Tag Archives: feta cheese

Greek chicken tostada

Greek chicken tostada

The idea for this salad came from a (very Mexican) tostada I had for lunch recently at the Huntington Library and Gardens near Pasadena. Most tostadas top the tortillas with the standard refried beans made with pinto beans. This tostada used black beans instead, making it distinctive and very good.

This got me thinking about whether some other types of beans might also be used to make a tostada. How about garbonzo beans/chickpeas? And you can buy this with the beans already mashed up and seasoned, ready to use: hummus.

Once I decided to make a tostada with hummus, an Eastern Mediterranean theme was obvious. I chose Greek, with feta cheese and Kalamata olives, but I wanted something else. Since I was already using one dip from that part of the world, I thought about tzatziki, the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce/dip, which I really like. But it didn’t seem to be quite right putting dollops of tzatziki on the tostada. Instead, I put cucumber pieces on the salad and made a dressing based on the ingredients in tzatziki.

I started the dressing with my standard vinaigrette ingredients of 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, to which I added 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. This produces a slightly thickened dressing that you might call a tzatziki vinaigrette and would be one option. I decided I wanted a thicker, creamier dressing more like tzatziki and added a third tablespoon of yogurt and then a fourth. My suggestion is to proceed in this way, stopping when you get a consistency that you like.

I think the key to this salad is moderation and balance. You don’t want too much of any one ingredient such that it dominates.

Greek chicken tostada

4- or 5-ounce piece of chicken breast
2 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
hummus
spinach, chopped
1 cup (or so) cucumber, in small pieces
Kalamata olives, cut in half
feta cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

Bake the chicken breast in advance. When cool, pull it apart to make shredded chicken.

So the dressing can be well chilled, an hour or so before serving, mix the olive oil, lemon juice garlic, dill, and the yogurt. Start with 2 tablespoons yogurt and whisk everthing together to see the consistency. If desired, add more yogurt to get your preferred consistency. Refrigerate the dressing, as it should be well-chilled before serving.

Going in the other direction on temperature, I think the hummus and chicken, which will top the cooked tortillas, should be closer to room temperature, so take them out of the refrigerator an hour or so before making the salad.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of hummus. Add the shredded chicken, then the chopped spinach, and on top of that the cucumber pieces.

Whisk the previously made dressing and spoon on top the salad. Top with a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese and the Kalamata olives.

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Corn succotash frittata

Corn succotash frittata

First, about the name. I had always understood that succotash was a mixture of corn and lima beans (and dictionaries do too). So when I encountered “corn succotash” describing an accompaniment to an entree on a restaurant menu, my first thought was that this seemed redundant. Succotash includes corn, so why do you need to call a dish corn succotash? When it arrived, another surprise: The corn succotash did not include any lima beans or other shell beans that are sometimes substituted. It did include the corn, of course, along with bacon, spinach, and feta cheese, among other things. It was delicious and served as the inspiration for this frittata. But what about having succotash without the lima beans? I googled for corn succotash recipes and found a variety of dishes, many without beans of any kind, that were described as corn succotash. It seems that this term is used for mixtures of corn with ingredients other than lima beans, with the adjective “corn” added to the succotash to distinguish it from “corn and lima bean” succotash. I still think this is a strange name. But since it is common, I’ll use it here.

As I mentioned, the corn succotash was very tasty. I attempted to recreate it, making it an entree by adding chicken. It came out well, and I’ve made it several times. It occurred to me that the same ingredients, less the chicken, could be included to make a corn succotash frittata. And it was delicious!

Corn succotash frittata

2 strips of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1–1/2 tablespoons chopped onion
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons feta cheese plus more for the top

3 eggs
oil, if needed

Cook the bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Cook the onion and red pepper over medium heat in bacon fat until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the corn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the corn and combine the flavors. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the corn mixture, the bacon, and the feta cheese into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, sprinkle on additional feta cheese and place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Greek frittata

Greek frittata

The feta cheese and Kalamata olives make this a Greek frittata.

This is a recipe where you can vary the flavor profile by varying the amounts of the ingredients. Add more feta cheese to make that more dominant. Or reduce the number of Kalamata olives to lower their presence in the frittata. (I would recommend these directions for making modifications.)

Greek frittata

1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
1/4 cup feta cheese plus more for the top
8 Kalamata olives, cut into quarters lengthwise

3 eggs
olive oil

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the spinach, cheese, and olives into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, sprinkle on additional feta cheese and place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.