So, about a month ago I got together with Megan and Amanda for an awesome and truly delicious Bake Date. We ate croissants and pop tarts, drank hot cocoa, and played a ton of banana grams (if you haven’t played that game you really should, it’s super fun and lots of indignation will happen). I also made some dips and homemade pita chips to make our bake date not kill us with sugar. At least that was the plan. I made two dips actually but I’m only going to write about one of them – ever probably, number two was not good.
A while ago (after blogger brunch at Dorado Tacos actually) I ended up hitching a ride to Russos with Renee and we talked about whipped feta dips. Batting ideas back and forth over the ways feta could be used to make a dip and which feta would be best for it. She ended up making one with beets (which is a fabulous shade of pink and I totally need to make). And I made one with roasted red peppers (unbeknownst to her, admittedly, but it was this conversation that inspired me to actually try it). I chose roasted red peppers because in the handful of times I have gone to Sofra I have gotten this mezza as an appetizer and it makes me giddy, fresh pita chips and some of this dip and I’m set. Give me a book and I’ll read, and munch, for a good long while (well until the dip is gone anyway).
The pita chips were merely an experiment to see if I could do it. There was no recipe to go by, just an idea that if I was spending $2.50 per bag on pita chips wouldn’t it be better to make them myself? I was right. It was worth it. They were delicious, and I was lucky I was able to save any pita chips and feta dip once BF tried them. Both the chips and dip were so remarkably simple I’m surprised I hadn’t tried them sooner. Now I strongly recommend you try them too.
Kathy’s Pita Chips
Note: This recipe just deals with one “bag” of pitas but you can easily make more. It’s also a very fast process so don’t go wandering too far while the chips are baking.
2-3 pocket pitas, cut into triangles and separated (I get mine at Arax where they get fresh breads delivered daily but wherever you can find the pita go for it, Thomas’ is a decent nat’l brand)
garlic, salt, rosemary, whatever you like… cinnamon and sugar would be very good
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees farenheit, make sure you let the oven come up to temperture – it is critical with these chips or else they’re wilty (trust me, I got impatient so I threw the pitas in the warming oven and was hugely disappointed in the results). While the oven heats cut your pitas into good chip sizes, I recommend basically making a pizza with 8 slices so you have triangles… or an approximation of them. layer the pita “chips” in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and spray/brush/drizzle olive oil on the pitas. I use a regular spray bottle I picked up at the grocery store for this and it gets the job done, it’s not nearly as good as having a Misto (hey family *nudgenudgewinkwink*) but it works in a pinch. Sprinkle whatever spices you like on your chips, I like mine with salt, rosemary, and garlic powder but I think cinnamon and sugar would be awesome, though they wouldn’t go with the feta dip (maybe a slightly sweeter spiced cream cheese dip, like frosting, eh?). Put the chips in the oven for 3-7minutes, checking them every minute or two for doneness. DON’T WALK AWAY. These go from done to burnt in literally 10 seconds, but are worth it. When the chips are a nice light-medium brown pull them from the oven and let them cool on the pan, this should only take a couple minutes. Then eat them with the following dip. Unless you made the cinnamon-sugar ones, then you’re on your own 😛
Roasted Red-Pepper Feta Dip
Note: I made this after eating it at Sofra. It’s delicious. If you don’t have a food processor get it, if only to make this dip, though I suppose it could be made in a blender. If you were watching it. Also, a note about feta – get it fresh, it tastes worlds better and is very easy to get in the Boston area – ANY middle eastern market will have it, I know of 4 places in Watertown that do. Another feta note, I recommend using Bulgarian Sheep’s milk feta for this (it’s not as salty as the cow’s milk, maybe the brine is different? Anyone know?) but if you can’t find that – rinse your cow’s milk feta to lose some of the saltiness, the second time I made this dip I used mostly cow’s milk and didn’t rinse which left me with overly salty dip which needed to be modified, a lot.
1/3-1/2 pound Bulgarian feta – this is more creamy than cows milk/domestic feta if you can get it. It is the superior choice.
1-2 whole roasted red peppers, without skin and cored, in oil if you purchase them
1-2 Tbs Oil, from the peppers, or Olive oil
1-2 pieces of Roasted tomato, if you have them if not don’t worry but they lend great flavor
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 small clove fresh garlic, more if you want the garlic strong
Break the feta up into large-ish chunks (the size of a clove of garlic is good) and add them to the bowl of a food processor, incidentally I cannot recommend enough that you get a food processor – they are so wonderful from grated potatoes for latkes to this decadent dip they get the job down extraordinarily well. Chop the roasted red pepper into 4-6 pieces enough so that the processor doesn’t hate you. Add the pepper, roasted tomato, and garlic to the feta. Turn the food processor on for 10-15 seconds, then check the consistency of the dip – is it stilla little chunky – whip it some more, is it still a little thick – add a bit of oil. Add the oil in a slow drizzle while the food processor is on, much like making pesto, until the dip has reached the consistency you want – I like my dip a little stiff but soft enough to pick up with a pita chip, this is about 1 tbs – more if the feta is dry. After mixing in the olive oil taste the dip – does it need salt, most likely no but if your feta is tangy it may, is it salty? If you find your dip salty I was able to neutralize that fairly easily with some plain yogurt about 1/4 cup. The important thing for this dip is that you keep trying it until the flavor is what you like, since you will be eating it and having to throw this sort of thing away is sad. It will be orange, that’s ok it’s still delicious. Eat it while, of course, playing Bananagrams with friends.