This year, in March, was our 20th wedding anniversary. Five years earlier, my husband had planned to take us to Europe for our 15th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, because of some major changes to his job, that trip never happened.
Fast forward five years and we were determined to make it happen. In a way, it was better timing, because our children were now 16 and 14 and leaving them behind didn’t seem as difficult as it would have been five years earlier. We found some decent flights from Cancun to Milan and started planning away.
We toured three countries: Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. I had been to Italy and Greece before, but my husband had not. Now that we have lived in a beach town for so long, we don’t really crave beach or sun vacations, we want history, architecture, mountains, rolling hills, and of course, food that is very different from what we eat here.
I knew food would be a HUGE part of this trip, and it did not disappoint. My husband, even though his favorite food is not Italian (????), claims his favorite meal of the trip was in Venice, where he ordered a ‘seafood soup’ but came out as the most glorious array of seafood with a bit of sauce to soak up the seafood goodness. Needless to say, this first meal in Italy was one to remember. ( I know this has nothing to do with this recipe, but I just had to share it with you).
We ate our way happily through Italy, carbs and cappuccinos daily. When we got to Greece, we welcomed the change from carbs every hour and were eating feta, lamb, gyros, and one of my personal favorite meals of the trip, the Santorini salad, which included food only grown locally, (caper leaves, kefalotyri cheese) and therefore, un-copy-able (yes I know it’s not a word) for a person like me who would have absolutely no access to such ingredients. What’s even worse, I was so dazzled by it, I forgot to take a picture. Ugh.
When we returned from our trip, we went into post-awesome vacation depression. Has anyone else experienced this? I tried to re-create some of the food we ate, and some of it was good, some of it didn’t even compare. I did though, in sadness one night, combine these flavors from two different countries to come into one yummy bite.
I’ve been making Ina Garten’s Whipped Feta for a few years, but I never topped it with Bruschetta before. The flavors blended so well together, it brought me back to sunsets in Santorini and castles in Tuscany. It’s a nice twist on a classic appetizer.
Grilling the bread gives it a nice crust, so that the oil from the Bruschetta doesn’t drop in the bread and make it mushy.
- 8 oz feta, crumbled, room temperature
- 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
Put feta into a food processor. Puree for about 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add cream cheese and process another minute until smooth.
- 1 good quality baguette
- 6 tomatoes, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup basil leaves, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil in bowl. Season with salt. (You can make this earlier in the day and let the flavors marinate together at room temperature).
DIRECTIONS FOR BRUSCHETTA FETA
Slice baguette in half. Grill both sides for a few minutes, so the bread is crispy and golden. Smear feta/cream cheese mixture over bread. Spoon Bruschetta over slightly cooled bread, top with more basil if desired. Serve immediately.
Whipped Feta adapted from: The Food Network