Friday, June 12, 2015

Whipped Feta Dip & Baba Ghanoush

A few weeks ago we had a Middle-Eastern tapas (mezze) night, where we had whipped feta dip (not sure if this is Middle-Eastern of just Middle-Eastern inspired), Baba Ghanoush (eggplant dip), fresh veggies, fruit, and pomegranate seeds.  I loved it.  I've never had Baba Ghanoush before.  And the whipped feta dip was just delightful.
Whipped Feta Dip
adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 4-6

8 ounces feta cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, to garnish
Ground sumac or cayenne, to garnish

1.  Blend the feta cheese in a small food processor until it breaks up. Add the cream cheese and continue blending for 4 to 5 minutes, adding milk if necessary to keep the mixture smooth.

2.  When the cheese is whipped and and very smooth add the lemon zest, chives, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper. Blend to combine then transfer to a serving dish and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Dust lightly with ground sumac or cayenne, if desired.  Serve with chopped vegetables, pita chips, pretzel chips, or or toasted baguette.

Baba Ghanoush 
adapted from The Kitchn
serves 4-6 as an appy

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1/4 cup tahini
Freshly ground black pepper
Ground sumac, to garnish

1.  Heat the oven to 425ºF. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Oil the cut side lightly with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Roast, cut side up, for 1 hour, or until very soft and blackened around the edges. The eggplant halves will be puffy and expanded, but will collapse as they cool. Let cool for 1 hour.

2.  Scoop the flesh away from the skin and discard the skin. Put the eggplant flesh in in a fine mesh strainer. Press out and drain any juice that will come out. Transfer to a mortar or food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and black pepper and blend thoroughly until very smooth. Taste and add additional lemon juice, olive oil, salt, or pepper to taste, if desired.

3.  You can eat this at room temp (my fave) or refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors blend. Before serving dust lightly with ground sumac. Serve with warm pita bread, baked chips, or chopped raw vegetables.

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