Frustration and a dish from The Purple Pig

It’s been hard recently to find time to write. I always feel like I have more that I want to do in a day than I can, and I’m always behind on the business of life: paying bills, cleaning my apartment, doing laundry, returning library books.


Feta dip with cucumber and dill, inspired by Chicago’s Purple Pig.


I feel like I never have enough time for the things that are important to me, and because of that, I have to choose carefully how I will spend my time. When I spend it on something that’s less than spectacular, I feel frustrated. I wonder if this is common, at least among people with my kind of work and commuting schedule?

Last week, I stayed in Chicago on Wednesday, one of my two days off, to meet a couple of other journalists for lunch. We had been trying to get together for months but could never settle on a date because one of us always had a work conflict. I actually initiated the meeting. I thought it would be nice to get together with other people who did similar jobs for other publications.

And it was nice. We had a good lunch at The Purple Pig and talked about current events and what we were seeing happen with the local food movement in Chicago.

But, it wasn’t fabulous, and later, I wondered if the time might have been better spent in Wisconsin. G. and I haven’t had much time together lately because of my work schedule during the election and because I had company. I’ve had even less time with Biggie B., and while that might not seem like a big deal to people who don’t have dogs, it matters to me. He’s getting older, and the vet just diagnosed him with early-stage kidney disease. I don’t think he will die soon, but I don’t want to miss out on the good part of his old age either.

To try to make it up to G. for my absence, I made a nice dinner when I got to Wisconsin. I also duplicated, or tried to duplicate, one of the dishes I liked best, a smear that’s on the menu as Whipped Feta with Cucumbers.

You will need:

7 oz. plain Greek yogurt

8-10 oz. feta cheese

dried dill to taste

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced


I started with Greek yogurt as a base because most creamy dips use either yogurt, mayonnaise or sour cream as a base. I don’t eat mayo, and G. doesn’t like sour cream, so that left yogurt.

I put the yogurt in a blender and added feta until the mixture had a very strong feta taste. To keep the dip from getting too thick, I alternated milk with the feta as needed. But in all, I don’t think I used more than 2 tablespoons of milk.

To assemble, sprinkle a pinch or two of dill on top along with diced cucumber.

I didn’t assemble it all at once, but sectioned the dip into about four batches and assembled it as we ate it. I did this because I thought that if there was any left over, water from the cucumber would seep into the dip and make it runny. The smear at the restaurant was thick, so that’s what I was aiming for.

The Purple Pig serves its smears with a thick, artisan bread. G. and I ate mine with water crackers because that’s what we had on hand. Biggie B. had a taste too _ without cucumber. He liked it, but it got all over his whiskers.


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