Herb-Marinated Feta and Olives

I came across this old recipe in my recipe box and it brought back many memories. My husband made this when we were first married. It was our first Thanksgiving together and my parents were coming to visit us in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. It was -17 below, we lived in a tiny apartment and just learned we were expecting our first son in June.

This was also a time where I was still fighting all things domestic, which in my mind, included cooking. I had not learned that I didn't need to follow the recipes -- that they were merely "suggestions," and that I could let my artistic side flow through my recipes.
On this particular day, my husband took it upon himself to plan the menu for the entire weekend. He did an outstanding job. As any good Wisconsinite knows...evenings are complete with appetizers, preferably of the cheese variety, drinks and a meal. My husband, hearkening his Greek roots, decided on the following appetizer for the night before Thanksgiving.

As the recipe states, you should prepare the herb-marinated feta and olives in advance. This truly makes it the perfect appetizer for those hectic family gatherings, holidays or impromptu cocktail parties.
Hope you enjoy!

Shopping List:
  • 1 T whole cumin seeds

  • 2 t whole coriander seeds

  • 1 t dried crushed red pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 t grated/zested orange peel

  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil *(Drain a bit of excess before serving).

  • 10 ounces assorted brine-cured green and black olives.

  • 3 T minced fresh basil

  • 2 T minced fresh cilantro

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch squares

  • 1 French-bread baguette, sliced on the diagonal.

Combine cumin, coriander and crushed red pepper in a heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Shake skillet gently until spices are fragrant -- about a minute. Transfer to a bowl. Add in garlic, orange peel, and oil and stir to combine. Mix in olives, basil, and cilantro. Gentry stir in Feta. Cover and refrigerate at least one day (this can be made a week in advance--just keep refrigerated). Bring olive an cheese mixture to room temp. before serving.
Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and place on platter. Surround with baguette slices. Makes 6 appetizer servings.
Hope you make some of your own special family memories with herb-marinated feta and olives!

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