You can whip them up in minutes.
I first had this clever and simple version of feta package in Eumelia, the Organic Agrotourism Farm in southern Peloponnese. Marilena, the owner, cook, and instructor, served us a large, home-rolled phyllo and feta package, which, as she explained, she prepares in advance, freezes it, and then briefly fries in a hot oil skillet whenever she needs to present a quick snack or meze. Her twist on the common phyllo triangles served at most taverns, is that the thin slices of feta inside the frozen phyllo are adequately heated through as the package is briefly fried, becoming particularly delicious. The soft cheese does not disintegrate inside the crunchy phyllo, as in most versions of the appetizer.
Chef Uri Eshet at Kea Retreat serves the packages with sliced figs; you can pair them with other fresh, seasonal fruit and/or with fruit preserves. Drizzle with honey or any syrup, and sprinkled with sesame seeds or nigella, if you like.
I bet that this easy, convenient, and delicious morsel, whipped up with commercial phyllo, will become your next favorite appetizer. The pieces are quite filling, so one per person is enough.
To make 9 feta-phyllo packages (more…)
You never quite outgrow this Balkan comfort food. My late cousin Leonidas Harvalias, who lived on Kéa long before we decided to move here, got the original recipe from one of the first Albanian immigrants who worked on the island.
I have changed it very slightly, and it has become part of our family’s permanent repertoire, one of our favorite casseroles. The name briani or briami, probably comes from the Persian biryan, which is also the ancestor of the more well-known Indian biryani. In the traditional Greek briami there is no rice, just a medley of summer vegetables baked in the oven.
In June, when we find plenty of lovely local apricots, we buy quite a lot and after eating the more ripe ones, we usually halve, pit and roast the rest, then freeze them to have at hand and make tarts, or top a flat bread, complementing them with spicy smoked cheese.
Make the mousse a day ahead, or even a couple of days before. When you are about to serve the dessert, assemble the pre-baked puff pastry and serve the mousse on the side.
Serves 6-8 (more…)