Choose the right Feta for your dish!
Goat’s Milk Feta: Goes with pita bread, olives, grapes, cherry tomatoes & pasta
Sheep’s Milk Feta: Goes with watermelon and red onion salad, pizza, lamb & anchovies
Cow’s Milk Feta: Goes with Greek salad, olive oil, rosemary and thyme, black beans, soup or casseroles.
Did you know that Traditional Greek Feta is made with a combination of sheep and goat milk?
Feta is a white, semi-firm, crumbly, salty cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk (sometimes cow’s milk) and cured in brine. Originally from Greece, feta translates to “slice,” for one of the stages in its making. The word came into English around 1956. Feta is one of the world’s oldest cheeses. It has been made in Greece and other Balkan countries for centuries. Homer wrote about it, describing how the gods made the cheese.
The finest feta cheese should be purchased direct from its brine bath. If it is prepackaged, it should have some of the brine in the packaging to keep it moist. Feta cheese is best when eaten fresh, so always check the date. If you will not be consuming it immediately, store the feta in a brine or milk bath in the refrigerator. The milk bath will reduce the saltiness and help keep the cheese moist and last for up to 3 months. Freezing is not good for feta cheese. Feta that has been aged in barrels and sold straight from the barrel may be wrapped in a lightweight paper. You may want to wrap your feta in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and store in the fridge however there is some controversy about storing cheese in plastic. You may want to keep the feta in the paper, even when the paper gets soggy from the cheese moisture. Allow at least 30 minutes for feta to come to room temperature, to fully enjoy its rich, tangy flavor and creamy texture.
If you are one who doesn’t like feta’s salty taste then you may want to soak the cheese in fresh water to leach out some of the salt or tone down the salt in dishes that feta is used in. This allows the cheese to supply the salt.
The slight sharpness of the feta combined with fresh green herbs makes a versatile vinaigrette dressing that goes beautifully with lightly steamed asparagus or sliced tomatoes as well as artichokes. It is a lovely dressing on potatoes, pasta or shrimp salad as well.
1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Minced Fresh Basil
1 Teaspoon Minced Fresh Dill
1 Teaspoon Minced Fresh Mint
1/2 Cup Finely Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Safflower Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
In a small size bowl, whisk together the vinegar, herbs and cheese. Add the olive oil and safflower oil in a slow thin stream. Whisk constantly until combined and emulsified. Add the kosher salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use. Cover and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 1 week. Stir or shake well before using. Makes 1 cup.
I am just going to come out and say it: I really love hummus. I have no problem with grabbing some pita bread and calling it dinner. Sometimes I like to throw spiced lamb or chicken on beds of hummus and often I use hummus as a sandwich condiment.
2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas
1/4 Cup Tahini
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Pureed Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Water or Chickpea Cooking Liquid
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
If you are cooking dried chickpeas then use 3/4 cup dried chickpeas. If you are using canned then use 1 can of drained chickpeas. Purée the chickpeas in a food processor or a blender. Stir in the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix until smooth. Add either the water or chickpea cooking liquid and mix well. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.
I love making soups! The moment I feel Fall weather in the air I start making hearty soups. Greek Fasolada (Greek Navy Bean Soup) is so simple to make and quite a popular dish in Greece. Some say that it is, in fact, the Greek national dish. This soup can be made year round, but is popular during Lent. Tasty, nutritious and should be eaten with olives and warm bread.
1 Cup Navy Beans
3 ½ Cups Water
1 Chopped Yellow Onion
3 Chopped Garlic Cloves
2 Peeled & Chopped Carrots
2 Peeled & Chopped Celery Stalks
1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
3 Cubes Vegetable Stock
1 Teaspoon Oregano
¼ Cup Chopped Parsley
½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
Soak the beans in the water overnight. Fill a soup pot with 3 quarts of water and add the soaked beans. Cook on medium for 30 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook for 1 hour. Next add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock cubes, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook on low heat for an additional 1 hour. If the beans are not tender yet cook for longer. To serve add chopped parsley. Serves 4
Spanakopita or Spinach Pie is a wonderful Greek savory pastry with a filling of chopped spinach, feta cheese and other ingredients wrapped or layered in a phyllo pastry and baked to a golden brown. Spanakopita is mostly eaten as a snack in Greece. In rural Greece, smaller amounts of spinach are used, with the missing part substituted with leeks, sorrel and/or chard.
3 Pounds Frozen Spinach
9 Lightly Beaten Large Eggs
2 Cups Crumbled Feta Cheese
¼ Cup Grated Romano Cheese
¼ Cup Chopped Dill
1 Cup Freshly Chopped Parsley
2 Cup Sliced Scallions
½ Cup Sliced Onions
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Mint
8 Ounces Ricotta Cheese
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Cups Melted Unsalted Butter
1 Pound Phyllo Dough (Freezer Section at the Grocery)
Thaw and drain the frozen spinach. In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients except for the melted butter and phyllo dough. Brush the butter over the bottom of a 24×12 baking pan. Layer 10 sheets of the phyllo dough in the pan, brushing each sheet generously with the melted butter. Spread the spinach mixture over the phyllo dough and top it with another 10 phyllo dough sheets brushed with butter. Neaten up the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Using a serrated knife, score the spanakopita into 15 squares, cutting about ¾ of the way through it. Sprinkle the surface with cold water to prevent curling and bake until golden brown for between 45 to 60 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 15 pieces