If you should get invited to a Spanish ‘tapas’ party, this makes a perfect dish to bring. Okay, in English we might say appetizer, in French hors d’oeuvres ??? No matter it was another great find on Pinterest. It was also quick to prepare.
Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemons
- one block of sheep’s milk feta (sold in the brine) about 10-14 ounces
- 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 1 – 2 cups mixed olives* (recipe calls for whole and pitted) see below
- a few sundried tomatoes chopped
- 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- a few coarse grindings of black pepper
- Set oven to 350F
- Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also serve out of.
- Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives* (I would suggest using ONLY sliced olives as they whole ones fall off when you lay them on the cheese when serving) around the cheese, with the rosemary. I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all. I also added some slices of sundried tomatoes.
- Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
- Serve hot with toasted bread
This is a great and easy accompaniment to a great steak and maybe a potato! Can you tell this by the photo?
Great for BBQ season as well…
GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND FETA
- 3/4 to 1 pound of fresh green beans (stem end snipped off), washed
- 4 heaping tablespoons feta cheese
- juice of 1/2 of a lemon
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add about 1/2 inch of water to a medium-sized sauté pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender but still crispy.
- Drain and return to pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Place green beans on a plate and sprinkle with feta, then lemon juice, then pepper (and salt if desired).
- Serve immediately. (But they are also pretty great cold!)
In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!
About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.
150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)
1 medium egg, beaten
50g feta cheese or more
25g freshly grated parmesan or more
- Preparing the Aubergines
Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.
Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.
You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.
After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.
Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.
Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.
I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.
- Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)
Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.
Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.
Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe
It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.
- Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!
Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.
Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.
Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.
Larry decided to explore several different Greek salad recipes one day – the result was his version below, which turned out to be very good!
Larry’s Greek Salad Recipe
1 1/2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS red wine vinegar
6 TBS olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp course ground pepper
1 tsp Dijon grainy mustard
6 to 8 black / Kalamata olives finely chopped Note: 15 oz can, the remainder go in the salad.
Mix all ingredients well in a salad dressing mixer or glass jar with lid. Adjust quantities of ingredients to your individual taste. The small amount of sugar cuts the acidity and is pleasant on the tongue without being sweet tasting.
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
Cut into approx. one inch cubes: 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper (seeded, etc)
½ c coarsely chopped flat parsley leaves (if you like, you can also add some chopped mint leaves)
12 -16 Kalamata / black olives, pitted and halved
4 mini cucumbers (Costco), quartered lengthwise, and cut in 1” thick slices
200 gr feta cheese, cut into small ½” cubes ( in Mexico, I use Apetina brand found at Superama, in brine)
1 cup Plum tomatoes, halved ( more if you like)
Mix all the ingredients together and toss with some of the dressing. I like to add the feta cheese to the individual salad bowls. Guests can add more dressing if they like.
Another option: let guests add their own dressing and feta. If there is salad remaining, it will store better without the dressing added.
We are back from our three week trip and an overnight trip to our friend Valerie’s Pickled Onion in Santa Elena. In celebration of her birthday, we prepared this incredible stuffed salmon! Originally prepared by our favourite TV Chef Stefano Faita (Canadian), we think you will agree it is a special dish! For more wonderful recipes, visit his website – www.cbc.ca/inthekitchen
Spinach & Feta Stuffed Salmon Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
1 side of salmon (about 2 pounds)
Olive oil, as needed
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped dill
4 to 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, sliced and each slice cut in half
Dill and Caper Sauce
1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. capers
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
PREPARATION Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add spinach and sauté in olive oil just until starts to wilt. Let cool and squeeze out excess liquid. Add spinach, garlic, shallot, dill, feta, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp. olive oil to a bowl. Stir to combine.
Trim the very end of salmon tail and reserve for another use. Cut salmon in half.
Take one of the salmon halves and score the skin side in 1 1/2-inch intervals. Set aside.
Add the other salmon half to a parchment-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Spread evenly with the spinach and feta stuffing. Cover with the remaining salmon half, scored side up.
Fill score marks with lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
Bake until salmon reaches internal temperature of 140 degrees F., about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Serve with Dill and Caper Sauce.
Dill and Caper Sauce
Add yogurt, dill, Dijon mustard, capers, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.