Grey Skies with Sunny Memories or The Humble Greens of Spanakopita

It is raining in SoCal.  It’s been a gray couple of days, but the heavens opened up this morning and have been letting it all come down for hours now.  Currently everyone in the house is doing what we do best when it’s cold, we become sofa family.  It involves a HUGE dog, a little lady and a very tall man all piling onto a small small sofa.  Warm socks, heater, multiple bodies and a cup of tea aside remembering warm places I’ve been has always been a pleasure when I’m chilly.  Greece always comes to mind.  The stunning country is all Colors and History.  Myth and Valor.  Lamb and Machismo.  Religion and Debauchery.  Who wants to think about the clouds outside?

Once upon a time I worked for the United States Government abroad as part of the US Department of State at the Embassy in Athens, Greece.  I spent several months working in Public Diplomacy, which involved  building bridges with the Greek government and people through cultural exchange.  I also spent those months on a rooftop in a bikini, drinking greek wine, smoking cigarettes and painting for commissions.  The soundtrack featured tunes of Daft Punk and Jazz standards.  These were my most wild artist days.


Everyone loves and knows a Gyro, but not much else about Greek cuisine.  I love greek cuisine, everything is warm and hearty.  Feta, olive and honey.  On this particular day I can’t get my mind off my go to.  Spanakopita.  Spinach and feta layered in phyllo.  This is the only recipe I have made that gets it right.  Feel free to use only spinach if you can’t find chard in your market, but if you can go for it.  It adds wonderful texture, because it is sturdier than spinach. Spanakopita

inspired by a food magazine for the life of me i can’t locate from my warm spot on the couch

What you need:

1 tsp olive oil plus a little more for the pan and phyllo

1/2 yellow onion

diced 2 garlic cloves

minced 1 head rainbow chard, stems removed and roughly chopped

3 cups baby spinach leaves

2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

4 sheets whole-wheat phyllo dough, covered with a damp cloth until ready to use

1 large egg white 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

What you need to do:

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and onion begins to soften.  In batches, add chard and spinach, waiting 2-3 minutes between batches and tossing frequently, about 10 minutes total.  Add mint and oregano and toss to combine; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Drain; transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Preheat oven to 375. Using a brush, paint olive oil lightly along your pan (or use an olive oil cooking spray).  On a clean working surface cut phyllo dough into strips.  Place 4 strips along the bottom allowing 3-4 inches of overhang on both sides of the pan.  Paint with olive oil lightly (or spray).  Place 4 more strips at a 90 degree angle allowing for overhang on the other sides of the pan, paint with olive oil (or spray).  Continue placing strips at 90 degree angles, allowing overhang until strips are used up. Ina  bowl, add egg white to cooled spinach mixture.  Fold in Feta with a rubber spatula.  Spoon mixture into center of phyllo-covered dish and spread in an even layer.  Fold excess phyllo form edges into center and over spinach mixture to cover completely,  Paint lightly with olive oil (or spray).  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is lightly brown and crispy.  Let rest out of oven for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with a spicy sausage and some grapes.

Enjoy.

Happy Warm Belly Wishes.

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