Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Lebenah!

Remember yesterday when I showed a second mystery dip that we had for dinner but didn't say what it was? I'm sure no one on the internet lost sleep over this but just in case you did, this post is for you.

The mystery dip again:

Vegan labenah

During my college years, I lived in Worcester, Massachusetts.  At that point I was a long haul vegetarian but hadn't given veganism any real thought, though many of my favorite people in town were vegans.  My then-boyfriend (now spouse) and I used to go out for dinner every Sunday night with friends of ours at any of a fairly large rotation of restaurants.  And though we all liked to complain about how they never give you enough bread, we would often end up at The Sahara on Highland Street all the same.  It was there that I was first legally served alcohol (a glass of wine on my 21st birthday, for which they did not even card me, the jerks) and there that I embarked upon a lifelong love for baba ganoush and the whole idea of mezze, two things I can't live without for very long.

Of the Sahara's vegetarian mezze, there were only two items I didn't like back then:  their tabouli (still not my favorite thing, though I've had much better versions since) and their lebaneh.  Well, I would eat it, but it just never really moved me... a big bowl of sour yogurt dip?!  WHY?  And so it was an utterly bizarre bolt of nostalgia that provoked me to scribble 'lebaneh' on my list of dips to make during MoFo...

But I'm really pleased with the result.  Is it sour?  Yes.  Is it yogurty?  Yes.  (Despite not having any yogurt in it.  More on that in a sec.)  It's not as smooth or as pale as the Sahara's, but the flavor is highly reminiscent-- so I guess my palate's changed because I literally used my fingers to get the last bit out of the bowl.  I used the recipe from one of my favorite blogs from last year's MoFo, One Arab Vegan, with a bit of apple cider vinegar instead of citric acid (which is somewhere in my house, but I didn't want to dig yesterday).  It's actually much easier to make than dairy lebenah (faster, anyway) and really good-- highly recommended.

Originally I thought the men would have leftovers of this & the hummus tonight without me-- but the lebenah is all gone.  So they're just having leftover hummus with the following dippers:

Day 2 dippers:  baked falafel


Baked falafel, based on the recipe in Appetite for Reduction.  These go like hotcakes (if hotcakes were made out of chickpeas, and love) in my house so I always do a double batch, and rather than putting the ingredients in my pathetic food processor, I grate the onion with a box grater and then mash everything that's supposed to be pureed.  Oh, and I put a little garam masala in this time because I ran out of cumin...

And of course a big bowl of vegetables
 

And of course, a big bowl of vegetables.  Tonight's dipping veg include cauliflower, celery, and carrots (plain old boring baby carrots).

Finally, my lovely boys.  The Emperor waved me away every time I tried to get his picture today-- because he was busy playing with this birthday present from his aunt and uncle:

He's busy


It's a toy power screwdriver, and I think they're BFFs now.  (Also, he turned 3 last week.  How can this be?)

And here's the Magician, always thinking of how to get the next celery stick:

Considering the celery


Tune in tomorrow for another dip!

10 comments:

Cindy said...

This is great! I am actually straining some yogurt to post about tomorrow. I will have to try the recipe you linked to sometime.

hotveganchickpeas said...

I've never heard of lebenah but it sounds like a tasty tasty dip. Bookmarked!

Lorien Reese said...

I haven't ever heard of lebenah! Now I'm eyeing some falafel mix in my cabinet with newfound interest...

Veganosaurus said...

Wow the last I remember, Emperor was as tiny as Magician. Now he's 3?! They really do grow up so fast. And both of them look super adorable in the pics. :)

Cara said...

How is it possible that your little munchkins have gotten so big already????

Cara said...

HEY!!!!!!! I can comment again--HOLY BUTTONS!!! Happiest day ever.

coldandsleepy said...

CARA!!!!!!!!!!!! This is my happiest day ever too!

awesomeveganrad said...

I've never had this before, but the veganized version sounds right up my alley (cashews > yogurt, forever).

Erin said...

I don't think I've ever had labneh, but I think I'd prefer the cashew version over yogurt too. And, now I want to buy citric acid and put it in everything, I can't believe I've never come across a recipe that called for it. Also, the Magician totally looks like he's plotting a way to get to the celery sticks!

Amey said...

oooh, neat! I've never had lebanah, I don't think. It sounds cool. Also, I've never made those baked falafels. ... I must give them a go!