Showing posts with label feta cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feta cheese. Show all posts

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beet, Red Onion and Feta Salad

by Peg Cochran

Beets belong to the chenopod family which includes chard, spinach and quinoa.  They are also nature's "Viagra." The ancient Romans used them as an aphrodisiac. And even though my sister-in-law claims they taste like dirt, prepared properly (like in this salad), they can be delicious.  And save the tops for a soup or a saute. The greens contain an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals.

This recipe is adapted from One Dish at a Time.  The original recipe calls for lime juice and zest, but I lost my grocery list in the produce section (I was shopping with my granddaughter and somewhat distracted) so I used lemon which I happened to have on hand.  It was delicious!  Next time I'll try the lime, and then I think I might even try it with orange juice and orange zest.

The original recipe also called for hazelnuts, but I forgot those, too (see note above).  It was just as delicious without and less expensive (hazelnuts aren't cheap.)

2 large beets
Grated zest of one lemon (or lime) 
Juice of one lemon (or lime)
2 tsps. canola oil (I used evoo because I use it for everything)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 red onion sliced into rings
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place beets in a roasting pan and cover tightly with foil.  Bake until easily pierced all the way through with a paring knife -- about one hour and 15 minutes depending on the size of your beets.  Let them cool slightly.

Whisk together the lemon zest, juice, honey and oil.  

Rub off the beet skins (wear thin plastic gloves or use paper towels to keep the color from staining your hands) and slice into thin rounds.  

Place in a salad bowl along with the red onion and toss with the dressing.  Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.

Reg says "Bone Appetit!"

I used three smaller beets

Beets after roasting

Slice beets and red onion

Top with feta cheese


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette & Feta

I am so pleased to announce that Roberta Isleib (Lucy Burdette) and I (Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames) have been nominated for the Anthony Awards for our short stories. Whee!

The Anthony Awards are literary awards for mystery writers presented at the Bouchercon Mystery Convention since 1986. The award are named for Anthony Boucher (1911-1968) one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America.

Click this title to read Roberta's "The Itinerary". You can catch my story, "Palace On The Lake" from FISH TALES: THE GUPPY ANTHOLOGY on my website.

Speaking of fish...

Oh, wait, no, I don't want to talk about fish today. I want to talk about's almost summer, right? [Can you tell I'm a little befuddled? I'm waiting for a baby to come from my nephew and his wife - my nephew is like a son to me! So sweet. On pins and needles.]

Anyway, back to summer. Summer should be simple, easy, and fun, don't you think? It's time to spend hours outside, drink in the sun, inhale the fabulous aromas of barbecue and ocean (lake) air.

Summer is also one of the best times to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits. I love going to the local farmers' market and picking up tomatoes, lettuce, and all sorts of goodies.  One of the easiest things to do to liven up a salad is sprinkle it with cheese.  Feta offers a terrific tang to just about any salad. 
My husband loves to add Greek olives and red onions to his salad. In addition, I like to add artichoke hearts. Yum!  (Granted, I don't get the artichokes at the farmers' market. I'm all about efficiency sometimes. But don't cheap out on artichoke hearts. There is a difference in certain canned or jarred goods!)

Make your salad with your preferred ingredients.

DRIZZLE with balsamic vinaigrette and you're good to go.  Enjoy your greens. They're so good for you!


(Yields: one cup, approx.)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper, ground
1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil


Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and basil in a blender.  Slowly add the olive oil so the mixture emulsifies.    [If you're not going to use the dressing right away or use all of it, cover and refrigerate. Shake well before using.]


* * *

If you don't figure it out yet, I, Avery Aames, am also

Daryl is what my husband actually calls me.

Here's how to learn more about Avery Aames or Daryl Wood Gerber.

Click this link to get to "our" website.

Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.

Daryl will have a new series out in 2013:
featuring a cookbook store owner
who is an avid reader and admitted foodie!

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
She doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Say cheese!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Quickies Challenge: MISSION...POSSIBLE!

Eyes Only

Take on the Quickies Morning, Noon and Night Cooking Challenge

Avocado and Feta Cheese must be used!

Open – add any ingredients to complete the dish


Chef and author Denise Fletcher of Quickies on the Dinner Table; Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks; and Natasha of Five Star Foodie Culinary Adventures.

Although one of the prizes for winning this challenge is Denise’s gorgeous cookbook, Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night, I must confess that I already purchased it, and I’m so very glad I did.

Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night
by Denise Fletcher
Denise's Quickies is not just a book of recipes. It's a joyous, vividly illustrated trek through breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts with a knowledgeable culinary professional by your side chatting wonderfully witty insights as you go. The recipes themselves are by turns eclectic, exciting, comforting, and inspiring. (I LOVE this book!)

In fact, inspired by the many useful tips she includes throughout (like how to pair wine and food or choose a tender cut of meat), I decided to make my own cheap, little visual aid to go with this recipe. Just click the arrow in the window below (and please hold your guffaws until you've finished reading the entire post…).

So what is my mission here? Amuse Denise, Lazaro, and Natasha with my own fumbling attempts at a recipe using any ingredients I wish as long as they include avocado and feta cheese.

Okay, here we go…

My first try working feta and avocado into the same recipe was this savory cheese tart. Pretty, isn’t she?

The filling for my tart (ricotta and feta) was delicious with the tomatoes and thyme. I planned on creating an avocado-cilantro coulis to drizzle over the slices, but ... I took a wrong turn with the crust. Instead of pastry dough, I wanted to try something very different. Too different as it turned out. You see, I’d just made a graham cracker crust for a frozen key lime pie (a Terry Odell special, stay tuned for that delicious recipe) by pulverizing sweet crackers and mixing in butter.

I decided to try the same kind of press-in crust method by swapping seasoned bread crumbs for the graham crackers and olive oil for the butter. Sounded logical. Tasted like shite.

Try, try again, right? But as I prepared to re-make the tart, another thought struck me. With the start of summer here in the USA, many households will be looking for meals to make on the grill or stovetop—anything to keep from using that oven.

I also thought about the ricotta, which is a very neutral carrier of flavor, just like...avocado. So, why not just mix the avocado pulp with the feta cheese? A generous squeeze of lime was a no-brainer for flavor and to keep the avocado pulp nice and green. (Note better living through food chemistry – an acid will prevent your avocado’s flesh from darkening right away.)

While you can certainly eat this yummy feta guacamole with tortilla chips, I had a much better idea for lunch. You see, I live in Queens, New York, a short hike from the neighborhood of Astoria, where Greek immigrants bake the most delicious pita bread in the US (IMO). So I decided to make the base a pita bread—Naan bread, flatbread, or a pre-baked round of pizza dough will work just as well.

Toppings? When nobody’s looking, I’ll be piling it on (red onions, roasted peppers, black olives, anchovies…) but since my Quickies pita pizza needs to be photographed, I decided to stick with sweet, brilliant and currently plentiful grape tomatoes. A little chopped cilantro adds aromatic floral fun for the olfactory senses as you bite and chew.

And that’s the ticket. Probably not a dish that will get me hired onto Wolfgang Puck’s gourmet pizza brigade, but a nice, light summer lunch just the same—easy, healthy, colorful, and best of all Quickies-inspired.

Quickies Challenge

A “Quickie”
Fresh Summer Pizza
with Feta Guacamole

Makes 1 serving


1 round of pita bread (or Naan or 8-inch round of flatbread or baked pizza dough)
1 tablespoon olive oil (approximately)
1 small ripe avocado (I use Hass)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces (about 50 grams) feta cheese
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped


Step 1 - Toast the pita bread: For an outdoor grill: lightly coat the pita on both sides with olive oil. Place the round over the heat of your grill and turn several times until bread is toasted and crusty. For a stovetop: Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil. When the pan is good and hot, add the pita bread, turning several times. Bread should not be soft when you remove it. You are doing more here than simply heating the bread; you are making it firm and crunchy. Plate the bread.

Step 2 – Make the feta guacamole: Remove the flesh from the avocado and mash it with the prongs of a fork. Mix in the lime juice. Crumble the feta cheese and continue mixing with a fork or spoon until you’ve created a smooth paste.

Step 3 – Assemble, top, and serve: Spoon the feta guacamole onto the toasted pita and use the back of the spoon to work it into a smooth, even layer. Place the grape tomato halves on top of the pizza, sprinkle on the cilantro. Slice into quarters and serve.

Additional topping ideas: This pizza is also delicious with roasted red peppers, black olives, anchovies, and red onions. Instead of cilantro, you might try chopped parsley or thyme leaves. You might also try tossing the grape tomato halves with olive oil, cumin, oregano, and sea salt before placing on the pizza. Then...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cucumber Slices Stuffed with Feta and Pine Nuts

I know I learned a lot during Egg Week and I hope you did too!

Very soon we'll be announcing our next winner in our Secret Ingredient contest. It's not too late to send us your ideas and you could win .... chocolate!

Send us your suggestions at and sign up to follow our blog. It's that easy. We'll be choosing the next winner very soon!

In the meantime, I thought I would share this recipe with you. As I've mentioned before, I'm fortunate to have a "Ghost Chef" for the White House Chef novels. Thank goodness! She's great, and very creative. Still, when this recipe originally appeared in STATE OF THE ONION, I have to admit I never thought I'd like it.

The Tinley Park Public Library and Caffe Milan, however, changed my mind when they served these as part of the holiday book discussion dinner in December. The caterer followed this recipe and loved the outcome so much that she's added these slices to her regular menu. I can see why. They were an enormous hit at dinner. I can't even tell you how many people said, "And I thought I didn't like feta cheese!"

When I made these, they didn't "stick" together too well, so I added an extra dollop of mayonnaise. Problem solved. These make a great veggie appetizer... they're light and full of flavor. And they're pretty, too!

Cucumber Slices Stuffed with Feta and Pine Nuts

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

3 drops Worcestershire sauce (I used vegetarian Worcestershire)

¼ cup toasted pine nuts, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped

½ tsp. dried dill weed.

Salt and cracked pepper to taste.

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Three large chilled cucumbers, sliced thinly

Kosher salt

Combine cheese, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, pine nuts, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper. Spread filling between two slices of cucumber. Place on platter. Continue until filling and cucumber slices are gone. Garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with salt. Serve cold.

Maybe I'm just in a hurry for better weather, but don't these have a Spring-y look to them?