Friday, October 21, 2011

Greek Spinach Pie and Dinner Party Fun

/hihi How are you? I'm sore from my workouts this week!! But on my way to Michelle Obama arms as I've been doing my weights AND cardio!

Ty was on shift at the fire station all weekend, so we decided to have friends over on Monday night for dinner!  I knew I would be at work all day then in photography class until 7.30pm on Monday night and our guests were coming over at 8:00pm, so I planned ahead and spent most of Sunday grocery shopping and cooking. I made an Indian subji (with accompanying Texmati mushroom rice ready to be boiled by Ty on Monday night),

Texmati rice mixed with mushrooms and carrots, so good!


  pumpkin pie for dessert,

and an authentic greek spinach pie (Spanakopita).

The Greek pie was the highlight of the evening, and was devoured! I made a 9 by 12 pie dish full of it for four people and thought I would have leftovers for sure..but no! The boys pigged out on several pieces each :) It was a beautiful fall evening and the temperature was just perfect so I set up a table outside

Here is the recipe:

Authentic Spinach Pie (egg free)

1 package of phyllo pastry with two rolls in it- set this out to defrost at least two hours beforehand
2 boxes of frozen spinach

Step 1- thaw the spinach, boil it a bit in hot water so it is completely defrosted, then put it in a colander and press it/drain the water out of it. Let it sit for about three hours in a colander or sieve over a pot (so the water has somewhere to drip) and squeeze more water out of. At the end you should have a cool, pretty dry ball of spinach. Its necessary to do this or your pie will be soggy!

1 package of feta cheese (about a cup) You can put more in, if you want to go wild put in two or three :D
1 cup of ricotta cheese (I flavored it a bit with onion powder and salt and pepper)

Mix these into the spinach when its dry. The original recipe I found (which I cant find the link for again btw, sorry!!) didn't have ANY cheese in it, so you could make this vegan if you want to!

1 leek
A bunch of chives/green onions
Half a red onion
Half a sweet onion

The mix of various onions is part of the authenticity of this dish. I only used half the leek (not the green part). Cook them until soft in 3-4tbsp of olive oil. As you soften the onions, add in:

1 cup of chopped parsley
6tbsp of fresh dill

Mix the spinach/cheese mix into the onions at the end of their cooking. Sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg, and fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.  Let this mix cool a little. This is your pie stuffing.

Get a 9 by 12 baking dish and brush the bottom of it with olive oil. You will need a pastry brush/baster for this part. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter

Open one of the phyllo dough packages. Take a sheet of the pastry and lay in the baking dish on top of the olive oil. Brush this with butter with your pastry brush (or baster). Keep the rest of your open pastry covered with a cloth so it doesn't dry out as you work. Layer in the next piece of pastry, brush it with butter. Continue until you have put down at least 11 sheets of pastry. I used more, it depends on how much of a pastry lover you are!

Don't put any butter on the last piece. Then spread your spinach mix evenly across the pastry and cover with another pastry sheet when done. Brush that with butter. Continue until you have at least 11 sheets of layered buttery pastry. Brush your final sheet with olive oil.

Bang it in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until golden. This is not meant to be served piping hot, more like room temperature, so do it a little ahead of time.

This pie also FREEZES well!! I put it in the freezer at the point just before baking- and Ty took it out and popped it in on Monday evening and gave it about 15 minutes extra baking time and it came out beautifully! :D

I also had some yummy soy 'chicken' salads and post workout smoothies :)

Gardein chicken salad and rice

blueberry/almond milk smoothie- use the frozen ones off season to get your antioxidants!

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