Are you a cookbook person? I think there is something so amazing about cookbooks on a shelf, even with the ability to find versions of every recipe you can think of on the internet these days. I especially love cookbooks that have a little story or meaning attached to each recipe. I find that it really draws me in, makes me want to create whatever it is the author is describing.
Now that food blogs (and blogs in general) have become such a big part of my life, it is so exciting to see bloggers write their own cookbooks and stories. I'm sure most of those who do so never thought it would be a possibility when they wrote their first blog post or recipe. I love it when a blog I have followed for quite some time announces that he or she is writing a cookbook, I think, "that has to be so rewarding for them, such a dream come true." It's almost like sharing good news with a close friend.
My experience with the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook was a little bit different. I found Sara's blog through a link to her cookbook trailer and thought, "how have I never looked at this beautiful blog before?" The recipes are so fresh and the photographs (taken by her husband, Hugh) are mesmerizing. After watching the trailer and reading a few blog posts, I headed over to Amazon to get myself a copy of this book.
When the book arrived, I read it front to back (like I do with every new cookbook), marking pages that contained recipes I couldn't wait to try. There is a small section in the beginning with groups of recipes... "a weekday lunch," "dining al fresco," etc. I loved the idea of combining a few different recipes to create a "tasting" of sorts. It seemed a good way to not have to choose just one to start with. (Because, for the record, I found myself wanting to make everything in this book.)
My mom and her friends were in town this past weekend, as they have been every Labor Day for the past few years. I was hosting them in my little home before we all went to dinner, and wanted to serve drinks and snacks to hold us over until it was time to leave. I ended up choosing white sangria, toasty nuts, and Mediterranean baked feta (recipe below). All three of these recipes were simple to make, and perfect for sharing. It was a successful little happy hour. I can't wait to keep cooking my way through the cookbook, thanks for putting together such a great collection Sara!
Mediterranean Baked Feta
- 1 (8- to 10-ounce) block of feta
- 1 cup assorted baby tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions (I did not include these, but I think they would add good flavor)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- crackers, pita chips, or crostini, for dipping.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the block of feta in a small ovenproof baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, olives, onion (if using), garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil, and a few grinds of pepper.
Pile the tomato mixture on top of the feta. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. It will not melt, just get warm and soften.
Remove from the oven and serve the dip hot with crackers, pita chips, or crostini.