Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Sometimes you just feel like taking your time in the kitchen. As an infrequent baker, I rarely work with complex doughs or multistep preparations. A few Sundays back the Husband was away and I literally had NO plans. No laundry, no work, the blog was even broken. So naturally I busted out some phyllo dough and NPR (do Republicans ever say that?). The dog took up interest and even hung out under the table.

I'm a spinach freak, so have always loved a good 'ole Greek spanokopita. I decided to put a little twist on tradition by adding artichokes. Frozen artichokes are great for spontaneous times like this.

It all starts with familiar friends. Unassuming freezer ingredients prepare to take centerstage.

You must squeeze the spinach of liquid. Repeat... MUST... even if your hand looks like a weird deformed claw.

Eggs bind everything together.

Since phyllo dough can dry out quickly and be a general high-maintenance bitch, get everything ready to go. And yeah... I just called dough a bitch. A damp paper towel protects the wimpy phyllo from the harsh conditions of my kitchen.

Butter calms the whole situation and generally makes life easier to deal with.

The flag folding skills you learned at sleep-away camp will come in handy.

Bake until golden.

And dig in for god's sake...that was a lot of work!

Makes about 20 pastries

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
20oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove extra liquid
8-10 frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
4 eggs, beaten
Bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups crumbled feta
3 tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 package frozen phyllo dough, thawed (mine came with two rolls of 24 sheets)
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil and add chopped yellow onion. When onion becomes translucent, add artichokes and scallions and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

In a BIG bowl, combine spinach, eggs, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, parmesan, allspice, salt and pepper. It is imperative that the spinach be firmly squeezed to remove the liquid BEFORE you combine with other ingredients. Add artichoke and onion mixture and gently fold in feta and almonds.

Gather all of the ingredients to assemble the pastries, since you will need to move quickly. Phyllo can dry out easily, so place sheets on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp paper towel.

Lay first sheet of phyllo dough and brush with butter and lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs (just enough to keep the dough from sticking). Continue to layer, applying the butter and crumbs each time, until you have four sheets of dough placed. Slice lengthwise. Place one heaping tablespoon at the end of the dough and starting with the corner fold into a triangle, continue folding like you would a flag. Place completed pastry seam side down and brush lightly with butter. Sprinkle a bit of salt.

Once all pastries are complete, bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

For leftovers, freeze unbaked and sealed in a zip top bag. Thaw before following baking instructions above.

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