Blue Monday: Spanakopita


April is Poetry Month

“Peace goes into the making of a poem as flour goes into the making of bread.” - Pablo Neruda

Photos for Blue Monday


blue pottery with red flowers: LadyD Books





                                                          April is Jazz Appreciation Month

“Blues is to jazz what yeast is to bread. Without it, it’s flat.” - Carmen McRae




Spanakopita: Spinach Pie


You will find this delicious Greek pie served at all festive occasions, especially at Greek Festivals! The distinct flavor of Feta cheese makes this dish pitta rich and fragrant. Perhaps feta cheese is too strong for you in flavor. No problem because other cheeses may be substituted.

Now I come from a large Greek family and my father, my husband, many uncles and cousins are all named Nick. We owned a Greek restaurant in Chicago on Cicero and Kedzie but that was a very long time ago.

What I do remember to this day was my father’s detailed instructions on how we make Spinach pie. My father had a special spray bottle set aside for the sole purpose of spraying each layer of filo dough with olive oil. Every time I tell the story of my father’s “spray bottle” I immediately think of Gus in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”! Remember the part where Gus uses his Windex spray bottle for everything and on anything?! Such a riot that movie was.

Anyways, I’d love to share another family favorite recipe with you.

Ingredients you will need for Spanakopita

1 pound of filo (about 12 to 15 sheets)

Filling:

2 packages of frozen spinach
(10 ounces each) or 1 pound of fresh spinach. I love to use a bag of washed and clean spinach. If some is available in my garden, then by all means, I’ll use it.
 1 Pound of cheese: Feta, hoop or cottage cheese.1 use a half and half mixture of feta and cottage. Try it and see if you like it.
1/4 tsp. of salt
6 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/4 pound butter or margarine.

So, here we go:
If using frozen filo, you will need to defrost 2 hours ahead of time.
Filling: Thaw out frozen spinach. If using fresh, steam for 5 minutes until wilted. I have made this recipe many times with fresh, raw spinach uncooked and it turns out wonderfully each time.

Next, crumble the cheese, using a fork to break up the Feta Cheese or use your hands! Add a pinch more salt if using hoop or cottage cheese as substitute.

Mix in the beaten eggs in a very large bowl with all the other stuff. Set aside.

Now you will need to heat oil and butter in a small pot. Unwrap filo and smooth crease out. Plan to use half of the filo dough sheets for the bottom layers and the other half for the top. (Keep covered while using because filo dough dries out quickly). Oil pan generously, bottom and sides, using pastry brush.

Lay first sheet of filo  in square or 13X9 rectangular , letting the excess lap over the edges. Sprinkle with warm oil. I use a pastry brush for this. My Dad used a spray bottle. Hey, whatever works, right?

Lay a second layer and sprinkle with a little more oil. Continue until half of the filo is used. Spread all the spinach mixture evenly over the filo, including the corners. Cover with remaining filo, oiling between the sheets. Don’t throw any filo away; include it in. There’s really nothing you can do wrong here. It is all edible and it all blends in.

Roll and tuck all the filo around the inside edges of the pan. Do not trim with scissors or knife as one would do for a pie crust. Brush top and edges with remaining oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Serve hot, cut into square pieces like a cake. Reheat when necessary; never serve cold.
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“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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