A special thanks to Shallan who owns the cookbook that this recipe came from, Back to Basics, and thanks to Ina Garten who never disappoints me.
Greek food is something I could eat everyday and not get sick of. If I wanted something light, I could have a refreshing Greek salad loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley and feta. In the mood for something warm and comforting…lamb gyro slathered with tzatziki or a nice plate full of pastitsio. And then there is baklava…oh, baklava…
These dinner sized spanakopita are not too light or too heavy, but are not exactly easy to prepare. I found myself quite frustrated with phyllo dough by the last few pies. My tip to you is this. Make sure you buy your phyllo a day before you plan to make these and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. I let mine stand at room temp to defrost and a section of it got too wet from defrosting and was incredibly sticky. I spent a lot of time and energy wrestling with it.
The spinach and feta filling dotted with yummy toasted pine nuts is simple and delicious. Taste the spinach and onion mixture before adding the eggs and make sure it is well salted. I found the filling to be a little lacking in salt.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green.
Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs.
Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don’t stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs.
Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.
Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down.
Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.
In preparing for our move to Houston I am trying to get rid of things. I have a stack of old Everyday Food magazines that I’ve kept on a bookshelf for years, but haven’t used them for recipes in quite some time. I decided to go through them, rip out recipes I could see myself making (or have made before), and then throw the rest away. This recipe for mini cornbread puddings came from one of the many pages torn from one of those magazines.
They were a cinch to prepare, a little tough to remove from from the pan (despite being greased) and a pleasure to eat, warm and at room temperature the next day. They could maybe use a kick from some cayenne pepper, chopped jalapenos or green chiles. These little treats are much more moist than your regular corn muffin, and I am sure could be done in a regular sized 12-cup muffin tin with some changes in cooking time and temperature.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in upper third. Butter 24 mini muffin cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, whisk together egg, sour cream, and corn. Mix with flour mixture just until incorporated (do not overmix).
Dividing evenly, spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Bake until tops have browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes in pan; turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve, or cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
These really are my mom’s lemon bars. I’m not sure exactly where the recipe came from, but I think I remember her saying she cut it out of a magazine years ago, like before I was born years ago.
Lemon bars are one of my favorite bar cookies. The zesty lemon, the buttery crust, the gooey center with the crunchy top covered in powdered sugar. I love them, and I’m wishing right now I hadn’t sent so many of them up to Ben’s office!
I didn’t grease my pan because I figured there is so much butter in there, they won’t stick. The crust didn’t, but some of the filling clung a bit to the sides of the pan. You could spray the pan with cooking spray or grease it, but it wasn’t a disaster without doing so. Do it if you’re worried about them sticking.
Mom’s Lemon Bars
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
zest of 1 lemon
5-6 teaspoons lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon
Sift together flour, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until fine crumbs form and there are no huge chunks of butter. Pat the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the crust is done baking, in the same bowl whisk all the filling ingredients together until combined and foamy.
Pour filling mixture over warm crust, then continue to bake for 20-25 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar while bars are warm from the oven, then let cool completely before cutting.
This vegetarian dish can stand alone as the main meal, or it can be served as a side dish. I served this alongside some grilled chicken. When I asked Ben if he’d be OK eating a vegetarian dinner or if he wanted chicken, well, you know what he said. If I were to serve this as a side again I might leave out the chickpeas. It seemed too substantial as a side with them. It can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold (which is how I’ve enjoyed it for dinner and lunch the last couple days).
Yes, I made yet another meal with couscous. I like couscous. My grocery store had whole wheat this time, so I grabbed 2 boxes just in case they decide to stop carrying it again. This is an incredibly simple meal to prepare. The only bad part is having the oven not only on, but on at 450°F to roast the vegetables. It’s in the triple digits outside, so it does seem a little crazy to make it even hotter inside. I do love the flavor that roasting vegetables produces, so it’s worth it. The combination of rich roasted vegetables with the cumin and the bright flavor of the lemon is wonderful.
This recipe came from my dear friend Martha Stewart. I played with it a little bit, but will not say that I “adapted” it at all. I used baby carrots, omitted the arugula completely, and then the dressing I just mixed up without measuring. I used about a tablespoon of olive oil, the zest and juice of one large lemon, and salt and pepper. I’ve said this before, I do not like things to be overdressed or sauced. You can always add more, but you can’t take any away. It’s like cutting bangs, sort of. Some of you know what I mean. Anyway, start by adding a little dressing, taste, and then add more to your liking. The recipe below reflects my changes. The original can be found here. Enjoy!
Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Couscous Salad
Courtesy of marthastewart.com
1 pound carrots, sliced 3/4 inch thick on the diagonal (or halved baby carrots)
1 head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into florets
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place carrots and cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with cumin and 1-2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheet and tossing halfway through. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups salted water to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and remove from heat. Let stand until tender, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; set aside to cool, uncovered.
Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine roasted vegetables with couscous, chickpeas, and scallions. Toss with dressing.