***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
So when I got the opportunity to try a variety of foods from Karoun Dairies, I was very excited. Founded in 1992, Karoun is a family-run business reflecting fulfillment of the American dream. The company has continued to grow from creating hand braided String Cheese for local ethnic and specialty grocery stores, to producing a wide variety of Mediterranean specialty cheeses and yogurt products with nationwide mainstream distribution. All Karoun cheeses are natural and handmade using only milk from cows that are free from growth hormones, BGH/rBST, and are Real California Milk certified. All Karoun’s yogurt products (yogurt, kefir cheese (Labne) and sour cream) are all natural and OU Kosher certified.
However, one of the things that left me scratching my head was the Labne. I have to admit, I had never heard of this before, and I had a hard time thinking of recipes to make with it! Labne is a yogurt cheese, and is widely used in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is a favorite for dips and spreads, and is often eaten with a drizzling of olive oil and veggies or naan crisps. It has the thickness and richness of Greek yogurt, but has a bit more substance to it, like a cream cheese. So it's definitely a very unique product!
One of the first things I made was Indian Butter Chicken, also known as Makhani. This chicken is amazing, and definitely suitable for special occasions. I like serving Butter Chicken over some nice naan bread or basmati rice. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs and the flavors are out of this world! I used the Karoun Dairies Plain Yogurt in this dish, and it gave a wonderful tang and creaminess.
Now the Labne...I really had no idea how to use this at first. You see, it's not quite a cheese, and it's not quite yogurt. So I decided to play around with it by adding some minced garlic, crushed red peppers, and a little feta cheese. I used it as a spread for some Balsamic Grilled Chicken I made.
My 13 year old wasn't as diverse or sophisticated with his toppings. (This kids would drench everything in ketchup if I'd let him!) Kyle added some of the Labne spread, and then ruined with with...Gasp...American cheese slices. This is blasphemy! He seriously stuck plain old processed cheese on a sandwich of gourmet quality. Oh well. Kids will be kids, I guess!