Marinated Feta Recipe

I just finished the last jar of aged marinated feta made with homemade feta cheese. Oh my. It was beyond good. The seasoned olive oil is perfect for dipping crusty bread.

Homemade marinated feta. A glass of red wine, a loaf of crusty bread, and friends to share it with: it doesn't get better than that!

It was so good that I was instantly sad that I had no more. Thankfully I found a few quarts of feta in my spare fridge leftover from the summer. I typically make feta in the summer when it’s too hot to easily make chevre.

Here is a simple recipe for making your own marinated feta. You can use store-bought or homemade feta. Do you have a favorite recipe? I’d love to hear about it!

Marinated Feta

1. Cut feta into 1 inch chunks, or smaller or larger per your preference.

2. Into a clean and sterile pint-sized jar (or jar appropriate to the amount of feta you have), place a clove of garlic, halved or crushed, a goodly pinch of peppercorns and a dash of red pepper flakes.

3. Place feta chunks into the jar, nestling a bay leaf and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary half way up. Fill to cover with olive oil. Cover and let stand for several days to encourage the flavors to meld. You can start eating after a few days, but it’s best after at least a month. I put it in the fridge to age if I can wait that long. The leftover oil is delicious in salads, over bread or vegetables.


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Goat Milk Soap Workshop this Sunday

[12/1/11 update: THE CLASS IS FULL. I can’t accept any more registrations. Sorry!]

Our last workshop of the season will be this Sunday, December 4th, on Making Goat Milk Soap. If you’re interested in learning this craft, we still have a few spaces left.  Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Come make soap using my milk!

For those of you who have been looking forward to coming out for a workshop, our next one is on Making Goat Cheese, January 15th. More info to come!

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Local Winter Vegetables and Meat in Albuquerque

Got potatoes? Squash? Beef? Pork? If not, two farmers in our bioregion will be making deliveries in the next few weeks.

Kristen from Boxcar Farms will be making her annual wholesale heirloom potato/squash delivery on Nov. 13. Don’t miss out on your chance to stock up on her gorgeous spuds and squash! Email Kristen for full variety/cost details:

Local pasture-raised meats are hard to find in Albuquerque (not impossible, but difficult!). Pork especially. Thankfully Kretsinger Farm from southern Colorado will be making their monthly delivery in Albuquerque on November 18, and in Santa Fe and Taos on November 19. Contact Trudi for her complete price list and drop off times/locations.

Retail cuts of NM beef, lamb and local poultry can also be found at La Montanita Coop.

Albuquerque peeps: who’s your favorite farmer for beef and pork and poultry?

Posted in Gardening, New Mexico | 1 Comment

Artisan Bread Baking Workshop this Saturday, 10/22

This Saturday at 10am we’re having our annual Artisan Bread Baking workshop here at Sunstone. For those of you who have tasted my bread and have been clamoring to learn how to make it, here’s your opportunity!

Don’t know your biga from your poolish? Not to worry, we’ll cover ingredients, ovens, methods and why slow-ferment and real sourdough breads are not only more delicious but healthier for you.

This is a fun hands on workshop, and there will be plenty to taste. Hope to see you there! To register or for more details, see our workshops page.

Posted in South Valley - Albuquerque, Urban Homestead, Workshops | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

FREE Workshop This Sunday, Oct. 9, at Local Food Festival

Join me this Sunday, October 9, 11:45-12:30 for my FREE mini-workshop on Fast and Easy Food Preservation at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House. In this fun presentation, I’ll share some of my favorite tips for preserving your garden harvest before the first frost including old-fashioned pickling/fermenting.

The workshop is part of an entire day of festivities at the Local Food Festival. The great line up this year includes music all day, fun for kids, readings by local authors, a farmer’s market with local food and crafts, and as always, tastings from local chefs ALL FOR FREE!

It doesn’t get better than this. Big thanks to Lora Roberts and the crew over at MRCOG for organizing this incredible community event!

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Lacto-Fermented Pickled Beets

This is my favorite way to eat and preserve beets. I eat these almost daily. I’ll sprinkle a few over a salad, or just eat a small bowl. I also like to put them out as part of a tapas spread. I grew up eating the sweet and sour (think sugar and vinegar) pickled beets, but ever since I started making these, I can’t go back to the old version.

Pickled Beets - Delicious and Gorgeous!

I’m down to a quart of pickled beets, so this morning I dug up the remaining summer beets from the garden. These are so simple to make, and even die-hard beet-haters come around with this recipe. Plus, unlike the “canned” vinegar pickled beets, these are good for you. No added sugar and fermented vegetables benefit the digestive system. Enjoy!

Lacto-Fermented Pickled Beets

Fresh beets
Sea salt or pickling salt (no iodized salt)

1. Make a brine of 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 1 cup water.

2. Scrub beets and remove root ends and tops. You don’t want any sand in those pickles!

3. Chop beets into 1/2 inch dice and add to a quart-sized mason jar, leaving an inch of head space. Fill with the brine to cover the beets. Cover with a lid, but do not tighten the lid all the way down (leave some “give” for any fermenting gases to escape) or affix a paper towel with a rubber band to keep dust and fruit flies out.

4. Let sit on the counter for 3 days. Move to the refrigerator and let sit for at least another week or two. I find that they get better with age, and I prefer them after a few months of aging. Enjoy!


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Watermelon Granita

We had the most stunning success growing watermelons this year. I grew my old standby, Moon and Stars, and a newer big momma type, Congo. Congo only grew one melon per vine, but it was a big momma, easily the size of 4 moon and stars combined, and, oh momma, was it sweet.

Moon and Stars Watermelon

The irony of growing watermelons in a 4-season climate like New Mexico is that by the time they ripen, the weather is starting to turn cool again, and I start thinking more of apples than watermelon, but thankfully (?) it was such a blasted hot, rainless summer that when I cracked open the first congo, it was just what the meteorologist ordered.

After Tree and I ate our fill of the fruit, I realized I had an enormous amount of cut watermelon left and no room in the tiny fridge. So I decided to make some watermelon granita. This recipe is from Epicurious. And, let me tell you, it’s a keeper.

Eat me!

It’s not even much of a recipe, just blend up the watermelon a with a little sugar and lime juice. Watermelon is so cooling. It’s the perfect dessert for a warm late summer evening. Even though it’s getting late in the season (and some of you may have had your first frost), if you still have melons in the garden, try this. You won’t be sorry! I also made pickled watermelon rind for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I’ll share the recipe in another post.

Watermelon Granita
This recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on serving size. You can make this ahead of time for a dinner party. I’ve managed to keep it as long as a week in the freezer (before I ate it all!).

Generous quart of seeded watermelon, cut into chunks, I used probably 6 cups
1/2 cup sugar (or less, if your watermelon is as sweet as mine was)
1 tablespoon lime juice (I used a little more because I love lime juice.

1. Whir everything up in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust for seasoning (sugar, lime).

2. Pour into a square pan. Find room in the freezer (this is the hard part of the recipe).

3. Let the granita freeze for an hour. Stir. Freeze until firm and then scrape the granita into flakes with a fork. I frequently let the granita freeze solid without stirring. This makes it labor-intensive to scrape into flakes. When this happens, I tend to just chunk it, and eat it in chunks. Or you could do a quick blend to mush it up without melting it. Garnish with mint leaves. So delicious! Enjoy!

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