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Feta-Stuffed Cucumbers with Olive Tapenade

For me, one of the best parts of coming home from college is the kitchen -- and the free time to cook. In my family, we love goats (we've had several living in the backyard since I was 10) and goat cheese (especially feta)-- and from there, this recipe was born.

For four servings, you'll need:

+ 1 English cucumber
+ 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of feta cheese
+ 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of cream cheese
+ 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
+ olive oil
+ 1 lemon
+ kalamata olives, jarred and pitted (1/2 cup)
+ fresh oregano
+ S&P

For the tapenade:
Peel 3 cloves of garlic and place in food processor; pulse for 5 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add the olives; pulse. Add the zest of the whole lemon and the juice of half of it. Drizzle in olive oil while blending in the food processor until the mixture is uniform but still slightly chunky. Finish with black pepper to taste, and set aside.

For the cucumbers:
Peel and coarsely chop 3 cloves of garlic; saute in a skillet with olive oil until lightly brown. (Watch them carefully; burnt garlic won't enhance the flavor of the dish at all.) Add to food processor; crumble in feta and add cream cheese. Pulse for 10 seconds, or until just blended. Add the juice of half of a lemon, liberal amounts of pepper, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of oregano (just the leaves, which you can strip from the stalks with your fingers). Pulse until smooth; transfer into a piping bag or strong zip-top bag with one corner clipped off.

After washing, remove the ends of the cucumber and cut in into fourths. Remove the core and seeds-- you can do this with an apple corer or a small paring knife. Roll a paper towel into a thin cylinder, and, as best you can, blot the excess water from the inside of the cucumber. Stand the segment up, and add the filling. Cut into segments; serve alongside or atop tapenade.

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