30 August 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Crazy Feta!

Oh my gosh you guys, do I have a recipe for you. I first found it on that wonderful yet soul sucking website called pinterest, and it's one of the only things I've "pinned" that I've felt like I absolutely HAD to try as soon as possible. As soon as possible turned out being about a week later. And it only took that long because it was the last meal I scheduled for Stew and I. Cause I schedule a week or two of meals at a time, so we can go grocery shopping together and get exactly what we need. Cause I'm adorable.

I may not have expressed this very clearly on this blog but there are a few ingredients in cooking that I LOVE. Number one: cheese. Oh lordy, cheese. I have been and could still be a vegan, but damnit I can't let go of my cheese. Crappy, run-of-the-mill cheese fine, whatever. But chevre? gruyere? gouda? What is life without them. Last year, stew and I probably ate nothing but cheese, bread, and fruit for dinner at least once every two weeks. When I'm hungry, I usually crave a hunk of cheese, nothing else. Yep, I know it has opiates in it. I'm an addict, and I don't plan on quitting.
Number two: lemon. What can't be improved by squeezing half a lemon over it? very few things. I always add more lemon than called for in recipes, and if lemon is served as a garnish to any meal, I squeeze the heck out of it over everything on the plate. I love lemon.
Number three: SPICY. I used to hate spice. I'd throw a fit when we went out for indian food and my dad wanted to order anything past mild. I don't know when the switch flipped but somewhere in high school I started loving all things firey. Jalapenos on everything. Fire sauce at TB. Sriracha and chili powder on mac n cheese. Chalulah on hash browns. I just can't get enough, guys. I love the burn.
Number four: garlic. but everyone loves garlic, so who the eff cares. garlic is the spice of the gods and we all know it.

SO, theres no question why I'm deeply, madly in love with this spread/dip/meal if you eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon like I was tempted to. It's a combination of feta, roasted jalapenos, roasted garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. oh, my.

Apparently It's from a DC restaurant called Cava, but the recipe I used was one that had already been adapted from whatever recipe the restaurant uses. It's awesome, delicious, and if you can handle a wee bit of spice, you'll love it. And so will whatever guests you invite over to the party you're serving it at because seriously, you should not trust yourself alone around a bowl of this stuff.

I made this with some baked zucchini cakes which came out meh so I wont give you the recipe, stuffed into halves of whole wheat pita bread with tomato, lettuce, and onion. It was TO DIE FOR and really low in calories too. Surprisingly low. I'll tell you more about that after the recipe.

Crazy Feta- (btw, i halved this recipe from the original and it still made 24 1 tbsp servings. If you're putting it out for a larger party, just double the amounts I have given.)
1 8 oz block feta cheese- I used trader joe's
1.5 jalapenos
1/2 head garlic
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp olive oil
zest from 1/4 lemon (or half small lemon)
juice from 1/4 lemon (or half small lemon)
pita chips, pita bread, fresh veggies, or whatever your want for serving.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Take your 1/2 garlic head, cut off the top bit (not the part that keeps all the cloves together) and drizzle with the 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil and put on a baking sheet. You'll probably have some excess oil from the 1/2 tsp, so use it to coat the jalapenos. I roasted two and just saved the leftover roasted half. Place the oil coated jalapenos on the same baking sheet, and stick it in the oven. The jalapenos will take 10-20 minutes to get slightly charred (flipping them halfway is helpful) and the garlic will take about 40 minutes. go longer if you want. it just gets softer and more caramel-y.

when you remove the jalapenos (after about 20 min), let them cool and then remove the skin, cut in half and remove the seeds, and then chop into very small pieces.

while the garlic finishes roasting, crumble your 8 oz block of feta into a bowl. The smaller pieces the better- this is a dip after all. Then add your chopped jalapeno, and the zest and juice of the lemon. the 1/4 of a lemon is just a guideline. I like a LOT of lemon, so I was actually wishing I had more of it in my dip. If you're a lemon lover like me, go crazy. if not, stick to the recipe. Take your garlic out of the oven and using a hotpad or some other device squeeze the soft, caramelized cloves right into the bowl. You should have something like this:

Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil, grab a fork, and mash away. Mash until the jalapeno is evenly distributed and there are no more large chunks of garlic or feta. It should be between the consistency of a dip and a spread... nice and thick but not too thick :)

This recipe made a cup and a half of dip, or 24 tbsp. the calories equal out to 45 cals/tbsp. Not bad at all considering it's mostly cheese and oil. the average mayonnaise is about 90 cals/tbsp, and it's no where near as delicious as this stuff.The pita I used was 160 cals a full round so 80 for a sandwich pita, and the lettuce, tomato, and onion only come to about 10 calories. the zucchini patties were 18 cals each (one per pita) but they weren't that great so you don't have to worry about them :)

that makes a healthy, delicious, filling meal at just 180 cals if you use 2 tbsp of crazy feta, one half pita, and a decent amount of lettuce, tomato, and onion. I love good for you yummy meals :)

Oh, we also made Firefly Arnold Palmers (just in case you felt like you were being too healthy) made with Firefly Sweet Tea Liquor (have you tried it? it's amazing! like Arizona sweet tea with alcohol. Stew being 21 has opened me up to a whole new world of alcoholic beverages), Simply Lemonade, and a wedge of lemon. Soooo good. and the perfect complement to this fresh, tasty Mediterranean meal.
Be back later, have a wonderful tasty tuesday my lovemuffins!


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