We were at some new friends' house for dinner this past weekend and they made a whole Greek-themed dinner. I brought a sub-par peach cake, we listened to Greek music and I soaked in being on the other side of the kitchen. I really like hosting and having people over, but it is such a treat to be the one invited as a guest. I just finished the lovely Jessica Fetchor's book Stir and from the perspective of someone who is sick, she mentions as being the natural hostess and care taker, it is uncomfortable sometimes to be on the other side, being cared for, but how necessary it is. I realize I was merely at someone else's house for dinner on a Saturday night, not holding a candle close to Jessica's story of surviving a brain aneurysm, but we can relate to stories by way of our own reality. I was craving to sit at the table instead of standing in front of the stove, is that ok to say on a food blog? As someone who gets paid to write recipes for work? Maybe especially so. My favorite, unrelated to this, line in the book:
"But we are always swept this way and that. We create the life we want to live, yes. Then, in return, that life creates us. We follow the tides; we have no other choice. We splash about beneath the brightest of moons, then the darkest of skies, tug hard from the surface on anchors that refuse to budge, and then, if we are very brave, dive deep."
I just really enjoyed the book and Jessica's perspective. Perhaps I feel swept up in some sort of tide myself. Anyway. Erin made this chunky Greek salad with tomato halves, slices of cucumber, whole olives and feta cheese scattered throughout. It seemed so rustic but classic and I could have eaten the entire bowl. So, in light of loving to have lunches ready in the fridge, I thought maybe I could chop everything small and have a Greek salsa type thing. I could bring it to BBQs as a dip or toss it with a bit of lettuce for lunch or just sit with the serving bowl and a bag of sturdy crackers. It is exactly as I imagined it'd be and worth sharing here. No new technique or farmers market romance, just the tale of a summer staple gone right.
GREEK SALAD DIP // Serves 6 as an appetizer
I'll bring this dip to summer parties, but it's also great to keep stocked at home for a quick lunch. Stuff the mixture into a pita or into romaine leaves to make a meal of it. Not that crackers and a dip like this are not a sufficient lunch. You could add some cooked quinoa and a little more dressing and consider it a side dish, making it even more perfect for backyard BBQs.
- 1 cup cooked French Lentils
- 2-3 persian cucumbers
- 2 roma tomatoes, or something similar
- 1/2 a red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano leaves
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1/2-3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Put the lentils into a large mixing bowl. Scoop out the seedy center and finely dice the cucumbers. Do the same with the tomatoes and red pepper. The smaller the dice, the easier to scoop with a cracker. Add them to the mixing bowl. Add the red onion, olives, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper flakes, olive oil and vinegar and stir to mix. Gently stir in the crumbled feta and taste for seasonings.
Serve at room temperature or chilled. The salad will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, the vegetables getting a bit softer by the day but still enjoyable.