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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feta and Cucumber Dip

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Contact Noah. We really need the ark. We've had a day of heavy rain and what was to be a barbecue is now a buffet. We Oregonians are a hearty lot and normally a little rain doesn't phase us. I grill in January for heavens sake. However, when it rains this furiously it's impossible to keep the fire going and cooks, looking even briefly toward the heavens, have been known to drown. Factor in accidents caused by flatlanders attempting navigation of a muddy hillside and you have the makings of a disaster. The good news is that the guests and everything on the menu can be moved indoors. Better still is the knowledge that the drought that turned our valley brown is over. I have three hors d' oeuvres in the kitchen that you might enjoy. They're fast and easy and require no last minute fussing. We'll get to them all this week, but we'll concentrate on the feta cucumber dip today. You all know that an hors d' oeuvre is a small hand-held item that's served before and separate from a meal. An appetizer, which could actually be the same food, is the starting point, the first course, of a meal and is served at the table. The real difference between the two is the time at which they're served. While this is a Martha Stewart recipe, its origins are Italian and a recipe similar to this one appeared in The New York Times Cookbook decades ago. Here the cucumbers are grated rather than diced and heavy cream and feta cheese are added to yogurt to make a smooth and tangy dip for pita chips or crudites. Try to get thick Greek yogurt. If it's not available, drain the yogurt through a sieve to extract as much liquid as you can. The cucumbers, too, should be as dry as possible. While the dip can be made early in the day, it becomes watery if allowed to sit over night. Any leftover dip makes a marvelous low-fat salad dressing. Here's the recipe.

Feta and Cucumber Dip...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

4 medium cucumbers, peeled
Coarse salt
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (16 ounces), preferably Greek
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint, plus 1 sprig for garnish
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Freshly ground pepper
Sliced Cucumbers for lining the bowl for lining bowl (optional)
Crudites, for serving

1) Halve cucumbers, and scoop out seeds using a melon baller or small spoon. Grate cucumbers using large holes of a box greater. Transfer grated cucumbers to a colander; set over a bowl to drain. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt; let cucumber mixture stand 15 minutes to drain.
2) Rinse cucumbers; shake out excess liquid. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. A potato ricer may also be used to extract liquid.
3) Stir together cucumbers, yogurt, feta, chopped mint, garlic, cream, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, transfer dip to a bowl lined with cucumber slices. Garnish dip with mint sprig if desired. Serve with pita chips or crudites. Yield: 3-1/2 cups.


The Apple Hill Adventurer said...

holy yum!
i so wish i could eat this, but i am mildly lactose intolerant, and that looks like it might kill me haha

it kinda reminds me of this stuff my dad makes called cacik, its a turkish cucumber, dill, and yogurt salad :)

ahhh i miss my turkish food

Marsha said...

oh Mary, I'm just looking through some of your latest recipes. They look so yummy. You are amazing. Wish I could seat at your table! :)

Chow and Chatter said...

sounds great rain rain go away come back another day!

Miss Red said...

yumm this looks so delicious! i just posted about several yummy cookie recipes =)

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Feel free to send some of those clouds here, we could use some water on the ground.
Such a light and tangy dip, I love that you used yogurt for it.

My Little Space said...

I love any dipping and this sounds great! It has been raining for days over here but glad that you all enjoyed yourselves though.

mbkatc230 said...

This sounds wonderful, light and fresh. Feel free to send some of the rain our way, we are starting to get some occasional storms, but not nearly enough to end this drought. BTW, your description of cooks looking to the sky and drowning made me laugh so loud I scared the cat! Have a great weekend. Kathy

Katy ~ said...

I'll just take that bowl, go find a quiet spot, and eat happily ever after.

Megan said...

I cant wait for the first rain here.
This dip looks so refreshing and delicious.
My hubby cant eat cucumbers. :(

Selba said...

Heavy rain? But no flood, right? Here in Jakarta, every year we have flood, the worst is every 5 years... the crazy flood where people might get stuck for days in the house.

Like cucumber especially during a hot day :)

noble pig said...

I'm sure this rain ruined a lot of plans this weekend but I am soooo enjoying it.

tracieMoo said...

yummy! cucumber and yogurt.. sounds like a healthy dip! looks great =D

the ungourmet said...

This is such a delicious dip! I love the presentation with the cucumber slices around the bowl.

Nicole Feliciano said...

Sorry about the rain. But it looks like you made good use of your time. We love cucumbers and this dip seems right up my alley. Hope you get the chance to link up over at Momtrends:

Debinhawaii said...

I'd like a rainy day right now--it is just a bit over cast here. I have a similar dip that i make--the combo of the Greek yogurt and cucumber with the feta is so good!

xinex said...

It looks so yummy! I could snack on anything that I can dip on that....Christine

Miss Red said...

yes i do plan to continue blogging while at school! although i'm afraid i might be a bit busy at times...

i actually just sent your blog link to a friend who told me she loves cooking blogs! yours immediately came to mind =)

Zupan's Markets said...

Oh yum! Feta is one of our favorite things ever (along with just about every other kind of cheese). We've got sassed up salsas on the blog for holiday weekend inspiration, but we might just have to make this dip as well! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Kevin said...

That is one nice looking tzatziki!

Puna said...

I love this! I'm definitely going to try it.

Jamie said...

So sorry for all that rain, but this dip is magnificent! Love the added feta to the cucumber yugurt dip! Brilliant! I'll be making this one. Will be great with felafel!

Carla said...

What a beautiful photo! MMMM mmmm this looks great!!

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