Saturday, July 26, 2008

feta makes everything betta

I didn't go as long in life missing out on feta as I did, say, cherries, but it's been off my radar for more years than it's been on, so I feel a little like I'm making up for lost time.

Now that we live 30ish miles from the big city (about an hour drive, owing to lights and traffic, it's not an interstate) our trips to Trader Joe's are infrequent. For over a decade, we've been within a few miles of a TJs and I've grown really reliant on certain products. Our proximity has encouraged me to find replacements, for some stuff, but I do try to get there at least once a month. I can often go longer, depending. Depending on whether we've ran of feta or not.

Because not any feta will do, no. And I can't find another retailer that stocks my favorite:

pastures of eden

Pastures of Eden feta, made from Sheep's milk and imported from Israel, is so flipping delicious. Tangy and salty and lacking the same chalky mouth-feel I notice in other fetas. I don't think it tastes sheepy, but then, I don't regularly eat cow dairy, so I have no bovine standard. I do occasionally eat feta when in restaurants and I don't specify the animal milk it was made from (eating out with all of my self-imposed restrictions can be tricky enough, so I have a few gray 'don't ask, don't tell' areas), so it is probably cow and I always, always think it's bland.

As a quick side dish or mid-day snack, we sprinkle the feta on a sprouted wheat english muffin and toast it. I toss it over salads, add it to omelets, pizza. And all of those things are delicious.

But it wasn't until the other day, when I scrabbled together a fast green bean dish (okay, I confess: I found two half used bags of frozen green beans at the back of my freezer, forgotten for who knows how long, and dangerously approaching frostbit stage, and decided I needed to turn them into *something*) did I take my devotion to feta to a whole, new loopy plane.

I sauteed the green beans and a few minced garlic cloves up in a bit of coconut oil. I poured on some Bragg's (liquid aminos, if you're like me, you just say 'bragg's' to mean the product, not the brand name, even though they make other stuff, too, like cider vinegar) and a little water to keep everything from sticking to the cast iron pan, a little more bragg's, a little more water, and then, when they were tender and a little bit caramelized, into a pyrex bowl and I added a lot of crumbled feta. Stir together and eat in unbelievable bliss.

sauteed green beans w feta

This was really the accompaniment to the chickpea croquettes I made (off the cuff, sorta like falafels with ingredients at hand, but using fresh basil and almond meal instead of flour, for a really delicate texture) but I tell you: the green beans stole the show.

It was the sort of flavor combination I couldn't stop thinking about and had to replicate as soon as possible. Yesterday I took a bunch of fresh green beans from my local farmer's market and did the same thing and served it up to a visiting friend. We split the whole bowl and I think she found it just as delicious as I did.


Angelina said...

Why oh why won't anyone make a cow feta around here?!

Anyway...I hear you on the feta except the sheepy part. I don't think cow feta is dull but I suppose it depends on who made it.

I miss feta. I really really do. Cheddar cheese is just not the same.

Lisa said...

I've never tried this feta. I've been the opposite. Never lived near a TJ. Maybe I'll have to bum a chunk off of you.

textile_fetish said...

Oh wow. I've just recently discovered sheepsmilk feta and the kind I bought was French. It's supposed to be very mild compared to Greek (I think), but that was the only comparison I'd read about.