A few months ago I recreated one of my favourite Sudbury restaurant dishes at home. My version of the Laughing Buddha’s chick pea salad garnered a number of comments from both local readers and those from elsewhere on the web. It also inspired a request:
As expressed in my replied comment, I had never tried the feisty feta dip before, but am always looking for an excuse to try more food/visit the Laughing Buddha. Since September when I began my “initial testing” I have tried the feisty feta dip probably four times, and have purchased feta cheese almost the same amount, intending to one day recreate the promised dish. Every time I ate it at the Buddha, I would survey the people at my table – what do YOU think is in it?! What do you like?! I need to know because I am making my own version! Well, I finally got around to it.
I really shouldn’t say that as if it were a real undertaking. This is one of the simplest appetizers I have ever created, and one of the most tasty, too. The ingredients were primarily ones I already had in my kitchen, and are common items you can get pretty much anywhere.
My one complaint about the Buddha’s original feisty feta dip was that it’s a little too, well, feisty. It was SPICY, holy smokes, and was perhaps deliberately made so in order to persuade you out of necessity to buy another beer (it worked) or have you request a pita re-stock. RE: beer. Despite not being at the Buddha, Jen, Ian and I stuck with the spirit of the place and tried out some new Ontario craft brews. The Smoked Oatmeal Stout tasted downright awful to me (but like Scotch to Jen and Ian, apparently), but I did enjoy my Crosswind Pale Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, wherever that is. (Unrelated, but I’m disappointed the local LCBO didn’t sell my new favourite beer, Muskoka Brewery’s Twice As Mad Tom IPA)
Back to the feisty feta dip. I knew when I made my at-home version that I wanted to keep the consistency the same, but to take the heat down a notch. You know, so that I’m not sweating at the dinner table. I bulked up my dip with some plain yogurt – something that’s brilliantly effective at countering foods that scream hot, hot, heat.
It turned out great! Please note, when you stick your fingers in the dip to sample it straight from the food processor, that taste will not be a good representation of the amount of bite the final product will eventually force you to bear. The heat builds as the dip sits, something Jen and I attribute to the “slow releasing jalapeno juices.” Also, re: pita. We used a bread maker pizza dough recipe, rolled it out, baked it, and sliced it up into little triangles. Obviously, you can also simply buy the pita.
Thanks to Ian for making the unbelievable pizza: pesto, cheddar cheese, portobello mushroom, tomato, yellow pepper…the best.
Recipe: Feisty feta dip
Inspired by the Laughing Buddha
– 2 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
– 3 pieces of roasted Piquillo Peppers (red peppers…buy it jarred at the grocery store)
– 2 tbsp tomato paste
– 1/2 cup plain yogurt
– 1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
– Squirt of sriracha sauce
– 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper, without the seeds
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or Magic Bullet until mostly smooth, but with some remaining chunks.
Makes one medium bowl full (what you see in the photos)