Sunday, March 21, 2010


I think beginnings are weird. Think Bambi taking his first steps. Think two kids at a junior high dance, not sure how to start talking to each other. I think that's the metaphor I'll go with here. I feel like starting to post to this blog is a bit like being at a middle school dance. I like the music, but I probably couldn't tell you who the band is. And that boy is cute, but what do I say? And dance steps? Please.

So, welcome to (what I feel like is) my awkward beginning. This isn't a statement of self-handicapping, just one of brutal honesty. I feel like I need to acknowledge the fact that, all of a sudden, I've decided to start posting pictures of my food to the internet. Notice I didn't say "start taking pictures of my food," because I've been doing that for some time now. Anyway, it's strange, isn't it? This is me acknowledging the strangeness, because I just don't feel right about pretending like I've been doing this forever and will continue on in the same fashion.

Get ready for my first knobby-kneed steps and stiff-armed slow dance, if you will.

Anyway, it was a feta sort of day around here. Maybe it was the fact that, following an afternoon of 60 degree temperatures, the heavens opened up and dumped at least 4 inches of snow.

Gotta love the weather patterns of the midwest.

Maybe it was the snow still left on the ground. Maybe it was the fact that I had already made a batch of Smitten Kitchen's feta salsa last week and had some leftover ingredients. Whatever the magical combo of motivating factors was, I was in a feta mood. I decided to make another batch of the feta salsa and try out a recipe for feta bread from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook that I've had my eye on for a while.

Yum. I don't think you'd really have to do anything to this pile of goodness, but I did anyway.

I chopped it all up and threw it in a bowl.

With some green stuff.

And mixed it all together.

Now, on to the bread.

You know bread is going to be good when it calls for a bunch of yogurt, a bunch of cheese, a bunch of butter, and a bunch of olive oil. And there's even lots of green stuff by way of parsley, dill, and onion stirred in to make it look a little healthier. I didn't take a picture of the butter and olive oil, because, well, I just didn't think it was that pretty.

When it came out of the oven, my first thought was that it looked a bit like the landscape of an alien planet. My second thought, which quickly followed, was that I hoped all alien landscapes looked so tasty and that I couldn't wait to dig into this one. This picture of the slightly browned and crisped top really doesn't do this bread justice. It is cake-like in its moistness. And filled with feta! Did I mention the feta?

I am not going to lie. This dinner consisted of a lot of bread and a lot of cheese (all of it delicious!). With some cucumbers thrown in to make me feel a bit better rounded.

Feta Salsa (from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 pound feta (cow’s milk)
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons fresh dill*
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley*
2 scallions
1/4 cup olive oil**

Crumble the feta into a bowl. Chop the tomatoes and olives, dill and parsley and thinly slice the scallions. Gently mix the ingredients together and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil, or to taste.

* I cheated and used dried, 1/3 the stated amount
** I drizzled in some of the packing oil from the tomatoes

Feta Cheese Bread (From Binnur's Turkish Cookbook)

1 cup yogurt, plain
125 gr unsalted butter, melted*
125 ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup parsley, chopped**
1/4 cup dill, chopped**
2-3 green (spring) onion, only white parts, chopped
3 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

* I used one stick plus about 1/2 tbsp
** Again, I cheated and used dried

8x8x2 (2L) Pyrex or oven safe dish, oiled

Mix all the ingredients except flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix the flour and baking powder and add into the feta cheese mixture. Mix them all with the spoon. Spread the mixture into the oiled oven dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C) and bake until the colour of the top turns golden or toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool down first. Then slice it up and serve with Turkish Tea.

[I lost track of exactly how long this took to bake, but 40 minutes is a safe estimate to start with. I think it would also be easy to make this with reduced amounts of butter and oil, but I have no idea by how much because, much as I would like to be, I'm not Alton Brown. Still, it bears experimenting with, because this is a very moist bread.]

An Inauspicious Beginning

So, what happens when two Ph.D. students/foodies discover a mutual love for food blogs?

They start one, of course.

What will follow will be our adventures in all things cooking and (hopefully) delicious. Please feel free to comment and leave us recipes to try, if you're so inclined!