***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.***
As many people already know, I am a total foodie. I love cooking, and I also enjoy discovering new ways to enjoy different flavor profiles. The wonderful thing about cooking is that the chef has no real rules...No boundaries. (Well, unless you're baking. That needs to be precise!) Experimentation in the kitchen is encouraged, and often leads to delightful results. I love putting new spins on recipes that seem to lack pizazz. Or maybe breathing new life into those tried and true favorites that tend to get old after being in rotation for years. To me, cooking is an adventure of sorts, and one I always enjoy.
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.
I have always loved Mediterranean foods, so I was thrilled to be able to make my favorite Greek and Middle Eastern dishes using Karoun cheeses and yogurts. Some products, I was already quite familiar and comfortable with. I love using yogurt and feta already, so these would be easy to incorporate into some of my existing recipes.
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.
Using the yogurt, I also made a nice Greek Tzatziki sauce. This is a wonderful dip for naan or pita bread or fresh veggies. Tzatziki is a very fresh, crisp tasting sauce, and it's amazing on Gyros or on some grilled chicken or fish.
I have used Karoun Dairies Feta Cheese in many dishes, from my personal favorite food ever, Spanakopita, to pasta salads, on steaks, and even in grilled cheese. The flavor and consistency is wonderful, and definitely a step above the feta I usually purchase at the grocery store.
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.
On my Balsamic Chicken Sandwich, I had a nice dollop of the Labne spread, some fresh romaine lettuce, roasted red peppers, and Kalamata olives. It was absolutely delicious! The Balsamic chicken was beautifully flavored and tender, and the Labne spread was the perfect compliment. Add to that the veggie toppings and YUM! This is definitely a keeper!
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!
I have really loved experimenting with the amazing products from Karoun Dairies. They are all wonderful quality, have superior flavor, and definitely have more of an authentic, Mediterranean feel than a lot of other prepackaged "ethnic foods". I will be purchasing more of these products on a regular basis, since my family has had an amazing response. Karoun Dairies has definitely brought something special to our meals!
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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