Thursday, April 10, 2014

a new low

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You don’t want to know about this. I assure you, you really do not. I picture this blog post as a written version of the scene in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (anything with John C. Reilly is amazing. Anything) when he happens upon his friends doing drugs in the bathroom. As they list every single appealing thing about the drugs in question, they frame the statement with ‘you don’t want this.’ Only in this particular scene you are sweet, young, naïve Dewey and I am a bad, bad influence. Just as the endless winter breaks, when you can almost feel the sunshine on your pale, soft, winter body, as you commit yourself to a healthy eating and fitness plan to prepare for summer’s entry, here I come along, like the devil himself, with a snack so delicious it’s completely shameful indeed. I’m telling you: you don’t want this, man.

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A close friend’s sister emailed me the other day. The subject line was “Marinated Sheeps Feta” the email text was brief: “you introduced me to this a long time ago at the fruit center, I'm just wondering, is it normal to scoop it up and eat it with cape cod potato chips? I think I have hit a new low...” The fact that a friend I haven’t seen in quite some time feels comfortable enough with me to email me of her secret snacking habits reminds me, I’ve been in this game for years. Pimping snacks so shameful you feel the need to confess. I’m like the Avon Barksdale of appetizers and I truly can’t be trusted.

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But the cycle works both ways you see. Not only did she shed light on her addiction, but she also placed this sweet, sweet nectar right smack dab on my radar as well. Just as I can almost feel the sunshine on my translucent, dimpled upper arms, here I find myself again, with a jar full of bad news marinating in my fridge. If we’re going down the wrong path, at least we have each other.

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4-5 oz. piece feta cheese*
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 sprig rosemary, snipped into 2 or 3 pieces
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns (or 1 tsp. black)**
¾ - 1 cup good quality olive oil

*if you can find it at the right price, sheep’s milk feta is the creamiest and takes best to marinating; however, I made this batch just using the basic block feta my store sells by the pound. A good rule of thumb is, the better the feta, the better this will be. But I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy it any old way.**I use pink peppercorns because I think they are a) pretty and b) tasty and mild. But you can use plain black peppercorns here; they are just a bit spicier, so I would use less.

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This here snack was something we originally carried from an Australian cheese maker at my store. And it was so good I pretty much had to never buy it ever. Which was fine and not that hard to do because it was like, 8 bucks a container and so popular it was often out of stock. Then, the evil geniuses in our gourmet department decided to start making their own. And now not only is it always in supply, but it is often available to me in a giant, fragrant, delicious tub, there for the taking, impossible to resist. I decided to try my hand at making a batch at home because apparently I’m a total masochist. Pray for me.

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Use a wide, shallow, large mouthed jar or somewhat equal sized Tupperware container for this. Slice feta into a few slabs and place in jar, along with garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and ½ of peppercorns. Pour olive oil over and add an additional clove of garlic, another sprig of herbs and remainder of peppercorns. Clamp the lid on and swirl a bit in order to coat everything with oil. Let marinate in fridge for at least 1 or 2 days (I know!). 100% olive oil will always solidify a bit and get cloudy when chilled, so for the best presentation remove jar from fridge before serving and let the temperature rise enough for oil to clarify a bit. If you’re eating this alone, in secret, well, scoop it straight out of the jar standing in front of the fridge with the door ajar. Maybe with some Cape Cod Potato Chips. You won’t find any judgment here.

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