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Getty Villa-inspired Mezes
Mezes the Foods of The Gods
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Recipe List

Farro Salad

  • 3 cups cooked farro, chilled (Trader Joe’s has a great “10-minute farro”; perfect for this!)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Lemon vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Sea salt and white pepper, to taste

Roasted Olives with Citrus and Lavender

  • 3 cups mixed green and black olives, both with pits and pitted are fine
  • 1 tsp lavender seeds
  • Zest of two fresh citrus fruits - your choice; I usually use orange / lemon; even grapefruit
  • 1 tsp dried Greek oregano (crush between fingers when adding)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of the same two citrus fruits

Spicy Walnut Dip

  • 1 cup fresh-as-possible walnuts
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp fine olive oil, plus extra if necessary for smoothness
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika - hot or sweet
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Sea salt, to taste

Bread for Mezes Handmade Foccacia

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour or, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (not boiling)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil + extra

Lemon Vinaigrette, for finishing platter

  • Zest and juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

Farro Salad

  • Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until serving or serve at room temperature.

Roasted Olives with Citrus and Lavender

  • Preheat oven to 400F. 
  • Using mortar and pestle, crush lavender seeds with citrus zest, herbs, and black pepper. 
  • In large mixing bowl, combine olives with crushed seasonings, olive oil, and juice. 
  • Transfer to large cast iron skillet or glass/ceramic baking dish. 
  • Roast for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Olives will brown slightly; do not over-roast. 
  • Remove olives from pan with slotted spoon; keep seasonings if you’d like to make my foccacia - sooo good! 
  • Cool olives slightly before serving; refrigerate to store.

Spicy Walnut Dip

  • Place walnuts in food processor fitted with metal blade; pulse until finely ground. 
  • Add remaining ingredients. 
  • If mix is too thick, continue pulsing while adding more olive oil in thin stream. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and any other ingredient you desire, including pepper for more heat.

Bread for Mezes Handmade Foccacia

  • Sift flours with salt, place in large mixing bowl. 
  • Combine yeast well with water, add oil. 
  • Pour onto flour mound, mix with clean hands until dough is manageable and can be formed into a soft ball. 
  • Add flour or water as needed; to get this perfectly may take practice, but this recipe works very well for basic proportions.
  • Remove dough from bowl, and “oil” bowl generously with olive oil. 
  • Place ball in center of bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, in draft-free space for at least one hour.
  • Using pan or skillet from roasted olives - or well-oiled pizza pan/cast iron skillet/flat baking surface, transfer risen dough into pan for baking. 
  • Allow a “second rise” if time allows, about 30-60 minutes, then preheat oven to 450F.
  • Place pan in center of oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. 
  • Bread is ready when it can be easily lifted from its pan and is browned on the bottom; increment baking times by about 3 minutes until done.
  • Let cool slightly before cutting into squares or wedges.

Lemon Vinaigrette, for finishing platter

  • Combine lemon zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt in large bowl or blender jar. 
  • Whisk by hand - or blend - until smooth. 
  • Whisk in oil in thin stream to create emulsion, or add oil slowly to blender to emulsify, for smooth, creamy dressing. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with more sugar and/or salt, for desired flavor.
  • Prepare platter with farro salad, crumbled feta, hummus, walnut dip, olives ... drizzle everything lightly with lemon vinaigrette, and finish with dried Greek oregano, crushed with fingers, for the perfect final touch. 
  • Offer warm pita and foccacia on side as accompaniments.

My very favorite mecca of inspiration is the Getty Villa in Malibu

Whenever I visit an art museum, I come away entirely inspired to create new menus and recipes. I wonder why that is ...

My very favorite mecca of inspiration is the Getty Villa in Malibu. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet to relax, recharge and, I swear, to revisit past lives in ancient Rome and Greece.

Mediterranean is very much my specialty in the kitchen and at the table, especially dominant influences from Italy, Greece, Spain, France, and even North Africa. I’ve been told it’s because I lived there over and again, and that’s where I learned to cook before this life.

In this story you are the benefactor of that ..

Not only do I feel like I’ve had an entire’s day vacation (to Europe) upon each visit at the Villa - even if it’s for just a few hours - I adore a respite and meal at the Cafe’, and a shop in the gift store.

By now, my recipe repertoire has expanded for that experience. My collection of jewelry, books, writing papers, art supplies is also better for that shopping and come to think of it, they also have an amazing pomegranate bar soap that is irresistible!

Mezes with colorful food

The first time I had the Cafe’s Mezes Platter

The first time I had the Cafe’s Mezes Platter for lunch was on a day when I was still at BarComida and I needed serious self-nurturing; this meal hit the spot.  I also imagined that I could recreate it with my own touch, for my own menu so, I did. To rave reviews!

At the moment, it’s one of the main offerings on my “cold platters” selection, for parties that I cater. With warm pita and my focaccia as mops, it gets cleaned up pretty quickly.

Instead of waxing poetic any longer about the virtues of this incredibly delicious plate, I’m going to provide several recipes to inspire you! To begin, I’ll note what graces both of our plates. The recipes I’m offering are from my files ... I’m sure theirs are - understandably - kept top secret! Farro* salad, Hummus, Feta cheese, Olives, warm pita

My plate (foto above) often includes a Spicy Walnut Dip; I use Trader Joe’s hummus since I know and love the private labeler! My foccacia is always on the side so I’ve provided that recipe here too; also for my lemon vinaigrette which finishes the platter.

*hearty grain believed to be a mainstay of an ancient Roman’s daily diet.

Buon appetito!!

Until next time, I remain ~

Your Chef and Tour Maestra,

Diane Scalia

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