- 2 lbs. softened cream cheese
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup (or more) chopped artichoke hearts
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 5 finely chopped scallions
- 2 Tablespoons fresh dill weed (2 teaspoons., if using dry)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano (2 teaspoons, if using dry)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 4 eggs
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (10x15-inch) puff pastry sheet
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with puff pastry.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the feta and cream cheeses.
- Beat in the artichoke hearts, scallions, and minced garlic. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl, mixing well.
- Pour into pastry-lined spring form pan and bake for 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then unmold. Garnish with sun dried tomatoes and fresh oregano or dill.
Serve at room temperature with crackers or crostini.
INFESTATION: Artichokes can be heavily infested with both aphids and thrips. These insects penetrate deeply between the thick leaves, which provide them with food and shelter. Thus, insects may even be found between the innermost layers of leaves around the heart.
Canned or jarred artichokes need a reliable hechsher (kosher symbol on the label) as they may present more than one Kashruth concern. They may not be used even if one were to check them scrupulously for insects.
INSPECTION: Fresh artichokes may be prepared for use in one of the following ways:
- If the artichoke leaves are desired, then: After cooking the artichoke, pull away each leaf and examine it for small green aphids or gray/black thrips. Pay careful attention to the stem of the leaf (i.e., where the leaf was connected to the solid base).
- If the heart of the artichoke is desired, then: The artichoke leaves that wrap around the heart of the artichoke should be spread apart, making space between each leaf. Carefully examine between the leaves. If there is no sign of insect infestation, the artichoke heart may be used after a thorough washing.
- Due to the difficulty involved in checking and cleaning artichoke hearts, they are not presently allowed in OU restaurants unless nearly all the leaves have been removed.
- The solid artichoke bottom, not surrounded by any leaves, may be used without any inspection. However, they should be rinsed prior to using.
DESCRIPTION: Artichokes are ball shaped vegetables, about the same size as a tennis ball. They consist of many thick leaves concentrically arranged to form a rosette. These leaves stem from a solid base. Heart of artichoke refers to the base with layers of the innermost center leaves which are edible.
INFESTATION: Insect prone vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli and spinach, are not made permissible by the freezing process. It is therefore recommended that these vegetables be purchased only when bearing proper kosher certification, as they are most difficult to check thoroughly.
DESCRIPTION: Fresh Chives, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme are often used as spices or garnishing.
Please Note: Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
INFESTATION: Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
RECOMMENDATION: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs it should not be used.
- Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated unscented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
- Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
- Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
- Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
- If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
- If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.
Please note: To prepare herbs such as cilantro, dill, or parsley for use in soups, wash them thoroughly and place in a cooking bag.
INFESTATION: Green Onions, also referred to as scallions, have a white base that develops into a bulb. Its long, straight green shoots branch forth from the bulb. Light green or brown thrips may occasionally be found between the green branches where they protrude from the bulb. Less frequently, they can be found on the outside or inside of the long green shoots.
- A vertical cut should be made from the top of the scallion’s green shoot to the bottom of the bulb. Examine three scallions from each bunch, paying careful attention to the area between the branches that protrude from the bulb.
- If no insects are found, wash thoroughly under a heavy stream of water or power hose and use.
- If insects are found in a scallion, it must be discarded.