Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to one of the family’s annual pool party. With that said, I needed to come up with something to make. I normally do a spin on one of my taco dips, but this year I wanted to make something different. That’s when I immediately turned to all of the mint growing in my garden. Let me just say this, I have a TON of mint. I normally use the mint in dishes such as larb, or give handfuls to my daughter when she picks fresh raspberries from the backyard, but here I wanted to make a dip, using mint, and that is when I came up with a feta cheese and mint dip. It was great.

Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

The great thing about this dip, besides all of the wonderful flavor, is that you can serve it with pretzels or chips, or better yet, some nice garden vegetables.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Pita chips

This recipe is super quick to make, so lets get busy.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add in one tablespoon of the olive oil.  Once heated through, toss in the onions, and cook just until they begin to caramelize. Remove from the heat and set to the side.

To a mixing bowl, add in the cheese, lemon juice and zest, mint, dill weed, and cracked black pepper. Using a fork, begin mashing all of the ingredients.

Slowly add in the olive oil, and half of the cooked onions.  Stir until you have a lightly creamy texture.  Scoop the mixture into a serving dish, and garnish with the remaining cooked onions.

How to make Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

Serve with pita chips and fresh cut vegetables.

The result is a well balanced dip that has that great punch of feta cheese, while the mint just takes it into a whole other direction. Give this one a shot if you are looking for something other than a taco dip to bring to a party, especially if you love feta cheese. I wish I would have made more as this would probably be great on a grilled burger. Hope you enjoy!

Blueberry and Ginger Pie

So I entered a pie contest this past Fourth of July. If you have known me long enough, you have probably figured out that I am not a baking kind of guy, nor am I one that is big into desserts. However, my kids are all about the desserts, and my daughter in particular is one who is really into fruit, and fruit pies for that matter. So it was last year that we were up at our local festival and that is when I found out there was a pie contest. A friend of ours actually came in first place, and that is what drove me this year to submit one. I’ve really been into blueberries lately and use them quiet extensively when I juice, so I figured that would be my pie, or the base of the pie that I would submit.

As a side note, my pie did not win and I’m fine with that, but what I did notice is that I had a line in front of my pie, full of people just dying to try it. My pie was gone in a matter of seconds. I felt like a winner after all.

This blueberry and ginger pie was so good my daughter asked me to make another one a few days later, and so I did, but taught her how to make it. I was winning again.

Blueberry and Ginger Pie

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pints of fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp additional sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 pie crusts, store bought or homemade
  • 1 tsp course salt

The great thing about this pie is that it is so simple to prepare. I will also admit that I included a couple of other items in my pie submission and I will keep those a secret until I win next year.

Start by preheating your oven to 385 degrees.

Next, add your cleaned  berries to a large bowl and add in the ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Gently mix to get everything incorporated.

I used frozen pie crusts with my daughter, just thought I would let you know.

How to make blueberry and ginger pie

Take one frozen pie crust, in its pan, and add in the blueberry mixture. Carefully place the other pie crust on top of the blueberry mixture, then using a fork, crimp the edges to seal the pie.

Mix the egg and water in a small bowl. Lightly brush the egg wash mixture onto the pie crust. Cut a few slots with a sharp knife on the middle of the pie dough to allow steam to escape.

Sprinkle the course salt and additional sugar on the top of the pie. Place on a baking sheet (as the blueberry mixture will escape), and cook for about 50-60 minutes. Once nice and golden, remove from the baking sheet and place the pie tin onto a plate to let cool.

I like to place my pie into the refrigerator to let cool overnight. Obviously my daughter (and wife) could wait no longer.

When you are ready, slice and serve. The pie just hits the spot. Maybe it is that bit of salt that cuts the sweetness along with the zip from the lemon. Whatever it is, this pie is special, and super delicious, especially on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

It was not too long ago when some friends of ours said they were heading up north Wisconsin to visit some friends and that there was some cheese, the best cheese, in Wisconsin there. They had asked if I wanted some to bring back, and I said sure, get me twenty dollars worth of cheese, a mixture of a creamy blue, and some cheddar. I love soft blue cheese. I truly do. About a week later, I met up with them at our kids baseball game, and she forked over a bag of cheese, as promised, and she also threw in a blended cheese called Jamaican Jerk. They were not too pleased with the blend, however she said that I could probably make something out of it. I did. This pizza.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

At first bite, I really did not care for the cheese to be quiet honest with you, however I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I figured I was going to make a queso fundido out of it, and then it sparked of how much I love Jamaican jerk chicken, that I would make a pizza out of it as I already had made a batch of pizza dough for the family.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, rolled or tossed to your desire
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups of Jamaican Jerk cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite pizza sauce

That’s it. Pretty simple. The Jamaican Jerk cheese is actually a blend of a mozzarella style jack cheese so it went perfect when melted.

Start  by preheating your oven to the highest temperature, mine only goes to 500. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well.

Next, get your dough tossed or rolled out to your desired thickness. I went a bit on the thinner side on this pizza.

Spread a thin amount of pizza sauce on the pizza. Top with the Jamaican jerk cheese, and then add the shredded chicken. If you have some cheese left over, sprinkle it onto the chicken.

How to make a Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is nice and golden and the cheese is nice and melted.

I’ll admit, the result was pretty darn good. The cheese did still have some of the funk that it had when eaten by itself, but the pizza sauce, along with the chicken somewhat balanced it out.

Have you ever tried Jamaican jerk cheese? What are your thoughts? Hope you enjoy!

Garlic Scape Hummus

My wife and I are huge fans of hummus. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I have no shame in that. With that said, our farmers market is finely bringing in the seasonal pickings, and as I tend to every Saturday morning, I head up to the market and support a couple of local farmers, my favorites being Jerry and Paula. A couple of weeks ago, Jerry had bunches of nice garlic scapes. I do like garlic scape and think they are not only great to eat, but they are also super cool to look at. As I was looking at these curly things of joy, my brain sparked, and I decided to utilize it in some hummus.

Garlic Scape Hummus

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • water to cover the chickpeas
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 1/2 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes

Start by adding  enough water to cover the chickpeas in a pot. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for about 5 minutes or so, then drain, and let the chickpeas cool.

How to make garlic scape hummus

Add everything but the cold water to a food processor. Process until you have a nice, stiff paste, then add in the ice water and mix it for about 3-5 minutes, or until you have a nice, creamy paste.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, and serve.

The great thing about this garlic scape hummus is that you get this great flavor from the scapes.  It’s a bit like an light onion, as well as light garlic flavor. It’s perfect in every way. So if you can get a hold of some garlic scapes that are in season, grab a bunch and make some hummus. Hope you enjoy!