I’m cozied up at home enjoying a free evening to read, get caught up on “24” episodes, sip tea and recover from a killer flu that hit last night. Yeesh. I’m getting knocked flat with stuff this winter! Thankfully it was of the 24-hour variety and I’m feeling heaps better. 🙂 I celebrated with dark hot chocolate and some great new podcasts from Itunes. In my quest to save money and pay off bills, I’m always interested in finding free things to do that are entertaining and informative. It’s amazing the free podcasts that are available: old time radio, Writer’s Almanac, This American Life, all sorts of ones on travel, history, music and literature. I’ve having a grand time! 🙂
This weekend I had a sudden and irresistible urge for that lovely Greek spinach pie: spanakopita. So, after a deliciously relaxing Sunday afternoon, I headed to the kitchen. I popped in a dramatized audio version of “The Horse and His Boy” and set to sauteing spinach with savory onions, mixing them in with tart feta cheese, nutmeg and lemon juice, and enclosing it all with buttered phyllo dough into tidy little packets of goodness.
I only par-baked them, freezing most of them for a rainy day. When I’m ready, all I have to do is thaw, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so, and they’re good to go! I do so love easy, yummy food. 🙂
(From David Lebovitz)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
12 ounces (325g) fresh spinach, well-washed and towel dried
salt and freshly-ground pepper
8-10 ounces (230-250g) feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat leaf parsley
pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
1 large egg, at room temperature
16 sheets filo dough (about 12 ounces, 350g), thawed, if frozen
Melted butter (2-3 ounces, 60-90g)
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until transluscent.
- Add the spinach and a bit of salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the spinach is completely wilted, stirring once or twice to hasten the process.
- Scrape the spinach into a colander and let cool completely. Once cool, firmly squeeze out the excess liquid then chop the spinach with a chef’s knife into smallish pieces.
- Mix the spinach in a small bowl with the feta and parsley until chunky. Taste, and add nutmeg and a squirt of lemon juice, plus more salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the egg.
- Unwrap and unroll the filo and keep it covered at all times with a damp tea towel.
- Working quickly lay one sheet of filo on the counter and brush it lightly, but thoroughly, with butter. Lay another sheet on top of it and brush it with butter as well.
- Set a scant 1/4 cup (50g) of the filling in the center, about 1-inch (3cm) from the edge of the sheets of filo, then roll the two edges of the dough over, lengthwise, to encase the filling. You should have a long rectangle with filling underneath the top far end.
- Brush the exposed surface of the filo with butter and fold one corner diagonally over the filling, then continue folding keeping the triangle shape (as you’d fold a flag) and brushing the exposed surfaces of the filo with butter, until you have a neat triangle. Brush the top with butter and set on a baking sheet in the freezer.
- Continue making more spanakopitas with the remaining filling. Once all the spanakopitas are frozen, store them in a freezer bag until ready to bake. If well-wrapped, they’ll keep for a couple of months.
- To bake the frozen spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and put the frozen triangles on a baking sheet, then brush each with butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until deeply-golden brown. If you’re baking them without freezing them first, they’ll take less time to bake, so check them before the recommended baking time.