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Moody Mezze

If I see one more charcuterie/butter board, I swear...

It's holiday season, and a semi-homemade mezze platter that comes together in 20 minutes can be the savior of the evening. Let guests graze without the gimmicks (and let them think it took you all day to prepare). I bought 90% of the ingredients from one of my favorite shops in Reno—Aladdin's—but you can find most items at your favorite grocery store.

How we put the "semi" in "semi-homemade" is the whipped labne with spicy pine nut chili oil. It's the bite that everyone will ask the recipe for, so find it below. I've also included the complete list of ingredients I used on the platter.

Whipped Labne with Spicy Pine Nut Chili Oil

  • 16oz container of labne (sub Greek yogurt if you can't find it)

  • 4 tbsps salted butter (if using unsalted, add salt to taste at the end)

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tbsp harissa

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.

  2. Add garlic to butter, let it come to a light simmer, then turn heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, do not let butter or garlic brown.

  3. Add harissa, mix to combine and let flavors meld for about a minute.

  4. Add pine nuts and olive oil to mixture, combine, and let cook on low for another 5 minutes.

  5. Remove sauce pan from heat. Set aside.

  6. Place labne in a medium bowl and whip (either with a whisk or a hand mixer) for about 5 minutes, or until it is silky and slightly thicker.

  7. Place labne in a serving dish and spoon pine nuts and oil over top. Top with minced chives, if desired.

Mezze Ingredients (clockwise on platter)

  • Cheese: Mid East - Nabulsi Cheese with nigella seeds (Aladdin's)

  • Red sauce: Zergut Vegetable Spread (Aladdin's)

  • Olives: Mid East Cracked and Spicy Green Olives (Aladdin's)

  • Cucumbers

  • Labne dip (Labne is Karoun brand from Aladdin's)

  • Pickles: Sadaf Dill Pickles (Aladdin's)

  • Green grapes

  • Pistachios: Atlas brand, lime flavored (Aladdin's)

  • Dolmas: Durra brand (Aladdin's)

  • Babaganoush: house-made every day at Aladdin's

  • Pita bread: frozen in bags at Aladdin's (warmed and brushed with olive oil)


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