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Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

Updated: Nov 6, 2020


The Challenge:


Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta, page 66, Foolproof. Or you can get the recipe here.


Lea's Take:


Doesn't "whipped feta" sound so glamorous? Anyone who knows feta knows it's a crumbly type of cheese and you don't really eat it "whipped." But, I trust Ina.


So, I asked my husband (he's going to need a name, too) to purchase the ingredients while he was out. (Mistake #1)


The Ingredients:


6 ounces good feta, crumbled (see? crumbly cheese)

2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature


Let me stop right here to say that I had to google "how long does it take for cream cheese to reach room temperature". The answer is about 60 minutes. You're welcome. [Mary: Um, you can also soften in the microwave a bit...for this, I'd do about 10 seconds.] [Lea: Gah! You put dairy in the microwave?!] Also, my husband, bless his heart, bought a tub of cream cheese instead of the brick (Mistake #2), so I had to improvise.


Anyway, other ingredients include a bunch of things I have in my house (lemon, salt & pepper) and a lot of things I didn't (shallots, garlic, basil, pine nuts). In the end, I didn't get the garlic and used minced garlic from the spice jar [Mary: OMG! Dried minced garlic?! Never. Ever. Not even the refrigerated kind!], which, by the way, I ran out of, so there's probably not enough garlic in my rendition.


I am certain my sister has it all in her pantry. She has a frickin' basil tree in her backyard. I mean, come ON. [Mary: Pesto, anyone?]


And can I just add that it was a minor miracle that I read the recipe ahead of time to learn how much prep work I had to do? I mean, it's an hour to get the cream cheese to the right temperature, then it says to mix some things an hour before serving. [Mary: it says "up to an hour". But, as our father says, "Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.] {Lea: Semantics.] And you wonder why I don't cook.


At first glance, the recipe seemed pretty easy. But, about halfway through cutting the baguette horizontally, I asked myself why I was even doing this. Although I was impressed to learn that I have not just one, but two (2!) food processors in my kitchen. Who knew?!


Also, I made one helluva mess. You'll notice my sister's pictures are beautiful, artfully crafted; meanwhile, my kitchen was a shitshow:


Mess, mess, and more mess.


I believe I used every bowl, knife, and utensil in my house. And this was just an appetizer! What am I going to do when we're making main dishes?!

Yes, I was eating graham crackers while cooking.


All in all, I think this appetizer took about 400 hours to make. Juuuust kidding. Minus the prep, it probably took 30-40 minutes to make.


2 minutes to eat.


And 2 hours to clean up.


Totally worth it.



Mary's Take:


We were invited to a little backyard socially-distanced party (Hi, Erin!) over this Labor Day weekend, and I chose to bring the crostini to that.

Ina’s recipe calls for good feta and I wholeheartedly agree. Being Greek, we eat a TON of feta, but we eat mostly French feta and I’ll tell you why: we eat it on the side of our plate, in a chunk, with good bread. French feta is milder, creamier and less salty than Greek feta. And it goes with everything. It’s not readily available at our local grocery store, but, no worries, we have a Greek store nearby and make the trip there every 2 weeks or so to stock up on a pound or two.

So. I made my whipped feta with our French feta. Greek would have surely given this mixture more of the feta flavor than I had…next time I will grab a block of it at the Greek store for this recipe. I love all these flavors: feta, olive oil, lemon…I could eat this stuff by itself with a spoon. I know Mr. Good Eater would agree with me (he gets his need to eat feta with every meal from me).




Here are my pretty summer tomatoes (God, I love them this time of year). [Lea: Me too.] And because those gorgeous, flavorful tomatoes are so good now, I chose to use them instead of colorful cherry tomatoes, but I would do that in other seasons. [Lea: Whew, I was wondering about that since those aren't the kind of tomatoes I used. I thought, "Did I read the recipe wrong??" Which, let's face it, is going to happen.]

As you can see from the scale, I was so close to the 2 lbs.! The orange one in there? So good.



Watch out when you’re making crostini…they can toast quickly! I’m saving these ones for the leftover whipped feta.




I'd also provide a note of caution when toasting pine nuts. I toast in a teeny pan on the stove until they're brown in a couple of spots and become fragrant. Despite what my sister did, don't leave them out. They provide a great crunch and nuttiness to the crostini. [Lea: Meh. Who needs "nuttiness"? And she was worried about sounding pretentious!]





The Results:


Lea:

Well, I thought it tasted good. I didn't miss the extra garlic or the pine nuts (did I mention I didn't have those either? Mistake #3) [Mary: At a current price of $9.99 for a small package, this is an expensive ingredient. Having said that, though, I found them on sale recently and bought 2 packages...if I was a good sister, I would have given her some.]

Mr. Good Eater: Said it was "good", and ate three (3!) of them

My husband: There was too much olive oil

Mr. Picky Eater [shaking his head]: I don't like it.


Here's what Ina's looks like:


Mine:


You'll notice that some of my tomatoes are cut properly, but most were not. About halfway through my cutting, I remembered that my sister had already taught me how to cut things, so I finished the rest of the tomatoes the right way. [Mary: Ha, you're learning already!]


Mary:

Socially-distanced party people seemed to really like these. I was worried that if I topped them with the juicy tomatoes before I went to the party, they’d be mushy, but since my crostini were a little on the crispy side and the schmear of cheese acted as a barrier, they traveled just fine!


Mine were cut diagonally and they smooshed together on the platter a bit, so my pic isn't as pretty as hers. But delicious all the same! [Lea: Wait, something of mine was better? But you had a garnish!]



Overall, I'd say our first cookbook challenge recipe was a winner! It's beautiful, summery goodness. One more recipe for the week, then it's on to week 2!


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2 comentarios


Kim Pajer
07 sept 2020

@Lea - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's kitchen is a "shit show" after making something!

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jannymac1
07 sept 2020

I can not wait to follow you two!

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