What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words Greek food? I bet one of the first things that you recollect is feta cheese. Indeed feta cheese is one of the most recognizable and well known Greek foods around the world.
Since 2002, feta has been a protected designation of origin product in the European Union. That means that only cheese that has been made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk cheese can be called feta cheese. It is true that the misuse of the feta name is as big as its reputation. Many companies, including European ones, have tried to circulate products that are named as feta cheese, but have absolutely nothing in common with the real thing. I am not a food puritan, but I strongly believe that the consumer must be able to realize the difference between the original product and the substitute and then it is in her/his hand to choose which one she/he prefers to buy.
I have seen the procedure of making feta cheese, but I am giving you the paragraph from Wikipedia since I am not familiar with the English terms of this specific sector and I don’t want to confuse you. So, according to Wikipedia and its sources: “The milk from the sheep or sheep and goat may be pasteurized or not; most producers now use pasteurized milk. When the pasteurized milk has cooled to approximately 35°C / 95°F, rennet is added and the casein is left to coagulate. The compacted curds are then cut up, and placed in a special mold or a cloth bag to allow the whey to drain. After several hours, the curd is firm enough to cut up and salt; salinity will eventually reach approx. 3%, the salted curds are then placed (depending on the producer and the area of Greece) in metal vessels or wooden barrels, and allowed to infuse for several days. After the dry-salting of the cheese is complete, aging or maturation in brine (a 7% salt in water solution) takes several weeks at room temperature and then for at least 2 months in a refrigerated high-humidity environment, and as before, this takes place either in wooden barrels or metal vessels, depending on the producer; however, barrel aging is said to give the cheese a unique flavor and is more traditional.”
Feta cheese can be traced back to the Byzantine Empire with the name prósphatos which means recent in English. The name feta was taken later and comes from the Italian word “fetta” which means slice. It is not known whether this name refers to the fact that we cut the cheese in slices to eat it or the producers slice it to put it in barrels.
Having lived in US and having tried the “feta” that circulates there, I can give to my American friends a small piece of advice. If you can get your hands in any feta that originates from Greece and you see this written on the package, do not let the opportunity go wasted. Do try it and you will immediately understand the difference. Of course until then, the cheese that you can find in the grocery stores or super markets or deli is perfectly fine.
This quiche has a very fluffy texture and is packed with feta cheese flavor. Not only is it tasty, but also it is very easy to make, so this makes it a perfect alternative for a weekday dinner. Also, I always make it when I invite people over, because it is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t add to my already loaded schedule. I made it on Sunday as we had some friends coming over and there were no leftovers. I guess that tells something right?
Feta Cheese Quiche
200 gr. / 7 oz. feta cheese
1 puff pastry sheet
5 tomato slices
6 green pepper or any other pepper slices
5 to 6 zucchini slices
½ tsp dried oregano
250 gr. / 9 oz. light cream (or you can use heavy cream if you don’t have light, or half and half)
100 gr. / 4 oz. full fat milk
¼ tsp salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Take a tart form with diameter of about 28cm / 11 in. to 30cm / 12 in and butter it very well.
Place the puff pastry so as to cover the bottom of the form and its sides.
Cut with the knife the edges that exceed out of the sides.
Put a parchment paper so as to cover the bottom and the sides of the pastry and place beans or lentils so as to create a layer.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the beans/lentils.
Do not discard the beans or the lentils.
You can use them in another such occasion.
Crumble the feta cheese and cover the bottom of the puff pastry.
Throw the dried oregano.
In a blender add the cream, the milk, the eggs and the salt (optional) and mix.
Pour the batter over the feta.
Arrange the vegetable slices on top (you can add more vegetables if you like or even you can add more feta but if the feta is salty don’t overdo it).
Bake in the same oven for about 20 minutes or until the filling has started taking a light golden color.
- 200 gr. / 7 oz. feta cheese
- 1 puff pastry sheet
- 5 tomato slices
- 6 green pepper or any other pepper slices
- 5 to 6 zucchini slices
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 250 gr. / 9 oz. light cream (or you can use heavy cream if you don’t have light, or half and half)
- 100 gr. / 4 oz. full fat milk
- 2 eggs
- ¼ tsp salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Take a tart form with diameter of about 28cm / 11 in. to 30cm / 12 in and butter it very well.
- Place the puff pastry so as to cover the bottom of the form and its sides.
- Cut with the knife the edges that exceed out of the sides.
- Put a parchment paper so as to cover the bottom and the sides of the pastry and place beans or lentils so as to create a layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the beans/lentils.
- Do not discard the beans or the lentils.
- You can use them in another such occasion.
- Crumble the feta cheese and cover the bottom of the puff pastry.
- Throw the dried oregano.
- In a blender add the cream, the milk, the eggs and the salt (optional) and mix.
- Pour the batter over the feta.
- Arrange the vegetable slices on top.
- Bake in the same oven for about 20 minutes or until the filling has started taking a light golden color.
- 200 γρ. τυρί φέτα
- 1 φύλλο σφολιάτας
- 5 φέτες ντομάτας
- 6 φέτες πράσινης πιπεριάς ή οποιαδήποτε άλλης πιπεριάς
- 5 με 6 φέτες κολοκυθιού
- ½ κουταλάκι ρίγανη
- 250 γρ. ελαφριά κρέμα (ή μπορείτε να χρησιμοποιήσετε κρέμα γάλακτος, αν δεν έχετε ελαφριά κρέμα)
- 100 γρ. πλήρες γάλα
- 2 αυγά
- ¼ κ.γ. αλάτι (προαιρετικό)
- Προθερμάνετε το φούρνο στους 200° C.
- Πάρτε μια φόρμα τάρτας με διάμετρο από περίπου 28cm έως 30cm και βουτυρώστε τη πολύ καλά.
- Τοποθετήστε το φύλλο σφολιάτας, έτσι ώστε να καλύψει τον πάτο της φόρμας και τις πλευρές.
- Κόψτε με το μαχαίρι τα περισσεύματα.
- Βάλτε χαρτί ψησίματος έτσι ώστε να καλύψει τον πάτο και τις πλευρές της ζύμης και τοποθετήστε φασόλια ή φακές ώστε να δημιουργηθεί ένα στρώμα.
- Ψήστε για 15 λεπτά.
- Βγάλτε από το φούρνο, αφαιρέστε το χαρτί ψησίματος και τα φασόλια/φακές.
- Μην πετάξετε τα φασόλια ή τις φακές.
- Μπορείτε να τα χρησιμοποιήσετε σε μια άλλη τέτοια περίπτωση.
- Τρίψτε τη φέτα και καλύψτε με το τρίμμα τον πάτο της σφολιάτας.
- Ρίξτε την ρίγανη.
- Σε ένα μπλέντερ ρίξτε την κρέμα, το γάλα, τα αυγά και το αλάτι (προαιρετικό) και ανακατέψτε.
- Περιχύστε με το μίγμα τη φέτα.
- Βάλτε τις φέτες των λαχανικών από πάνω.
- Ψήστε στον ίδιο φούρνο για περίπου 20 λεπτά ή μέχρι η γέμιση να αρχίσει να παίρνει ένα ελαφρύ χρυσό χρώμα.
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