Monday, February 22, 2010

On the first week of Lent my stomach said to me...

...some vegetarian spaghetti. No seriously. I made a whole wheat pasta with a tomato sauce, added squash and baby spinach to thicken it up and make it more hearty. It was delicious.

   I made (sorta) a new recipe called Spanakopita. Don't know where it originates from, but since it calls for Phyllo Dough I thought it was French.
   Thanks to wikipedia I have been proven wrong again. It is Greek. So any way, you basically mix some feta, ricotta, egg, softened onion and wilted spinach in a little phyllo pocket that looks like a little ravioli or dumpling. Feta and the "pita" should have been the dead give away with the Greek. Dur, but I digress.
     My version was not so um, classy. You see small towns don't have fancy cooking ingredients like philio or ricotta for that matter. (do these people never eat lasagna?) So I made due with a puff pastry sheet and mozzarella substitutes. Basically, all you have to do is wilt the spinach in a pot for about 5 minutes (no added water). In the meantime, chop an onion. When the 5 minutes are up, drain whatever water you spinach has weeped through a colander. (Or a salad spinner if you have one. More to come on this tool.) Put some butter in a skillet, and throw in your chopped onion and spinach until the onions get soft. I added a little garlic powder since we were eating spaghetti.
   With your third hand, lay out the thawed phyllo according to instructions, or your puff pastry and roll it out a little thinner, maybe til it is about 1/2 of its original thickness. Thankfully, the puff pasty is tri-folded, so i just ran my knife down the fold-line and then cut each of those into three. Now is time to panic because the spinach mixture is needing to be taken off the stove because it is about to burn. (or is that just me). Put the spinach mixture in a bowl with a couple of lightly beaten eggs, a large handful of feta and a handful of mozzarella. Mix the pocket innards until they are consistently mixed.
   Then, use a large tablespoon to shovel some of the cheese-egg-spinach goo onto one of the squares. Hey you, Polly Perfect reading this and pulling out a measuring spoon. This is an inexact science here, don't measure, just put enough in until it looks like you have a good blob on innards on the dough.
    Then fold the dough over and pinch it closed on all sides. Repeat until you run out of dough. Cook at 350 for 15-20 minutes. The little guys will puff right up and look like twinkies. They were a hit, and Jon ate the onions without even knowing it. Yea for cooking deception.

 This is how they are supposed to look, mine of course did not. Mine turned out a little more like the ones below.
But of course, still not as pretty and uniform. You get the drift. It's me we're talking about.

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