Sunday, August 15, 2010
So even though it's still 113 here for the heat index, some things require you to move away from the skillet, crockpot, and drive thru. Your husband's birthday is one of those times.
Every year we host a birthday dinner for my husband, and every year I make him something new. These were not the new item. That was the cheese course
Which you get next week because I promised a friend I would post the Spanokopita first.
The plan was to make things that could be made in advance and then just throw them in the oven after people arrived allowing me to actually visit and see people instead of being in the kitchen. That part of the plan worked... the "easy" part was blown by these little babies. I hate working with phyllo. The only thing I can imagine worse than working with phyllo would be to make your own phyllo. The man I trained to replace me at my old job was from Greece. He asked my favorite Greek food I said Spanokopita. He brought me some... in pan form, like a flaky topped lasagna. Brilliant! Why had that thought never crossed my mind? I plan on trying that out with this recipe in the near future. However this time I wanted them for appetizers so they had to be finger food. And they don't really take THAT much time, and they are so very worth it. Here we go. PS... He said even his Grandmother back in Greece hates working with phyllo.
Step 1: Mix everything in a bowl
Step 2: Find a helper
Step 3: Go crazy trying to separate out the fine sheets of phyllo. Not really... here let me give you a pointer or two... first, make sure it is completely thawed and at room temperature before taking it out of its protective wrap. Next gently unroll the pastry. Set it up with the wax paper stuff it comes in, then a layer of plastic wrap, then a damp towel. This will keep it from drying out and breaking into a million pieces.
Step 4: Put your helper down for a nap, and begin to wrap the spanokopita. I cheat a little. I take one sheet of phyllo. Plop it down on the cutting board. Brush it lightly with melted butter (recipe for all of this is below), then fold it into three instead of cutting and layering.
Step 5: Place a small amount of filling onto the folded phyllo.
Step 6: Fold the edge over the little mound (flat) so that it covers about half the filling. Honestly this little pile is kind of centered, its better if you place it more towards the bottom of the pastry.
Step 7: Begin your flag fold. The key with the flag fold is to remember every other fold is a diagnal fold the folds in between are just a straight fold... See what I mean.... right here you're just folding straight as the line between the little package you are folding and the dough is straight. Hopefully that makes sense. If not there is probably a youtube video to help you out.
Step 8: Send photos to your father to make sure he is good and jealous. Have said father tell you he's digging clams in North Carolina drinking a cold beer while he sits by the ocean. Try not to disown him. Move on.
Step 9: Repeat steps 1-7 with remaining filling, this batch took almost the whole box (2 rolls) of phyllo.
Step 10: Serve warm or reheat as people arrive.
Step 11: Enjoy.
From the kitchen files (which really means I don't know where I got this recipe... I think I may have adjusted a recipe once upon a time)
2 packages of chopped frozen spinach
1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese
½ cup grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground peppers, to taste
1 box phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
8 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
Thaw frozen spinach to room temperature. Place in between two or three paper towels, and squeeze excess water from spinach. Place in a large bowl and break up clumps. Add the feta cheese, parmesan, eggs, and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a baking sheet. Cut the stack of filo sheets lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Remove 1 strip (1 layer at a time) and cover the remaining phyllo with the set up mentiuoned above. Brush lightly with melted butter. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the filling about 1 inch from the bottom of the strip. Fod the end halfway over the filling, then fold the filling on the diagonal to form a triangular shape. Bring the bottom of the triangle up against the straight edge. Continue folding in this manner until the tip of the strip is reached, forming a triangular pastry. Brush lightly with melted butter. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes (watch these). Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter. Serve immediately, warm or at room temperature. Makes approximately 30 triangles.
I makes these ahead of time for appetizers and then reheat them quickly in the oven.