Herbed Feta Cheese

Herbed Feta Cheese

This recipe is only practical if you grow your own herbs, otherwise it gets to be pretty costly.  But maybe you have a friend who would be willing to have you raid his or her herb garden for, say, a lovely wedge of herbed feta cheese?

This recipe also makes a wonderful summertime appetizer.  Instead of making the Tomato and Kalamata Olive Salad, use whole Kalamata olives and tomato and lemon slices to decorate a platter.  If you’ve got extra herbs use them too.  It’s a beautiful presentation with all the different colors.

 Marinade:

1 pound piece (or several large chunks) good quality feta cheese
8-10 fresh sage leaves
1 small handful fresh dill sprigs
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bunch Greek oregano
4 sprigs of Italian parsley
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil as needed

To serve:
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Sprigs of herbs for garnish

Place the cheese, herbs, spices, and lemon slices in a Ziploc bag.  Add olive oil until the cheese is covered (you’ll use less oil if you squeeze out air as you add oil).  Seal the bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours (24 hours is even better).

To serve:

Remove the cheese from the bag, reserving the oil.  Cut the cheese into bite-size slices and arrange the slices on a platter with the sliced lemon.  Drizzle with the reserved oil and garnish with herbs.

Serve at room temperature with crackers or pita bread.

Serves 6-8

Russian Penne

When I made this recipe this week, I wouldn’t tell anyone what was in it until they tried it.  Then I shared.  Knowing that the combination of ingredients don’t sound good unless you are a desperate vegetarian or have a bumper cabbage crop.  Turns out, the combination hits you just right when you want a cosy pasta dish filled with gooey cheese and healthy veggies.

This is a recipe that harks back to a time when Jon and I were vegetarians and ate more cheese than two people should ever consume in one year.  We wanted to see if we felt healthier by a change our eating habits.  And while it’s true, we did eat more vegetables, we also ate a ri-di-cu-lous amount of cheese.  No surprise that we didn’t feel much different at the end of our vegetarian year.  The reason for so much cheese? – we were looking for the big boosts of flavor that meat can bring to food and cheese was the solution for us.  Of course now, there are all sorts of great vegetarian cookbooks that would help us build flavor in our food without adding so much dairy.   Turns out we couldn’t wait that long and only lasted a year before we succumbed to burgers and bacon.  Molly Katzen’s cookbook, Moosewood Cookbook, was one of the few highlights of that year and I still use the dog eared, grease-stained copy.

Russian Penne
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 diced scallions
1 diceded green pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms
1 shredded carrot
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups uncooked penne
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
several grinds of fresh black pepper

Cook the penne in salted boiling water until just underdone.  Drain and reserve.  Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the cabbage, green pepper, mushroom and carrot.  Combine everything in the pasta pot or large bowl.

Bake in a buttered 9×13 pan, covered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Annie
I dare you to try it!

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