Eat Greek: Red pepper feta dip and salad kabobs

Red Pepper Feta Spread. (Courtesy of Foodland Ontario)

Red Pepper Feta Spread. (Courtesy of Foodland Ontario)

Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 PM ET

Cue the bouzouki music, it’s almost April and we’re warming up with the bright, fresh flavours of Greece!

All the ingredients for a fabulous feast are hear — from feta cheese to yogurt, oregano to good quality olive oil, event honey all play starring roles in Greek cuisine.

Casual and made for sharing, these sunny recipes courtesy of Foodland Ontario are easy to fix and guaranteed to please the whole family.

Red Pepper Feta Spread

Simple and addictive, this pepper spread is common in Greece as part of a shared appetizer table (mezes). Serve with toasted pita wedges, cucumber slices and pepper wedges.

  • 1 sweet red pepper, cut into chunks (1-1/4 cups/300 ml)
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta cheese (4 oz/125 g)
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

In medium skillet, combine red pepper and water; cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until pepper is tender. Uncover and bring to boil; simmer until all liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. In food processor or blender, puree pepper, cheese and pepper flakes until smooth. Transfer to bowl; cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 1 cup (250 ml), serves 6.

Tip: Any leftovers make a fantastic sandwich or burger spread.

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Greek Salad

Fresh, fast and Greek-inspired, this chicken dish is perfect for a family or casual night dinner. To soak up all the delicious juices, serve with grilled crusty bread brushed lightly with olive oil

  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each dried oregano and dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) each salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb/500 g)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chunks tomatoes
  • 1 piece (5-inches/12 cm) cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet yellow or orange pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) thinly sliced red onion
  • 6 pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) crumbled feta cheese

In large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic. Transfer 4 tsp. (20 ml) of dressing to glass bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.)

To remaining dressing, add tomatoes, cucumber, yellow pepper, onion and olives; toss and set aside.

Place chicken on greased grill over medium heat (350°F/180°C). Grill, covered, for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside and a thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 165F (74C). Divide chicken and salad among serving plates and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 4.

Greek Salad Kabobs

Kabobs are a fun, quick and easy way to serve vegetables. Turn them into a meal by adding cooked, cubed pork or lamb and serve in a pita.

  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) minced red onion
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) each red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. (4 ml) dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. (0.5 ml) each salt and freshly ground pepper

Kabobs:

  • 4 mini cucumbers
  • Half each greenhouse sweet red, yellow and orange pepper
  • 24 grape tomatoes
  • 8 leaves Boston or leaf lettuce
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml)feta cheese

In small bowl, stir together yogurt, garlic, onion, vinegar, oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover dressing and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 1 day.

Kabobs: Cut each cucumber into 6 pieces. Cut each pepper into 8 chunks.

On eight 8-inch (20 cm) bamboo or metal skewers, thread 1 piece each of cucumber, pepper and tomato; repeat twice.

Brush each kabob liberally with dressing; place on lettuce-lined platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with feta. Serve with remaining dressing.

Serves 4/ 8 kebobs.

Tip: Set out small bowls of prepared vegetables and have kids make their own kabob combination.

Baby Honey Cakes

These golden tender cakes sweetened and drizzled with warm honey are easy to prepare and so yummy for brunch or dessert.

  • 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) grated lemon rind
  • 1/8 tsp. (0.5 ml) salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) liquid honey
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Honey Syrup and Yogurt Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) liquid honey
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) grated lemon rind

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon rind and salt. In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk, honey and oil; pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Spoon batter into greased 6-cup nonstick muffin pan. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes.

Honey Syrup and Yogurt Topping: In microwavable measuring cup, combine honey and lemon juice; remove 2 tsp. (10 ml) of honey syrup to small bowl; stir in yogurt and lemon rind to make yogurt topping. Cover and refrigerate.

Microwave remaining honey syrup on High for 30 seconds or until warm.

Remove cakes from pan and generously brush all over with some of honey syrup. Place upside down on serving plates. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. (Make-ahead: Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.) Drizzle remaining honey syrup all over each cake. Top with a dollop of yogurt topping.

Serves 6.

 


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