Marinated Feta Cubes

Summer is a time for outdoor parties, and I love surprising guests with special treats that look like a million bucks, but are easy to make and don’t cost a fortune. Finger food can often be tricky, because it’s time consuming to make and requires practice and a good bit of patience. So when we were over at my parents’ house the other day, and my mom brought out a plate of Marinated Feta Cubes, I knew I had to have the recipe! Not only do they look super cute, but they are so delicious!

You could serve these with drinks before dinner, as an appetizer, or as part of a cold buffet. Either way, I promise your guests will be very impressed! If wrapping the Feta in sliced zucchini and tying with chives sounds like too much work to you, then you can leave those steps out.

Marinated Feta Cubes
good quality Feta cheese, cubed
thinly sliced zucchini ribbons (use a vegetable peeler or mandoline)
chives
good quality extra virgin olive oil
thinly sliced garlic
finely minced red chili
sprigs of thyme

1. Wrap Feta in zucchini ribbons (one ribbon per cube) and tie with chives (one chive per cube).
2. Mix oil with garlic, chili, and thyme.
3. Pour oil mixture over Feta cubes.
4. Arrange thyme on top of cubes.
5. Let stand for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Bills Food

Australian star chef Bill Granger’s cookbook “Bills Food” is a must for everyone who loves whipping up delicious food without slaving away for hours. The food is casual yet elegant, easy to prepare and completely fuss free. The recipes are fresh and hip takes on all-time favorites, including some indulgent comfort food. Italian and Asian elements play an important role throughout throughout the book, as does his love for fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs. You won’t find any heavy sauces or butter loaded dishes, it’s all light and healthy (maybe with the exception of the Chocolate Brownies with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce…but hey, you gotta have chocolate, right?).

The recipes are neatly divided into four categories, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. All recipes feature gorgeous full page color photographs by the very talented Petrina Tinslay, plus there’s a great listing of some of Bill Granger’s favorite cookbooks at the end of the book.

From the Breakfast chapter…

From the Lunch chapter…

From the Afternoon Tea chapter (one of my favorite recipes in the book)…

And from the Dinner chapter…

Highly recommended!

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My Great-Grandma’s Kirschkuchen

Kirschkuchen

My great-grandma was a veritable cook. She was highly proficient in making all those traditional Austrian dishes that use a lot of sugar, flour, yeast, and a pair of strong hands. Her fabulous repertoire included Marillenkn√∂del (apricot dumplings), Buchteln, Strudeln, and copious amounts of cakes studded with fruit or nuts, depending on the season. None of these were made with the help of any electric kitchen devices, they just didn’t exist back then.

Some of her recipes have survived, and a lot of them list the weight of ingredients based on the weight of the eggs used. Hens were really free to do whatever they wanted back then, including laying non-standardized eggs! The recipe for her Kirschkuchen (cherry cake) also relies on this concept, so it will yield more or less batter depending on the size of the eggs you are using. It is equally delicious with apricots or plums.

My Great-Grandma’s Kirschkuchen
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
butter (3 x the weight of the eggs), softened at room temperature
sugar (3 x the weight of the eggs)
flour (3 x the weight of the eggs)
1 pack of vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon rum
fresh cherries (pitting optional)

1. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Slowly add the yolks and mix until incorporated. Add rum and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
4. Beat 1/3 of the stiff egg whites into the butter mixture.
5. Carefully incorporate the remaining egg whites and flour, alternating.
6. Pour batter into spring form pan (26cm/10″ for medium sized eggs), and spread evenly.
7. Top with ample amount of cherries in a single layer.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 40 to 45 minutes.
9. Let rest for five minutes, then remove from form.
10. Let cake cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

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Weekend Gourmet: Summer Bounty

Earlier this week, I made a trip to the market and within minutes was giddy with excitement. The stalls were overflowing with ripe, juicy, brightly colored summer produce! I completely forgot myself and ended up buying loads of fruits and vegetables, which I then had to lug home. But it was so worth it. This abundance of ripe produce only comes around once a year, and lasts way too short, so better make the most of it, right? So without further ado, here’s what caught my eye on the blogosphere – delicious recipes brimming with the best summer has to offer. Enjoy!

For starters, Caitlin features a wonderful Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Brown Butter Corn. I love how instead of the usual oil and vinegar dressing, the corn gets sauteed in brown butter. And farro is one of my favorite grains. It’s so versatile and provides great texture and substance to a salad. I can easily envision this salad as a wonderful side for grilled chicken or fish. Tasty!

Next up, a superb Summer Corn Soup by Jennifer over at Seasons and Suppers. This is a light and healthy recipe bursting with flavor. There’s lots of sweet corn, celery, marjoram, and a delicious topping of sour cream, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Oh, and did I mention that Jennifer serves this soup with home made buttermilk biscuits sprinkled with fleur de sel? Mouthwatering…

This scrumptious Zucchini, Sweet Onion, and Bell Pepper Tart by Branny over at Branny Boils Over is calling my name! It is so refreshing to see bell peppers used creatively rather than in the tired old stuffed version. The tart sounds like a combination of a pie and a quiche, but without the heaviness of cream and too many eggs. It features a crust made with whole wheat flour and olive oil rather than butter. Perfect with a little salad for a light lunch!

And to finish it all off, the ultimate summer Watermelon Peach Limeade from Karen at Our Life In The Kitchen. Whether you make this with vodka, tequila, or no alcohol at all, this drink should best be sipped in a hammock under a palm tree, on a lounge chair by the pool, or in a rocking chair on a shady front porch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The color alone is heavenly… Summer doesn’t get any better than this!

Happy weekend!

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Nordtiroler Schinken With Rosemary Beans And Lettuce

These days, I find myself looking for fast and simple dinner solutions, preferably the kind that don’t require me to turn on the stove. We’ve had gorgeous summer weather with clear blue skies and temperatures well into the 90′s, and I’d rather spend time with a good book under a shady tree than behind the stove..

A nice little salad always does the trick when I want something delicious without a lot of work. For this recipe, I used air dried Nordtiroler Schinken, which is a ham specialty from the Austrian province of Tyrol. It’s lean, very tasty and is traditionally eaten for a snack with hearty bread. If you can’t find it, prosciutto also works well here. You can also change up the lettuce and use anything from Belgian endive to mache (lamb’s lettuce) or even arugula.

One thing you should not skip on is high quality olive oil. This salad is extremely simple, so the better the ingredients, the better it will taste! Serve with crusty white bread, such as baguette or ciabatta.

Nordtiroler Schinken with Rosemary Beans And Lettuce
Nordtiroler Schinken or prosciutto, thinly sliced
lettuce, such as oak leaf, Belgain endive, mache, or arugula
canellini beans (canned)
red onion, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
balsamico bianco
salt, pepper
fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. Arrange lettuce, ham, and beans on plates
2. In a small bowl, mix together oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary until emulsified.
3. Top beans with sliced onion.
4. Drizzle dressing over beans and lettuce.

DONE!

Enjoy!

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