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October 26, 2012

GREEK TRIVIAL PURSUIT


RANDOM GREEK FACT #2

 

      Feta is a type of Greek salted curd cheese traditionally made from sheep's milk or a combination of sheep's and goats' milk. The defining characteristic of feta cheese is that it is brined or pickled. The brining process (from a week to several months) gives feta cheese a salty, tangy flavor and a crumbly consistency. It is stored in its own water brine.

     
 
What you should know about feta cheese:
          
1. It dries out and sours quickly when removed from its brine; for that reason, blocks of packaged feta cheese are covered with brine, and should be stored, refrigerated, in the brine until used. Feta is available in most supermarkets as a solid block packed in brine, or crumbled. So you better buy in large quantities (it's  also cheaper that way) in/with its brine.

2. If the feta is too salty for your taste, take the piece you want to use and soak in a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 fresh milk for an hour.

3. Feta is not a "melting" cheese. It is widely used in cooked dishes and, while it softens, it retains much of its original shape.


 


4. Feta cannot be made with cow's milk - at least not in the European Union. It must be made of at least 70% sheep milk and up to 30% goat milk, and it must be produced to definite specifications.

5. Even though the market is filled with cheeses labelled "feta" coming from EU member countries like France, Denmark and others, a 2005 ruling by the European Union restricted the use of the name "feta" to Greece!


      Feta has been a favorite cheese in Greece for many centuries and accompanies most of our meals.
 
 
      Feta can be used as an appetizer, side dish, and as an ingredient in salads, filled pies, and pastries. The classic Greek salad is made with Feta cheese.
      Feta cheese and spinach are often combined in Greek recipes such as the traditional Spanakopita, which is a spinach and feta cheese pie baked in phyllo dough or the Teropita, the classic cheese pie also baked in phyllo dough.
      A summer favorite use for feta is as accompaniment to watermelon. It's delicious!

 
      Here are two easy and common recipes with feta cheese that you can try: 

 
 Spicy Stuffed Peppers with Feta (Piperies me Tere)
 
 
 
      It is served as an appetizer (meze) or side dish. The recipe calls for bull's horn (or Anaheim or Cubanelle) peppers (long and tapered, light green in color, sweet), hot red peppers, and feta cheese It is quick and easy.
 
Ingredients:
  • 18-20 bull's horn, Anaheim, or Cubanelle peppers
  • 1 1/3 pounds of feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 small hot peppers (of your choice), finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • bread
Preparation:

      Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).Cut a cap off the tops of peppers, and scoop out seeds, taking care not to break or tear the pepper. In a bowl, mash the feta with a fork until soft. Add oil, parsley, hot peppers, salt, and pepper and mix until very well combined.Using a small spoon, stuff the cheese mixture into the peppers (pressing down with the handle of the spoon to completely fill) to 1/2 inch from the top. Press a small piece of bread into the pepper to keep the cheese filling from melting out during cooking. Place the caps back on each pepper.Lay the peppers in a lightly greased or nonstick baking pan and roast for 20 minutes or until they soften in a 390°F (200°C) preheated oven.

Alternative: These peppers stuffed with feta cheese can also be cooked on the grill. Make sure the bread is firmly in place so the cheese doesn't melt out.

*If you don't like them spicy don't add the hot peppers. They're just as delicious!



  Potato Omelet (Omeleta me patates)

Meat lovers version
      This is a great way to use leftover fried potatoes (just warm them in a little oil in a frying pan). Otherwise, make it with fresh fries and feta cheese, for a delicious meal.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of freshly made, lightly salted fried potatoes (thinly sliced) (or leftover fries)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 ounces of crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 eggs + 1 tablespoon of water, beaten with a fork
Preparation:

      Beat the eggs and add the feta cheese. In an 8 or 9-inch nonstick frying pan, add oil and the fried potatoes. Pour in the eggs with the feta cheese.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, turning a couple of times, until nicely browned on both sides.
    To turn: Run a spatula under the sides and bottom of the omelet to loosen. Put a plate over the top of the pan and turn the omelet out onto the plate. Slide the omelet back into the pan to cook the other side.

(If you can't go without your meat you could add fried or barbecued sausages cut in pieces, as well).



On your next visit to the grocery store, make sure to bring home the feta!
 
 
      LOL!!! There's a very funny song dedicated to Feta cheese from a Greek guy who lives in the USA. Take a minute and listen to the song! 

 
 
 
Photos are courtesy of Google images.



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16 comments:

  1. I LOVE the tang of Feta, but never knew how it was made, fascinating. I wonder if you've ever made your own...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless you are a farmer with sheep and/or goats it is sort of impossible to make your own. It's a tedious procedure that requires specific "tools" and area!

      Delete
  2. Hi....I am following you through the Blog Hop thingy!

    You have a great blog!.....I'd love to see you at The Web Babbler!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for following, Simon. I'll be right over!

      Delete
  3. My favorite cheese! Glad you mentioned it in your blog. There is a very nice humoristic song dedicated to feta from a Greek who leaves in the USA you may find it in youtube: So Tiri - Feta kai Psomi (Official Music Video Full HD).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great idea! I know the song and I will add it to my post! Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Newest follower here! I found you through the Friday link up! Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more!
    -meandmr.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi! I’m visiting from the Lovin’ My Weekends blog hop and thought I’d say hi. I am now following by GFC, FB. Would love a follow back at either of my blogs;

    http://familyliteracy2.blogspot.com
    http://givingnsharing.blogspot.com

    Thanks, Tina ‘the book lady’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. Hi Tina thanks for following. I'm already following you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My husband and I are huge cheese fans, and feta is a a personal fave. I love this post. Although, it's only 10:35 am and I'm now craving some spanakopita. We LOVE greek food.

    Found you from the linkup. Newest follower!

    Swing by if you can.

    xo
    Sel
    growinglaughingandlovinginlife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for following! I'll definitely swing by!

      Delete
  9. The Potato Omelet sounds fab-o!

    Thanks for liking up with Super Sunday Sync!
    Glad you stopped by,
    Hope to see you next week :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Haha, that ecard is hysterical!! I have never tried feta, but now I will have to. Those recipes sound tasty!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hmmm FETA! One more reason I need to get to Greece!

    ReplyDelete