February 13, 2013
A favorite stop on my recent trip to Chicago was lunch at The Purple Pig. Their slogan is cheese, swine and wine (sold!) and our meal was outstanding from beginning to end. The menu was filled with Mediterranean inspired small plates, which I love because it gives you the opportunity to try many different things on the menu. It’s also just a really fun way to eat.
As soon as our long lunch was over (it was snowing, so we had a great excuse to keep on eating) I was already craving the meal all over again. This past weekend when hosting a party the dinner completely was inspired by The Purple Pig menu, minus the snow! I was able to recreate this whipped feta and grilled bread with ease and it was a hit. It’s great for entertaining because the dip can be made the day before.
Whipped Feta with Grilled Bread
I found this recipe at Food and Wine
1 pound feta (room temperature)
¼ pound of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Buzz all the ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Taste for seasoning. If it’s too salty, add a little more cream cheese. You can make this one day in advance and then top with the fresh garnish.
For the garnish:
I usually never use cucumbers in the winter months but I was so jonesing for this recipe I couldn’t help myself. Do I get extra credit that I grew the oregano and lemons in my garden? Feel free to substitute the cucumbers with green onions if you must be true to the seasons.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large English cucumber
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the cucumber in quarters and cut the seeds out of the middle. Next, small dice the cucumber and mix with the lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper. Spoon this mixture generously over the dip. You can serve it family style or scoop out individual portions on mini plates.
Grilled Bread Notes:
Here’s my tip for avoiding bread that is soggy or tough. I like to grill the bread on my grill pan a few hours before serving. At this point, I grill the bread dry (sans oil). Then just before serving, I heat it up and give it a drizzle of some good olive oil.
When you entertain it’s a good idea to set your oven at 200 degrees, then you can heat anything up easily (including your platters for serving). It took minutes for the bread slices to warm up this way and then I drizzled them with evoo, sea salt and cracked pepper.