Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Favorite Ingredient: Feta Cheese

I first tasted feta cheese at Greek House, here in Norman, Oklahoma well over 25 years ago. It was also the first time I had gyros, which by the way, are authentic Greek and the absolute best. Not heart healthy by any means. The gyros meat cooks on vertical spits and the resulting grease is used for the fries.  Oh. My. Gosh. Soooo good. But back to the feta. The gyros plate—a pile of meat, fries, and Greek salad—is garnished with a Greek olive and a cube of feta. It was love at first bite.

For years, eating at Greek House was the only time I ate feta. Here in the big middle of the U S of A,  good ole American processed was the go-to cheese for most families, although sometimes it wasn't really cheese. I'd long outgrown those orange slices when I came across these scrumptious white cubes of feta. At some point I came across it in the grocery store and put it in my cart. It's been a staple in my kitchen ever since and I'm always finding, and looking for, new ways to eat it. 

I usually buy Athenos Feta Traditional by the block because it lasts longer than the crumbled feta.  I also like the Athenos packaging because it's reclosable. When I want some, I'll slice an appropriately sized slice and break it into chunks to top almost any salad or soup. 

Here it is on my Spinach Steak Salad with lots of fresh cracked pepper. I think I made a red wine vinegar vinaigrette to go with this. It's a great garnish for soups as well, especially tomato and mushroom soups.

I switched from cheddar to feta as my go-to cheese garnish five or six years ago because I like the different spark of flavor it provides.  Today I found out on the Athenos facebook page that it does more than that. Here's what they had to say about switching to feta.
Changing your salad topping from cheddar to Feta gives you
1) 6 grams of protein
2) 1/3 less fat and
3) 30% fewer calories!
They didn't provide a quantity, for the cheeses, but 1/3 less fat and 30% fewer calories for equal portions sounds good to me.

1 comment:

  1. Whoo hoo! I obviously love feta too :) That salad looks absolutely fabulous... Greek is my fave!