This time of year I always have the opportunity to picnic with friends at a concert, or sale the sound on a boat, or simply share a cocktail on my patio — and I LOVE that! This evening, I am noshing with foodie friends on a boat, so I opted to bring along a trio of spreads, and some fluffy, soft pita bread wedges (I get the pitas at Costco!).
- 1/2 cup green olives, preferably imported, pitted
- 1 shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 2 tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar, or lemon juice
Pit olives. Combine all ingredients in food processor and process just until mixed, not smooth. Spread on crostini, crackers or pita wedges. Makes about 1/2 cup. Can be refrigerated up to 3 weeks.
gorgonzola walnut spread
- 8 ounces ricotta
- 8 ounces gorgonzola, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon brandy, amaretto or Kentucky bourbon (optional)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly snipped chives
Combine ricotta, gorgonzola, and liquor if using, until creamy. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in walnuts and half of the chives. Chill. Garnish with remaining chives.
To serve, spread on crostini, pita wedges or crackers.
This tasty red pepper and feta spread is a very simple recipe that I got from Kat Zoubalakis, young student who taught her family heritage cuisine here a few years back. This spread, perfect for pita or bread, has become a favorite!
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 250 grams (about 1/2 pound) feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
- Dash of salt and pepper to season
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Deseed the peppers and cut each ‘cheek’ away from the stem and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven until the skins are blackened and the peppers completely softened – about 30-40 minutes. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with tin foil and let cool, this will loosen the skin and make it easier to peel off. Never run them under water as you will lose the sweet roasted flavor.
Finely chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Crumble in the feta cheese, then stir in the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and the thyme leaves.
Mash with a fork to a rough paste – make sure the consistency is not too smooth, but add more oil if it needs loosening. Season and serve with pita wedges.
Makes about 2 cups spread.