Because, really, why wouldn’t you be having fun with feta?
I think I’ve mentioned that people at my office love to eat. That is probably the subconscious reason I go to work every day. To surround myself with people who eat almost as much and as often as I do. It makes me feel slightly less gluttonous. They also love to have pot lucks, which I find to be weird, forced socialization experiences that have the one redeeming quality of involving a lot of food. In the past I’ve always baked for the pot lucks because, well, that’s generally just what I do whenever mandatory mingling comes up. Or whenever anything comes up, really.
However, since I’ve been obsessing over this dip from How Sweet It Is since I read the post, I opted to bring an appetizer. I think people would automatically assume I’ve been abducted by aliens and there’s a robot in my place (a la Small Wonder) if it weren’t for the fact that they’re all still scratching their heads over the guy who signed up to bring Beef Wellington.
After a slight oven malfunction, I managed to get the head of garlic and the jalepenos roasted. I wasn’t convinced they were done enough, but they tasted fine in the finished product.
Chop the top off a head of garlic, wrap it in garlic pour a tsp or so of olive oil over it. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about half an hour or until it’s soft.
I used a little too much olive oil (and had the aforementioned oven malfunction), so they didn’t come out with the nice char on them like they should, but it did the trick – they still peeled easily.
Roasted garlic, roasted jalepenos, lemon zest. I think How Sweet’s version of this probably didn’t use jalapenos the size of cucumbers, after stirring this was really spicy. Perfect for me, I enjoy eating things that could melt plastic, but not so great for sharing with a group. It was also a little too straight up feta-y for me. It tasted fantastic, but I couldn’t eat half a bowl of it, and that’s my prerequisite for dips. So I chopped up a can of these:
From years of being subjected B’s obsession with the Food Network, I learned that you can use honey to cut down on the heat when you over do spicy ingredients, so I added a squeeze for good measure (less than a Tbsp). I hate honey, but you couldn’t taste it at all and it totally worked! Thank you Bobby Flay.
The final product. I managed to refrain from consuming the whole bowl at 11 PM.
Go make this.
Artichoke Feta Dip
(adapted from Crazy Feta on How Sweet It Is)
makes about 3 cups
2 bricks of feta cheese, 8 ounces each*
3 whole jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
1 can artichokes in water**
1 bulb garlic
the juice of one and a half lemons (or to taste)
the zest 1 lemon
salt and pepper
*You only saw one brick of cheese in my photo because we shop at Costco. That was a HUGE 21 oz brick for, like, $.83. I used 16 oz of it.
**you can use ones in oil and cut down on the olive oil above
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle it with olive oil (I don’t really measure, but about a tsp is good). Wrap it in foil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until garlic is golden in color. At the same time, brush the jalapenos with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I used the oven since it was on for the garlic – just put them on the rack, turning until they’re charred. You can also use a grill or a cast iron pan. Remove both from oven and let cool. While they’re cooling, chop the atichoke hearts in small pieces.
The skins will peel off the jalepenos easily once they’re cool – discard the skin and the seeds and chop them up. I use rubber gloves for this part because I am notorious for immediately sticking my finger in my eye after touching something spicy.
In a large bowl, crumble the feta. Add the jalapenos, lemon zest, lemon juice (start with half a lemon and add to taste). Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb directly into the feta. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil (or olive oil from the artichoke hearts) and mash with a fork. Stir in the artichoke hearts, salt & pepper to taste and more lemon juice if you like. I served it with pita chips, but you could use any dip transferring vehicle you enjoy.