Recipes

Radishes, Feta & Spring Herbs

Lavash (Middle Eastern flatbread) or pita bread
Toasted walnut halves
Radishes, trimmed
Green onions, trimmed, halved lengthwise if large, and cut into 3-inch lengths (white and pale green parts only)
Herb sprigs (such as basil, dill, mint, oregano, tarragon, Italian parsley, and cilantro), thick stems removed but leaves left whole

Whipped Feta:
½ pound Greek, French, Bulgarian, or Israeli feta cheese
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes or coarsely ground medium-hot red pepper such as Syrian Aleppo or Turkish Mara
¼ teaspoon dried Turkish mint, or 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh mint
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

If using lavash, warm according to package directions until soft and pliable. If using pita bread, preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the pita bread in aluminum foil and bake until hot throughout, about 10 minutes.

To make the whipped feta, put the feta, garlic, hot pepper flakes, mint, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small food processor and puree until smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon more oil if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency.

Put the feta in a serving bowl. On a large platter, arrange the walnut halves, radishes, green onions, herbs, and flowers attractively, either in individual mounds or mixed.

Serve the warm bread with the platter of cheese and herbs. Invite diners to spread a small piece of bread with the feta, then wrap the bread, taco style, around any of the other ingredients, preferably in combination.

Courtesy of Janet Fletcher/Sur La Table

SICILIAN EGGPLANT STUFFED w/GARLIC & CHEESE

This is one of our family's favorite recipes of all time. Make it for your family, make if for your friends. Just be sure to serve it with lots of warm, crusty bread and a nice bottle of Sicilian wine, like a Regaleali Rosso. Every time we taste it we look at each other and think....Can life get any better than this? 

1 large eggplant or 2 medium to small eggplants
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatoes
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
sugar salt & pepper to taste
5 oz. aged provolone cheese
4 cloves garlic
bunches of fresh mint, basil and parsley

Cut off the stem of the eggplant and roll on the counter to soften. Let sit in a bowl w/ salt water for 1 hour. Make slits lengthwise, spaced 1" apart, 1/2" deep, staying away from the ends. Be sure not to cut the eggplant in pieces. It should remain whole- you're just creating spaces to fill with the cheese and garlic.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a casserole dish. Add 1 onion finely chopped, 4 cloves of garlic sliced, and 3 tbsp. of water. Cover tightly and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Then, add 1 lb. tomatoes, chopped. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, a pinch of sugar and salt & pepper to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Stuff the eggplants with 5 oz. aged provolone cheese (sliced) and 4 cloves of sliced garlic. Nestle back into the sauce in the casserole dish.  Sprinkle fresh mint, basil and parsley over the eggplants and cover. Cook over low heat, turning every 30 minutes for about 1.5 hours. Add water if it begins to stick. Sprinkle with more herbs just before serving.

RED POTATOES WITH OLIVES, FETA AND MINT

1 3/4 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
8 ounces feta-cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin oil 

Place potatoes and 3 tablespoons mint in large pot of salted water. Bring water to boil, reduce heat and simmer potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes; transfer to large bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of mint, cheese and olives; add remainder to warm potatoes. Mix in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish potatoes with reserved mint, cheese and olives. Serve warm.