Friday, March 23, 2018

Recipe from my Greek Grandmother

After reading the Callie Costas mysteries by Jenny Kales and Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy with Greek cooking influences, my sister and I decided to make one of our favorites - spanakopita. Trying to get our mother to give us a written recipe was always problematic. Our mother learned to cook from our Greek grandmother and there was no real measuring involved. Using your hand or "hoofta" was how my grandmother measured flour. So what if her hoofta was smaller than mine. No problem, right

Over the years we have learned to adapt and use real measures. We use store bought phyllo dough although my mother made her own. I have not mastered that technique yet and doubt I will. One tip though make sure you purchase the phyllo dough ahead of time and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. We forgot to do that so our lunch plans were postponed because the dough was frozen.

We used fresh spinach and split the 2 lbs. into two bowls. Wash the spinach and dry it thoroughly. You don't want any liquid from the spinach in the mix otherwise your phyllo dough will get soggy. We chopped one medium onion and a bunch of scallions (green onions) and mixed those in. Some recipes call for a garlic clove, but my mother never used garlic, so we did not add it. Add 1 cup of cottage cheese (well drained) and about 1 cup of feta cheese chopped into small pieces into another bowl (I always add more feta to mine). Add two well beaten eggs and 3 tablespoons of flour to the cheese mix and blend well. Add the cheeses to the spinach. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the mix. Divide the mix in half and use two pans to cook it.

Butter and oil your pan then layer three or four sheets of phyllo into the pan. Brush the top layer with olive oil and then pour in the mix. Fold over the edges and add additional sheets of phyllo to completely seal the mix into the pan. Brush olive oil and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy. 

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