Going Greek

I love feta.

In fact, today I ate it on a turkey sandwich for lunch & also on a flatbread pizza for dinner.

I also love Kalamata olives. I add them to salads, tuna from the can with a little olive oil and oregano, and sometimes I fish the olives out of the jar and eat them over the sink, trying not to get the brine everywhere. But I usually do get the brine everywhere.

So when a friend invited me to the Greek Mezes class at Whole Foods Salud! Cooking School, of course I had to go. There would be feta to consume. And hopefully olives. And maybe I could not make a total mess.

The class was held at the South Charlotte Whole Foods, which is really the only WF in the Charlotte area. I was stressin' pretty hard, as 1) the class was at 6pm and I'm almost never able to leave work by then and 2) the South Charlotte area is a cluster during rush hour. But when I made it there early and was the first "student" to arrive, I toasted myself with the generous glass of wine the organizers offered.

My friend arrived and then about 10 other folks filtered in, grabbing wine and noshing on some snacks provided -- Whole Foods hummus, babaganoush, a spinach-artichoke spread, and white cheddar Pimento Cheese (not exactly Greek, but ok. Hmmm...could you make a Pimento Cheese with feta? I am so on that!) 

Chef Jason and three class volunteers got us situated around the lovely kitchen work space, which was adorned with All-Clad cookware and Le Creuset dishes. I spent the better part of the evening staring at a certain red Le Creuset oven dish, wondering if anyone has ever just "walked off" with one. They're so pretty. Seriously

The "hands on" class allowed for some to just sit back, sip wine, and watch, while the gutsy ones could chop onions, mix meatballs, brush filo dough with butter, and pepper Chef with questions. Chef Jason was very knowledgeable -- in between instructing us on the dishes for stuffed mushrooms, eggplant spread, Spanakopita, meatballs, and honey doughnuts garnished with walnuts, he gave tips on the best oils to use, when to add fresh or dried herbs to a dish, and how to make your own pita bread. The coolest trick: grilling a lemon to add the juice to the eggplant spread. 

Chef Jason also teaches a knife skills class there, which intrigues me, and they have themed "dinner & a movie" nights.  The volunteers get credits for assisting & can then "cash in" for free classes -- not a bad gig!

Below: the stuffed mushrooms.

The gentlemen in the class took to the doughnut mixture & fried them up, as below. 

The three-hour class went by quickly but after cooking and smelling all the food, we were ready to enjoy the end results. And they were delicious!

I loved the class atmosphere & the set-up -- very flexible, relaxed and open to all levels of ability. It helped me build some confidence on baking -- the thin & fragile phyllo dough seems less daunting now, and I might actually whip up some dough sometime to make the pita (though it reminded me more of Naan or Indian fry bread in texture -- not that it's a bad thing!) 

It's nice to add a few new tricks to your kitchen arsenal. Especially when they involve feta. And olives.


  1. Looks delicious!

  2. Nice Blog
    Wonderful post, really great tips and advice. I was interested by your comment,

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