Feta Dip

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Dips are just the best. A dinner of dip(s) a great, easy (and usually oven-less) summer dinner, and that is exactly what I did with this feta dip. I had eaten some feta dip at a get together a few weeks ago, and ever since I have been hell-bent on re-creating it at home.

This dip was particularly great outside on a hot day with a margarita. A highly recommended combination. Or any dip with a margarita.

If you will now excuse me, I have a whole bowl of it in the fridge just calling my name for dinner. And it’s all for me since I am the only feta-lover in this household.

FETA DIP

INGREDIENTS

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces feta cheese, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped chives
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

In a bowl, break up feta cheese into small pieces (you can also use a food processor as well). Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise until combined. Stir in garlic olive oil, chives, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Let sit in fridge at least 1 hour, preferably overnight to let the flavors develop. Serve chilled or at room temperature with Pita chips or vegetables.

Recipe from Cinnamon Freud.

Babbaganoush (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

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Spring break is…over.

I don’t know what I am going to do when I am working a real job without any of these academic breaks. A problem for future not, not present me.  Present me is just looking forward to having a week without having to teach or work.

I’ll went home to Houston for the break, and besides the joys of seeing my family, I love trying lots of new food places in Houston.  Last time I was in Houston for the winter break, mom and I went to a Lebanese restaurant and I ate some great food- including babbaganoush.

So what did I do then? Found Cook Illustrated’s recipe, put it on our Christmas Day menu , and chowed down. And I have been dreaming about eating it again ever since.

Babbaganoush is very similar to hummus but using eggplant instead of chickpeas.  Creamy roasted eggplant, tahini, and parsley pairs wonderful with pita bread or pita chips. This dip can be served cold or room temperature, so it’ll be a great dip to help cool down once the weather actually starts warming up

BABBAGANOUSH
Barely Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggplants
1-1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for serving
3 cloves roasted garlic
Chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill over high heat for about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high heat. Place eggplants on grill and cook for 15 minutes, rotating 3 times (for 45 minutes total). Remove from grill and let cool slightly. Peel eggplant skin and remove meat from eggplant.

Place eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic in a food processor. Process until smooth. Let sit at least 30 minutes before serving. Top with parsley and additional olive oil. Serve with pita bread or pita chips

Brie en Croute: Improv Challenge

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Brie.

Let me count the ways in which I love thee.

I love you with fruit, on a cheese patter, on bread.

Some days my love for you can go to my head.

But you are a tempting, secret holding devil

Wrapping you with puff pastry and spreading on jelly takes you to another level.

Bow. Curtsy. Applause, applause.

I thought I liked brie before, but now that I have eaten it warm and wrapped in puff pastry, my love has reached new heights.  When I saw the challenge for this month’s Improv Challenge, so I took some wonderful brie, wrapped it in puff pastry, baked it, smeared with sweet and spicy pepper jelly, and went to town.

And then I ate it all for lunch.  And it was a good day.  A very good day.

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BRIE EN CROUTE
Barely Adapted from from Cook’s Illustrated

INGREDIENTS

8 ounce wheel of Brie
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg white
1/2 cup sweet pepper jelly
Crackers, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch square. Place brie in the middle and wrap around the puff pastry, making even pleats and leaving an opening on the top of the brie. Place wrapped brie in freezer for 20 minutes.

Remove brie from freezer and brush the puff pastry with egg whites. Place brie on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Spread jelly on top of brie and let cool for 10-20 minutes (if you can wait that long). Serve with crackers.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting the challenge!  Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month.

Fig and Walnut Tapenade

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend with lots of good food.  Our Half-Thanksgiving celebration was a huge success.  I got to spend a day cooking up food in the kitchen so all in all, a good weekend for me (excluding a terribly bitter chocolate pie and an emergency grocery store run for dessert).

Our menu included fried turkey, stuffing, cornbread, broccoli salad, cranberry sauce.  All great but my favorite was this fig and olive tapenade.  This recipe is an example of mother knowing best.  My mom found this recipe which sounded okay, but I was not tempted.  She had it and liked it, so when I couldn’t come up with another dip for appetizers, I decided to settle for this tapenade.  So. Delicious.  I had to restrain myself from downing this dip so I would still have room for dinner.  But in the end, I finished the dip up (with some help from mom) as a late night snack.  I miss it already.

FIG AND WALNUT TAPENADE
Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS

9 ounces dried figs, stemmed and chopped
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

To Serve: Goat Cheese, Crackers

DIRECTIONS
In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine figs and water.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until water has evaporated and figs are soft.  Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large bowl combine figs, olives, capers, herbes de Provence, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  Stir to mix.  Chill for at least 1 hour, preferrably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until toasted.  Mix walnuts into tapenade.  Serve on top of a cracker with goat cheese.

Seven Layer Mediterranean Dip

One of my first recipes I created and made for weekend snacking as a seven layer Mexican dip (minus a few layers since I didn’t like tomatoes and avocados when I was younger so I wisely compensated by adding some more cheese).   Served with salty Frito scoops, I was set for a weekend of yummy snacking and felt like a culinary genius.

This dip is a genius idea for a spin on the traditional seven layer dip replacing the Mexican layers with its Mediterranean flavored counterpart.  It tastes fresh and light and is simple to make.  Each layer provides a different flavor profile to create a combination of creaminess and crunchiness.

SEVEN LAYER MEDITERRANEAN DIP
INGREDIENTS

10 ounces hummus
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cucumbers, pealed and chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS
Spread the hummus in the bottom of an 8×8 pan.  In a large bowl, combined cream cheese, garlic, dill, and lemon juice.  Using a hand mixer, beat until combined and whipped.  Spread cream cheese mixture on top of hummus layer.
Spread cucumbers in a layer over a colander.  Salt and let sit for at least 15 minutes.  Pat dry and transfer cucumber to a tea towel.  Wring out excess water.  Sprinkle cucumber on top of cream cheese layer.  Drain excess juices from chopped tomatoes with a paper towel.  Sprinkle over cucumbers.  Drain excess juices from olives with a paper towel.  Sprinkle olives on top of tomatoes.  Sprinkle green onions, feta cheese, and parsley on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) in refrigerator.  Serve with pita chips.

Caramelized Onion Dip

There are only a few things in this world that will tempt me to hang around a television with a sports game on it.  This dip is one of them.  The only way I watch sports is if there is some yummy snack food to go with it.  Dips are an easy, low maintenance food to serve at any Super Bowl party this weekend.  This dip is made the night before and is served at room temperature.  No muss, no fuss.
This onion dip is so much better than those powdered dips that come in a paper package.  I have positive testimonies from people who don’t normally like onion dips.  The onions are sweet and caramelized and mixed into a creamy dip.  Serve with crackers and potato chips for a great, salty snack.

 

CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten
INGREDIENTS

2 large onions, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Chopped parsley, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil.  Add onions, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes then lower the heat slightly to medium.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The onions should be caramelized and a light brown.  Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  Stir in onions.  Mix well.  Let sit for at least 1 hour to overnight.  When serving, let come to room temperature.  Top with chopped parsley if desired.