebne makes Marion Cunningham's buttermilk pancakes even more tender. Lebne can be mixed with a myriad of condiments and still holds its body, making it perfect for topping on everything from olive oil braised leeks to mashed squashes and is a fantastic vehicle for salad dressing. Heidi mentions that she's putting yogurt in a new favorite curried egg salad and we must be speaking psychically because in the past few weeks I've been using lebne to make healthful deviled eggs!
Lebne packs a wallop of good-for-you properties. Even if you feel you must smother it in honey to take down its sour punch, you still get to taste all its great flavor.
In the past few months I've gotten together with my friend Aaron and we cook a meal together once a week. Lebne is now his new favorite ingredient and we have a lot of fun thinking of new ways to eat it.
Of course I don't mean to say lebne is a new food. It's just new to me, and I feel honored and grateful to have been introduced to it.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote a good piece on the family fresh cheeses, of which lebne is part of.
Do you know lebne? Do you love it? What's your favorite way to incorporate into your life?