Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shavuot Feta-Herb Dip


Dairy and I are very good friends. I have a not-so-secret desire to keep a cow, and while I don’t know if dairy farming is in my future – I like to keep my options open – cooking with dairy always makes me happy.


Dairy dishes are traditionally eaten during Shavuot, the Jewish holiday commemorating the day Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai. One explanation of this custom (my favorite) is that Shavuot falls in spring when sheep, goats and cows produce an abundance of milk as they give birth and graze on new grass.


Dairy it is! While we like (love) blintzes and cheesecake, I decided to make a savory dairy treat for this Shavuot. I especially love cheese and yogurt. Creamy feta cheese and lusciously thick yogurt seemed a natural pairing, so with a dip in mind I stirred them together.


Over this past sunny weekend (now gone and turned to a thunderstorm!), I also spent time planting my fragrant new bounty of herbs from my sons’ marvelous school orchestra fundraiser. I could not resist chopping a large handful of dill, mint, parsley and chives to include in this dip. Fresh herbs sing of spring and you can use any combination you may have on hand. Quick to stir together, with lemony zip and tangy richness, this dip is bursting with green freshness. It’s wonderful to scoop up with crunchy veggies to celebrate Shavuot this week or any time!

Shavuot Feta-Herb Dip
Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup thick, plain, whole milk yogurt
Zest and juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 packed cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used mint, parsley, dill and chives)
A few grinds of black pepper
Flaky sea salt (optional, depending upon how salty your feta cheese is)
Cut up veggies to dip

In a medium sized bowl, mash the feta cheese lightly and stir in the yogurt, lemon zest and juice.  Gently mix in the herbs and black pepper. Taste for seasoning – since my feta was salty I didn’t add any salt, but if your feta is not very salty add a little flaky sea salt.

Mound the dip on a serving platter with some cup up veggies and serve. You can prepare it ahead and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

31 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Andrea! Love all these new fresh herbs!

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  2. We have the same friend Hannah...and this dip sounds so fresh and perfect for the type of fare I love to serve in the warmer months.

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    1. Happy to know we share a mutual friend, Barb! Quick dips are definitely ideal for summer snacking and entertaining. I'm looking forward to the warmer days!

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  3. Given our combined backgrounds of being Jewish and Asian in our household, we are all lactose intolerant. BUT, we all love dairy and can eat hard cheeses, yogurt, and sheep and goat based dairy products. So this recipe is perfect. I am going to send this over to our temple's food group that is putting on a dairy tasting at the shavuot service. And I will post it on their FB as well. Another lovely post Hannah.

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    1. A dairy tasting?! What a great idea!

      Hannah, this dip is great because it's not as fried as some other dairy products tend to be on this holiday and it encourages the use of fresh spring greens! Thanks for the recipe!

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    2. Beth, I agree with Amanda - a dairy tasting sounds marvelous! We host a cheesecake bake-off each Shavuot, which is always fun. I like the idea of lots of dairy options, though! Thank you for sharing with your temple. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Shavuot! I taught a Shavuot class yesterday in the synagogue kitchen with recipes from Jerusalem - Na'ama's Fattoush and Basmati & Wild Rice with Currants. So good! Have a wonderful weekend!

      Amanda, I'm always happy to share spring green goodness! I hope you indulged in lots of dairy treats for Shavuot. Wishing you a delicious weekend!

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  4. I too would love to keep a dairy cow. We saw some beauties at the fair last year. Big soft brown eyes with those long Jersy cow eyelashes. Made my heart all mushy. :) Too bad we couldn't have a community dairy farm where we can all take turns being dairy farmers. Love this dip Hannah. Perfect for any occasion, especially weekends when we require some healthy snacks. A great way to serve all the summer veggies too! xo, Karista

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    1. Thank you, Karista! Ohhh, love those soft brown eyes...I agree, a community dairy would be marvelous. Who knows what the future holds? Look forward to seeing you again. Have a lovely weekend! xo

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  5. I love this! It reminds me so much of one I make but without as much yogurt.Thanks for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure, Pat! I hope you have a terrific weekend!

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  6. Oh I would love this, Hannah! Dairy and I are BFF's. I've yet to met a form of dairy I don't like. With all the fresh herbs going crazy in my garden , this is perfect!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the dip, Susan! Your garden herbs would be perfect and delicious in it. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  7. Man, I could absolutely go for a big plate of tangy dip and crispy vegetables for dinner! OM NOM. And since I'm the only one in the house who will eat feta, I'd even get it all to myself...

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    1. Mmm, I'm such a feta lover I would be happy to be the only one in my house who likes it! Wishing you a lovely weekend, Eileen!

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  8. Love dairy, and this dip sounds so delicious. Love the feta and yogurt and fresh herbs and with the fresh crisp vegetables it's irresistible.

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead!

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  9. I too love dairy but unfortunatley it seems to hate me. This dip looks great!

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    1. Thank you, Alyssa! I'm sorry you and dairy are not the best of friends...lots of other deliciousness to indulge in, though. Have fun on TV tomorrow!!

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  10. When we were younger my wife and I wanted to live in the country, have a cow (and goats and sheep and chickens!) and basically homestead. We still think about it sometimes because we could easily do it now. But alas, the years have crept up on us, too, so I don't think that's in the cards. Better to find great sources for food, and support those. Anyway, really great dip - thanks so much.

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    1. Thank you, John! Having backyard chickens lets me live a bit of a farm life now which makes me happy. We'll see about anything further! And I agree that supporting local farmers and sources of good food is important and a great way to be connected. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  11. LOVE dairy but can't say the same about feta. This platter of colorful veggies looks delish nonetheless :)

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    1. Thank you, Kiran! I understand feta isn't for everyone! You could leave the cheese out and easily make a yogurt and herb dip, which would be quite tasty, too. Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

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  12. I always look for recipes using herbs as I usually have a lot of leftover herbs after using for some recipes. Dip with feta and yogurt and various herbs. Very light and refreshing appetizer option!

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    1. thanks, Nami! I often find I have bits of different herbs lingering, too, so this dip is a great way to enjoy them. I hope you're enjoying a wonderful long weekend!

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  13. This looks so amazing! A new dip recipe with fresh herbs is just what I need :)

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    1. Hi Haley! I hope you enjoy the dip - I'm a big fan of fresh herbs and am happy knowing more will be popping up now with spring's arrival. I'm delighted you stopped by!

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  14. This looks wonderful! My husband I like to eat very light lunches ... this would be wonderful with slices of bread and the veggies ... give me a glass of iced tea with and I'd be a happy woman!

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    1. Thank you, Susan! What a lovely suggestion to serve as lunch with some bread alongside, especially during the warmer days ahead. I'm happy you stopped by!

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  15. Feta heaven! I am a fan of all things dairy but feta has a special place :) Mixed with all those fresh herbs sounds just wonderful & with all those lovely fresh veg it is perfectly balanced! Love it & will be making some very soon! Thanks Hannah.

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    1. My pleasure, Mairi! Feta is indeed heavenly and elevates any dish it is in. As it warms up here I'm craving more fresh crunchy flavors, too, so we'll be eating lots of dips.

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