Cherry tomatoes and feta go with everything. Karen Schneider / For the Forecaster

Have you made this lovely concoction of cherry tomatoes, feta and herbs that hit social media a few years ago? Not only is it so delicious and easy, but you can use this delectable sauce in multiple ways. We’ve enjoyed it often with pasta but I recently mixed it into roasted spaghetti squash for a fabulous healthy meal. My favorite way to eat these roasted herbed-up tomatoes swimming in melted feta is to spread liberally on warm homemade bread.

If you’ve never made your own focaccia, now is the time to go for it. Take a lazy weekend day and make it special simply by mixing up some dough then sit back with your book, a movie and tea, or go out for a brisk walk. How you fill your waiting time is totally up to you. This is a winning combination for a winter’s day.

Cherry tomatoes with feta

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound cherry tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced


1 small shallot, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Flaky sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 handful of fresh basil


1 block (7 ounces) of feta

Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In an oven-safe dish, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallots, salt, black pepper and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Make a space large enough for the feta block in the middle of the tomatoes and place into the dish. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and crack more black pepper over top to taste.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until feta is browned and soft and tomatoes are bubbling.

Remove from the oven and toss in basil, stirring gently to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan.


Yield: 4 servings

No-knead focaccia

1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

2 teaspoons honey

2 1/2 cups warm water

5 cups flour


1 scant tablespoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for hands

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for pan

Flaky sea salt

3 garlic cloves, grated

Fresh herbs, optional


Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at or 504-0545.

Whisk yeast, honey and water in a medium bowl and let sit 5 minutes. It should foam up slightly.

Add flour and kosher salt. Mix with a rubber spatula, scraping down sides of bowl, until a shaggy dough forms.

Pour 4 tablespoons olive oil into a big bowl that will fit in your refrigerator. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and chill until dough is doubled in size (it should look very bubbly and alive), at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. You can also let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size for 3-4 hours.

Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan for thicker focaccia that’s perfect for sandwiches, or an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet for focaccia that’s thinner and crispier.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into pan and brush it to the edges. Keeping the dough in the bowl and using a fork in each hand, gather up edges of dough farthest from you and lift up and over into center of bowl. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat process. Do this two more times, deflating the dough while you form it into a rough ball. Transfer dough to prepared pan.

Pour any olive oil left in bowl onto the dough, turning the dough to coat it in oil. Let rise, uncovered, in a dry, warm spot until doubled in size, at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 hours.


Place a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees. To see if the dough is ready, poke it with your finger. It should spring back slowly, leaving a small visible indentation. If it springs back quickly, the dough isn’t ready. (If at this point the dough is ready to bake but you aren’t, you can chill it up to 1 hour.)

Lightly oil your hands. If using a rimmed baking sheet, gently stretch out dough to the edges (you probably won’t need to do this if using a baking pan). Dimple focaccia all over with your fingers, like you’re playing the piano, creating very deep depressions in the dough (reach your fingers all the way to the bottom of the pan). Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake focaccia until puffed and golden brown all over, 20-30 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve the focaccia, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring often until garlic is just lightly toasted, 30-45 seconds. Brush garlic butter all over focaccia, sprinkle herbs if using, then slice.

Yield: 10 servings

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