Posts tagged #tomato

Lekker: Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Ciao tutti!

Long time, no chat! It's been a busy two months since I last posted, because of Christmas, New year's, and then--moving to Rome, Italy, for five months as part of a study abroad program at my university.


I started a separate blog to detail these study-abroad adventures called A Broad Travelling, so feel free to go check that out to see what I've been up to. Given that I'm in arguably the world's most amazing country for food, suffice to say I've been eating my equivalent body weight in pasta, pizza, Nutella, gelato, and wine.

Cooking, however, has been a MONUMENTAL challenge. I'm living on campus in a dorm, with no cafeteria and only two regular-sized kitchens (one standard fridge, one small oven, and three oven burners per kitchen) intended to serve the cooking needs of over 140 students. It's frustrating and I miss cooking terribly, but we're doing our best to make it work.

Last week, blessedly, I had the chance to take an actual cooking class here in Rome at the elbow of a true Italian chef, focused on locally sourced and seasonal, sustainable food. (I blathered about it here, with tons more photos.)  I KNOW, THIS IS MY LIFE NOW GUYS. Fortunately for YOU, I have permission to share all those delicious recipes with you here! Thanks, Chef Andrea!

First up is my recipe for some simple, delicious Tomato Basil Bruschetta that I dreamed up years ago--and was thrilled to find out is also Chef Andrea's recipe. It's super simple and can be done largely in advance so you really have no excuse. Buon appetito!

Here, pictured next to a second kind of bruschetta that will also be coming up on the blog in the next few days!

Tomato Basil Bruschetta (a/k/a Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Basilico)
serves 4

What You Need
8 slices think white Italian bread, or any other kind that can answer the call to be bruschetta
4 large Roma tomatoes (though we used round tomatoes on the vine, here called 'Pomodori Colonna')
10-12 leaves fresh basil, roughly torn
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed into a few big rough pieces
2 additional large cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthways
4 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (since this is a raw dish that involves marinating, it's REALLY important to use a high quality olive oil)
salt and pepper, to taste

What You Do
1. Roughly chop the tomatoes into a small dice (don't worry about removing skin or seeds) and combine in a small bowl with the torn basil leaves, crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and leave to marinate out on the counter for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

2. Grill the slices of bread on your stovetop (or in your oven, or in your toaster) until lightly golden brown and possibly charred in a few spots. You want it to get nice and crispy and dry.

3. Rub one side of each slice of bread with half a clove of raw garlic, just lightly. Then drizzle each slice of bread with a tiny bit of olive oil.

4. When you're ready to serve, simply compile your tomato-basil topping on top of each slice of toast, and serve. You can fish out the chunks of garlic if you have extra-sensitive guests, but I personally LOVE the spicy kick of garlic so I leave it in. I don't care to kiss anyone that can't get down with garlic, anyway.

Lekker: Arugula Salad with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette

Break out of your boring Romaine-and-spring-greens lettuce rut and try my current favourite green: arugula. Well, "rocket" or "rucola", as I know it, but evidently few Americans know which end is up when you're talking about a delicious rocket salad. Hmph.

I first discovered this green when I was in Germany back in 2008. There it's treated much like spinach, so you can find it everywhere from raw salads to ravioli filling. It has a unique peppery flavour that gives it more of a kick than other more traditional greens, and a neat leaf shape. Arugula can't handle heavy, creamy dressings and should only ever be very LIGHTLY dressed--no need to drown it like your sorrows, mmkay? It's popular enough you can find it everywhere now, so give this pretty salad a try the next time you're feeling healthy, or need to detox from St. Paddy's Day weekend (hint hint). While it appears simple on the surface (and really, it is) this awesome orange muscat champagne vinegar I found at Trader Joe's makes a special vinaigrette that'll elevate your pile of greens to something extraordinary.


Fresh! Bright! Healthy goodness!

Arugula Salad with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette
serves 1

What You Need
A large handful of fresh baby arugula
A small handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I used mixed mini heirloom tomatoes for colour variety)
A sprinkling of fresh goat cheese (chevre) o'er top (Goat cheese is the perfect accompaniment to this salad by giving a nice dose of creamy richness without overpowering the greens.) 
A very small handful of fresh walnuts, chopped

For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (I know, I'm being a brat by calling for something so specific. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, try finding a similar citrus-and-champagne vinegar at a Wegman's, Publix, or Whole Foods. It's a fun change up from your usual balsamic blahness.)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt & Pepper, just to taste

What You Do

1. Salads are easy. It's not actually MAKING anything, it's just assembling a bunch of stuff. Toss everything in your bowl, and in another small bowl whisk up the vinaigrette with a fork. Dress lightly, and chow down. Feel good about yourself. Also feel a little bit like a bunny rabbit while you're eating it. It's okay. Bunnies are cute and so are you.

Lekker: Shrimp & Avocado Salad

I try to be pretty picky about the kinds of recipes I put up on the blog--I cook a LOT, and they aren't all winners. That's why everything I put up here is something I would make again and share with others, but this...this I could eat every day for a month and never complain.

As with most things in life, sometimes the best things are the SIMPLEST things! This Shrimp & Avocado salad is totally brainless, but so refreshing, so light, so delicious, and so applicable. I've eaten shamelessly devoured it by itself, on toasted baguette as an appetizer, on top of crunchy romaine lettuce as an even fuller salad, and even sprinkled with Parmesan in a grilled sandwich. ALL GOOD THINGS. And since I've decided that I am 17 shades of DONE with winter and forcibly moving ahead to summer (if my "bikini body" could get the memo that'd be great), it's extra perfect.

Maybe not the most pristine, photogenic salad in the world, but who cares.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad
usually serves 2 if tossed on top of some chopped romaine lettuce

What You Need
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-off and cooked (These particular ones I found at Trader Joe's and all I had to do was run them under some cold water to thaw for 5 minutes and they were DELICIOUS.)
1 avocado, diced
1 large tomato-on-the-vine, or 2 Roma tomatoes, or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, or whatever, diced
1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber (this wound up being about 1/3 of a large English cucumber)
1 green spring onion, chopped

~2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (no stems)
~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
~1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (or bottled I guess, but use sparingly since it's often stronger)
2-3 dashes chili powder
S & P, to taste

What You Do
1. Um...toss everything together? Stir really well to combine (the avocado will break down a bit and create a lovely creamy dressing with the EVOO and the lemon juice, but add more if you want to) and let it hang out in the fridge for about 10 minutes so the flavours marry, and...enjoy!
Posted on February 20, 2014 .

Lekker: Roasted Tomato Garam Masala Soup

Oh no...two soup recipes in a week? Shit, must be fall yo!

I whipped this baby up this weekend in between episodes of Mad Men (rewatching; goodness Betty Draper drives me just bananas--grow a backbone, lady!) as an alternative to traditional tomato soup. Don't get me wrong, tomato soup and grilled cheese is one of my favourite meals ever and sooo comforting on a rainy day. Not that it was raining here, but anyway--I'm interested in creative spins on that traditional American combo and this is totally in the running: a roasted tomato soup with lots of garlic and onion, and a big Thai kick from the garam masala spices and coconut milk. What to serve it with? When I do this next time, I'm grilling up a naan and paneer cheese sandwich. NOM!

Don't be intimidated by the unfamiliar ingredients; they are all easy to find if you know where to look.

Roasted Tomato Garam Masala Soup
makes about 6 servings

What You Need
14-16 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthways
2 large yellow onions, sliced in thick chunks (I don't care how you wanna do this; quarters, chunks, rings, whatever--just make them similar in size to the tomatoes)
2 whole heads of garlic (you can take it down a notch to one head if you're really anti-garlic or something, but know that roasting them really mellows their flavour and brings out just a lovely carmelised sweetness)

olive oil or whatever oil you prefer for roasting
1 can coconut milk (reserve a couple of teaspoons for a pretty garnish)
~2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth if you want to make this entirely vegetarian
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro, or a comparable amount of chopped fresh cilantro
about 8 stalks of fresh parsley, leaves chopped roughly (toss the stems in your compost pile)
salt and pepper, to taste

What You Do
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. The first thing you have to do is get the garlic in the oven because those take the longest to roast (about 45 minutes). If you've never roasted garlic before, it's really easy. Just rub off the excess papery skin, leaving the whole bulb intact. Slice off the top 1/3 of the bulb so that the individual cloves are exposed. Pour olive oil over top until the cloves are well coated, and wrap up in aluminum foil and throw in the oven. If that wasn't clear enough, here's a tutorial, except I don't bother with the baking tin; I just wrap them up into little foil bundles and have done with it.

2. While that's going, line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss the halved tomatoes and onion chunks with enough oil to lightly coat and season with salt and pepper.  Spread out evenly on the baking sheet and add those to the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, stir, and roast for about 15-20 minutes more, or until the onions have gone golden brown (maybe a little blackened in some places, that's okay) and the tomatoes have broken down and are brown in spots. QUITE CONVENIENTLY, an episode of Mad Men runs about 48 minutes, so...I'm not *saying* my timing is perfect, but it kind of is. 

3. Everything roasted? Sweetness! In a large stockpot, throw in the tomatoes, onions, roasted garlic, coconut milk (treat that can like a Shake Weight before you open it otherwise it'll be all separated and weird; nothing wrong with the Shake Weight, nothing at all), 1 cup of broth, tomato paste, garam masala and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Now, you'll need to either use an immersion blender to blend this all up, or work in careful batches in a blender until smooth.

4. Now that it's all blended you can add the cilantro and the parsley, and add the remaining cup of broth adjusting to the thickness that you like for your soups. I'm not gonna hunt you down if you like it a little thicker...baha. Heat for about another 10 minutes at a gentle simmer and serve with a pretty drizzle of coconut milk and a couple of leaves of fresh parsley. Look at you all fancy. If you like it spicier, add in a gorgeous drizzle of extra sriracha. (I find that the coconut milk adds such a rich, gorgeous creaminess that I want to contrast it with a decent kick.) Done! Next time, I think I'm going to pass the soup through a strainer quickly before serving to remove some of the fibrous leftovers from the tomatoes.

A couple of notes:

* Garam Masala is a spice mixture common in Indian and Southeast Asia. I had a difficult time finding it in the grocery store, but in TARGET, of all places, I found it in their Archer Farms line of spices. I imagine you could find it at an Asian or Indian foods market as well, and of course there's always the great wide Internet if you're really determined. 

* Coconut milk is much more common nowadays so you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. I found the tin in the Asian foods section of my local supermarket, but it's also available in cartons. Just make sure you get an unflavoured kind and if you use a carton, you'll need about 1 1/2 cups' worth. 

* I mentioned I would serve it with a grilled naan and paneer sandwich. Naan is flat bread from the Middle East, so I guess I'm doing a bit of a fusion thing there, but it's easy to find--usually by the imported cheeses, by the deli, or by the bread in your store. Paneer is an Indian cheese that I simply can't find, though my search is not over. In the interim, I would use a fresh white cheese of any kind--queso fresco comes to mind. Hell, you could even do a grilled naan and FETA sandwich here that would be AWESOME! Just pick any mild, white, solid cheese and you're good to go.

* If you don't like Indian food, and don't like curry, or Thai or Indian flavours, and hate trying new things, and expanding your culinary palate--don't eat this. You'll be pissed that "I gave you this crappy recipe" and I'll be pissed that you're a dumbass.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for a martini with Don Draper. Hello, Don...
Posted on October 8, 2013 .

Lekker: Summer Shrimp & Corn Salad

Dear. God. Blogger was giving me such shit last night. I meant to write this yesterday evening whilst I was leisurely enjoying a glass of good-for-me red wine (to celebrate some good news I received about my health, lulz) but no, Google was not having it. Damn you Google and your salad sabotaging ways!

Anyhoodles, the salad I'm blogging about today is hands down my very very favourite salad for summer time. I think I've eaten it about a dozen times since June and each time I make it there's like 4 servings in it, so...yeah. It has never photographed prettily so this is the best I could do, but there is so much yumminess in this bad boy there's no one who will say no. AND I CAN ALREADY SEE YOU BOYS GOING TO X OUT OF THIS BLOG BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT A SALAD. You can just calm right down because I have fed this to meat-eating cavemen multiple times and they all loved it (hello, it includes bacon) despite the lack of bloody steak.

I'm going to write this recipe the easy way, the way I do it on weeknights. There is a blurb at the bottom about how to complicate your life, if you're into that kind of thing.

All dah pretty colors. Plus there's a ton of green all underneath that.

Summer Shrimp & Corn Salad
makes 3-4 good sized servings; I am a pig and keep this whole thing to myself and get four bowls worth' out of it. It'll keep for one night and one night only in the fridge if you DO NOT dress it.

What You Need
1 bag of chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 a large cucumber (I like the English ones, not because I'm a racist against the other cukes but these are just...better...) peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 large tomato (I prefer on-the-vine but you could even use cherry tomatoes chopped in half or Roma or whatever, just get a nice big ol' handful of tomato in there)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (less if you like less, or leave it out if you don't like cheese, whatever)
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (if you really want to make your life simple, buy the precooked bacon and just zap it in the micro for 30 seconds to bring it to room temp)
1/2 a pound of shrimp (Note: I always buy the frozen, peeled, deveined & de-tailed shrimp because I am lazy. I'm writing the recipe as if you're doing that too. But if you are even lazier than me, buy the already-cooked shrimp or whatever the deli/fish section of your grocery store has prepared to save yourself a step)
1 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed

What You Do
1. In a large bowl, throw in your lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado and feta cheese which you have all already lovingly washed and diced up into salad sized pieces. Cook your bacon in the microwave (if you didn't buy the precooked stuff) until it's to your desired crispiness, blot off the grease really really well with a paper towel, chop that up and throw it in.

2. If you didn't buy the pre-cooked shrimp, now's the time to sauté off your thawed shrimp in a pan on the stove. I use a cast iron skillet and a teensy bit of butter over medium-high heat until the shrimp are pink throughout. Season with pepper to taste. When they're done, you can cut each shrimp in half if you want (I usually do that to get them more interspersed throughout the salad but forgot in the photo above) and add those to your salad.

3. In the same pan that's still hot with a bit of grease left in it from the shrimp, toss in the corn and crank up the heat to high, stirring often to toast it. You don't haaaaaaaave to do this step but I find it brings out a little bit more of the ....corn?...flavour. Throw that in the salad bowl and you're done!

Oh, right, dressing. So, don't dress this salad if you're not going to finish it that night because it gets all soggy and gross in the fridge. But, the dressing I always make is a very simple vinaigrette with about 1/3 cup of olive oil and 2 T lemon juice with salt and pepper added to taste. Whisk it up with a fork, taste it, and adjust as necessary. 

A CAVEAT TO ALL OF THE ABOVE: I rarely use measurements when I cook. In fact, I just about made up every single measurement you see above from memory and from what I usually use. This is a salad, I don't give a flying fart in space if you want to use 8 slices of bacon instead of 6 or if you want to use the whole cucumber; just do what you like! It's your life! It's just dinner! I just put what *I* usually do because these are the proportions that *I* like.

So, that's how I usually make that salad. There *IS* a way to elevate this to supreme baller status, and it is excellent, but more work. Namely, you can grill the shrimp (instead of just pan frying them) which adds the most gorgeous colour, flavour and "summeryness". You can also grill fresh corn on the cob, OR, dry roast some fresh raw kernels in a cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat, stirring often, until they blacken and brown in spots. That's amazing too. I just can't be bothered to go tracking down fresh corn on the cob on a Tuesday night to do all that, and I can't grill for shit so that's out too. 

I suggest you enjoy this with one of the aforementioned boneheaded meat lovers so you can crow gleefully once they admit how yummy this salad actually is. A nice white wine (I like Monkey Bay's Sauvignon Blanc) pairs well for crowing, I find.

Posted on September 11, 2013 .

Lekker: Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash

Here's another little gem that was pinged my way by the mysterious Lucas, shared between housemate TB and I for dinner last night. He's getting back on his vegan/vegetarian diet so we're making good use of the overabundance of vegetables from our garden, and everything you see here was grown by him. On a personal level, it always pleases me when I have an opportunity to show my gratitude to TB for being such a thoughtful, caring and creative housemate. He informed me last night that he's planted spinach, turnips and beans for the fall simply because I made a throw-away remark last week that I'd never cooked with turnips before and wanted to. He's awesome, right?! Thank youuuuu Craigslist!

I also like this recipe because it's INTENDED for two people. Come on y'all, don't be #foreveralone on this one--call up a friend or neighbor to join you (or a secretly despised enemy...just remember which half you put the arsenic into.)

The photo does not do this justice; I dunno WHAT was going on with my iPhone/kitchen lighting me, it's delicious. 

Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash
makes 2 large servings

What You Need
1 large spaghetti squash
2 T olive oil, divided (that means you aren't going to use it all at once, read the recipe)
4-6 Roma tomatoes, depending on their size. Use your judgement as usual.
a large handful of basil
4-5 chives
about 3/4 cup good quality Parmesan cheese, or more, whatever you want
S&P, to taste

What You Do
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now, we gotta slice that squash in half lengthwise and you will quickly realize that it's kind of a mother of a task. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD BE CAREFUL. Use a really sharp large knife (or a meat cleaver, for reals) and GO SLOW and again, BE CAREFUL. Drink your wine AFTER this part. It is *so* easy for the knife to slip. It took me a hot minute to get it done, but eventually I did get into it. (Protip: Don't waste your time with serrated knives. They don't work and you will only wind up with a growing pile of reject knives in the corner of the cutting board at which your roommate will glance suspiciously.)

2. You got it open without stabbing yourself? YAY! It's all gravy from here. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the obviously stringy bits. Brush the squash (the inside parts duh) with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add salt and pepper. On a foil-lined baking sheet, turn them cut side DOWN and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.

All nicely brushed, now flip 'em over and into the oven they go.

3. So while that's rockin' and rollin' in the oven, you can dice up your Roma tomatoes, the chives (KEEP CALM AND CHIVE ON!) and basil and add it all to a big bowl with the other tablespoon of olive oil, and a wee bit more salt and pepper if you like. I just let it marinate for about 15 minutes while I waited for the squash to finish cooking.

Obviously I didn't use all of that, I'm just showing off here.

4. After about 30 minutes in the oven your squash should be done. Take it out of the oven and flip it over carefully to check the insides. They should be soft. If not, throw them back in for another 5-10 minutes. But if they're done, let them cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. Turn on the broiler in your oven because it'll take awhile to heat up. You'll want to use a fork to shred out the insides into the awesome little spaghetti-like strings that give this bad boy its name in the first place. So fun! Dump those into the bowl with the tomatoes as you gather it all up.

5. So once that's all combined, you stuff it back into the shells of the squash and top it with Parmesan cheese. Please, do not insult these beautiful vegetables by using that powdered crap. That is not cheese. You can find the good stuff in the specialty cheeses section of any grocery store.

6. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese gets all nicely browned and melty and smells like heaven. I suppose you could serve this with grilled chicken or something else, but TB and I loved it just as is.

The ONLY thing I would do differently would be to add some crumbled bacon when it comes time to stuff everything back in the shells. I think it really could benefit from that richness, but honestly we were both scraping the shells with glee anyway so I'd say it's a success.

Voila! Serve with a glass of white wine. (Because of course.)

Lekker: Tomato Bacon Summer Sandwich

This isn't a real post. It's just a sandwich. But the Roma tomatoes in my garden are going nuts and I'm putting them on EVERYTHING. This is my very favourite summer sandwich, so chock full of bursting freshness I could eat it every day.

Tomato Bacon Summer Sandwich
makes 2 sammies

What You Need
4 pieces of your sandwich bread of choice; I love the fresh Tuscan something-or-other from Trader Joe's but you can use any fresh bread with a nice crust and soft insides
1 avocado, mashed and seasoned with S&P to your liking
a few Roma or heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thin lengths
6-8 slices of bacon, cooked to desired crispness
handful of pea shoots (I suppose you could use any sort of sprout here, but the pea shoots have this delicious, sweet-pea taste to them with the most amazing deep green color and fresh crunch; I can only find them at Trader Joe's)
South African Smoke seasoning from TJ's (I swear they should be paying me for how often I cite them; if you can't find this or don't have a Trader Joes near you, you can try experimenting with other smoke seasonings but to me this is the key ingredient--I've made it without, and it's just not the same)

What You Do
Toast the bread slightly, just to give it a bit of crunch. Smear the avocado on each slice; please do not insult this sandwich by putting mayonnaise or butter on it. Avocado is nature's butter, bitches! Use it. It's full of healthy fats and antioxidants, and it's in season. No excuses. Next, layer the tomatoes on top of the avo and add the smoke seasoning and more S&P if you want it. On the other slice, pile on the bacon and the pea shoots on top of it. Snap a photo and Instagram it like a true food hipster and make everyone around you roll their eyes (I don't care; tag me @southafricanbokkie in it) and then dig in.


 Because really, I want one too.
Posted on August 17, 2013 .

Lekker: Crispity Crunchity Cuke Salad

This isn't a "real" recipe. This is just one of my favourite salads of all time, one I grew up with and learned at my Mom's elbow and was inspired to eat for dinner last night as a way to get more of my delicious homemade feta cheese into my mouth (recipe coming soon).

I was looking forward to this salad all day; it's so crunchy and refreshing and light and just what I wanted after a cathartic run. Also I'm single and busy, so make no mistake I'm not making full fancy meals for myself every night. I grabbed an English cucumber from Trader's Joes and my currently-preferred olive oil (100% cold pressed, 100% organic from Spain and only $5.99 at TJ's) on my way home from work, thinking I'd use the gorgeous vine-ripened tomatoes I'd pick up from the store only a couple of days ago. WRONG! They were, already, a rotten soggy mouldy mess. I don't deal with disappointment well, so I had a beer. Then, PING! I thought to check out in the garden. My housemate TB had told me that our current tomato cycle was over, but I wandered out there anyway and I found more than enough gorgeous, bright red, PERFECT Roma tomatoes waiting to go into my salad.

I know I'm lucky. Not everyone has these luxuries and I'm well aware of my fortune in TB.

Crispity Crunchity Cuke Salad
makes 1 large salad for a really hungry chick

What You Need
1 English cucumber, peeled (it's the long slim one in the plastic wrap in the grocery store; I like it because I think it's crunchier than the traditional cucumbers, but obviously use whatever you like, this is not Nazi Cucumber)
a handful of Roma tomatoes or any other kind you like, in proportion to the amount of cucumber
feta cheese, same in proportion
olive oil
lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled, whatever you have)

What You Do
It's a salad with like 3 ingredients, how complicated do you think this is? Dice up the cucumber and tomatoes into cute little bite sized pieces. Toss it with enough crumbled feta cheese until you're satisfied. Dress it lightly with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and stick it in the fridge to marinate for 15 minutes while you drink another beer and pat yourself on the back for making a salad. Nom.

Sometimes, GOOD doesn't have to mean complicated.

You can see I added some diced kalamata olives here because I wanted more salinity since my cheese was much milder than I'm used to. If you're using store-bought feta cheese I would leave the olives out, because that's a LOT of salt, and bloat works for no one.