Salt + Sea

One of the beautiful things about living in Hawaii is the diversity of landscape and food. Maui has over seven different climate zones believe it or not! From the lush jungles to the dry and Mediterrean climate upcountry, there is an endless amount inspiration.

Maui is a shape shifter of sorts. Some areas look like the grassy savannah of Africa or the white washed stone beaches of Greece. By looking around at your natural environment, you’d be surprised of the diversity and abundance around. Gathering over a meal outside has been one of the ways I enjoy to connect to my environment and the ones I love. It also transports you to another time and place. Food always seems to taste and look better outside!

This salad reminds me of the salty shores of Greece. Fresh herbs, briny olives, and juicy tomatoes compliment the creaminess of a fresh block of Feta. This is a wonderful recipe for entertaining as it is simple to prepare but is a beautiful presentation. You can serve it as an appetizer or starter for your main meal or tapas style. It gives you a fresh and sharp taste of the islands when the weather is a bit gloomy and dull as it tends to be at this time of year. Finding a sunny spot in your home or outside with some lovely fresh food sometimes is all you need as a seasonal pick me up.

Back home in Vermont in November was really hard for me. I craved the sun and with only a few hours of daylight which were weak and fleeting, brought me down physically and emotionally. The leaves were gone and all that remained were “sticks” as we call them. I am deeply sensitive with seasonal affected disorder (SAD) which partially initiated my move to Hawaii. A little fresh and bright salad like this with a sunny spot, I’m as happy as can be. I hope this salad transports you to somewhere warm and gives you that sunny pick me up that is needed at this time of year!

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Greek Feta Salad

Serves 4

3-4 cups of mixed pitted olives, such as Kalamata and Castelvetrano

2-3 garlic coves, chopped

1 cucumber, diced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups of marinated artichoke hearts

4-5 ripe tomatoes, either heirloom, roma or cherry. Your choice but quality is what matters!

Fresh basil, loosely torn

Fresh oregano sprigs

Fresh thyme sprigs

good quality olive oil

good quality balsamic vinegar

1 block of fresh greek style feta cheese

salt + pepper

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the olives, garlic, cucumber, red onion, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and torn basil. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar and set aside.

Depending on where your serving, if outside put the olive and tomato mixture into a glass container for transportation. If serving at your home, gather your serving platter. If picnicking, keep the feta block in the original container until you reach your location.

On your serving platter at your picnic site or at home, place the feta block in the middle of the plate or platter. Spoon the olive and tomato mixture around the feta block. Garnish with the oregano and thyme sprigs. Drizzle a touch more olive oil with fresh cracked pepper on top. Adding fresh figs or pomegranate seeds also liven up the platter and cut the saltiness! Serve with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and crusty artisan bread to soak up the sweet juices.