This has been one busy weekend! Not only was it Cinco de Mayo celebration and the Derby but, here in Fort Lauderdale, we also had our annual Air Show down on the beach. The Air Show is great fun…especially if you don’t go. We live close enough to the beach that we can see the planes make their passes. In fact, if you stand in our pool and raise your arm you can just about high-five the pilots as they roar by! Needless to say, our grocery and liquor stores are crazy busy. The Friday heading into the weekend is when the madness begins. Both the deli and the meat departments run out of wings. Fried chicken, key lime pies and ice are long gone. Even the least favorite of Solo cups, the yellow ones, fly off the shelves. Hell, it’s just one big ol’ party out there. By 9:00 in the morning smokers and grills are fired up, mostly by the men, while the women rattle around in the kitchen, set up around the pool (that translates to “make it pretty”), give the dog a last-minute walk and take a final inventory of the bar necessities: tequila, bourbon and champagne. I’m fully aware that last statement I made sounds awfully sexist but I know of no females, family, friends or otherwise, who seek to learn the intricacies and nuances of grilling in the steaming Florida heat while being kept company by mosquitos the size of small dogs. No. And I won’t even go into what our humidity does to that blow out you paid good money for and are trying to make last until Tuesday. Nah. My girls don’t flip burgers, lobster tails or ribeyes. But what we WILL do is feed you some outstanding dishes. This dip is one of those dishes. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat myself. Because there are so few ingredients called for it is of paramount importance to use the best quality ingredients available to you. The feta must be made of sheep’s milk otherwise it’s not even feta. The cheese must be in block form. Store bought crumbled feta is just…wrong. It has no semblance to the real thing. I don’t buy it…ever. I purchase sheep’s milk feta in a block and crumble it myself and my recipes turn out as they’re supposed to. Use whole milk thick Greek yoghurt or whole sour cream. Even creme fraiche is okay in a pinch. Regarding the heat in the spread, if you like a good kick then add the entire scotch bonnet pepper. If you are uncertain no worries. Discard the stem of the pepper and slice it in half from stem end to bottom. Carefully cut out ribs and seeds and set them aside to add if you decide you want more heat. I wear disposable cloves to protect my fingers from burning my eyes if I happen to rub them. Easier than falling off a log. Serve with assorted breads, crackers, crudite and pickled vegetables. Try serving this dip with pickled okra…it’s not just for Bloodys anymore!
Spicy Whipped Feta and Roasted Pepper Dip, Tirokafteri
- 16 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese, drained and patted dry
- 12 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- 1/4 cup thick Greek yoghurt or whole sour cream
- 1 ripe scotch bonnet pepper, halved, ribs and seeds set aside if needed, stem discarded
- Into the bowl of a food processor. crumble the feta cheese by hand.
- Add the roasted red peppers, olive oil, yoghurt and scotch bonnet pepper. Process until smooth.
- Taste for heat adjustment and add some of the scotch bonnet seeds for additional heat.
- Cover and chill for 3-4 hours for the dip to firm up.