Fun with Feta

Oh commenters, you complete me. I did a post last week called Summer Food where I asked you, my readers, what foods really capture the summer season. The responses were great, but one stuck out in my head as I made my way to the grocery store this weekend. That was KatyBelle’s. She said, “Anything vaguely Mediteranian or involving Feta cheese basically” and went on to praise watermelon with Feta and a Greek pasta salad also with feta. Well look what I made this weekend:

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That’s hummus on the left–you blitz chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the food processor (the recipe’s on Epicurious: the trick is to reserve the chickpea liquid and then to add it at the end until the hummus is smooth and creamy (which, come to think of it, was another tip from a reader from the last time I made hummus))–and, on the right, watermelon and feta salad. I just bought a watermelon already cut up and cut smaller it into nice squares. I tossed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, some slivers of onion and, of course, Feta. It tasted great and only now do I realize what it’s missing: mint. I made it with mint once before and that was over the top.

The next day I put the Feta to more good use (do you prefer it when I capitalize or leave uncapitalized “feta” ?) when I improvised this pasta salad:

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It’s sort of based on a Mario Batali dish I made last year, only this time I used cherry tomatoes and I used penne. Essentially, you chop up some garlic and throw it in a bowl with lots of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and pepper and, if you’d like, some red chile flakes. Then you take a carton of cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) cut them in half and throw them in with everything else. I added a splash of red wine vinegar and I added even more later: do it to taste. You also add some chopped up some parsley but you could use basil or any other herb you enjoy. And that’s basically it. You cook the pasta until just al dente then drain and add to this bowl. And then, of course, you top it with Feta. A simple, easy, and terrific summer dinner. Thanks KatyBelle! You and Feta are my new best friends.

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