Xortopita – Greek Greens Pie

Wild greens constitute one of the greatest capital of Cretan cuisine. No one knows exactly how many different species of plants are used for human consumption and helped these people to survive during wars and occupation times.  I read that more than 120 herbs from the coastal zones to the higher mountain regions have been identified and counted.

Picking wild greens is a very enjoyable activity and the prepared meals are super healthy food!

For this recipe I used self-seeded Swiss chard form last year who is sprouting here and there in my vegetable garden. A great gift form the nature.

For the “Cretan” flavourful taste, I added mint and dill and some feta.

Usually these greens pies are prepared in the oven and the dough used for this is the filo.

One of the specialties of Sfakia are the “Sfakianopites”:  round flat pies filled with local mizithra cheese, pan-fried (without oil or butter) and then, served with a generous drizzle of Cretan honey.

For this pies I used the technique of the sfakianopites and worked very well.

For the dough I used my sourdough recipe which, thanks to the long ferment time, turns very elastic for rolling it out. https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/basic-bread-recipe/

For the yogurt sauce see: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/mint-and-dill-yogurt-sauce/

Xortopita - Greek Greens Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

Dough

  • ½ cup sourdough starter (or ¼ cup water + ¼cup flour + 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Filling

  • 300 greens (I used the green part of Swiss chards)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped, tender green part as well
  • 3 tablespoons cup finely chopped fresh spearmint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 200 g crumbled feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prodecure:

  1. Combine the sourdough starter with the water and the first cup of flour for the first rising into a big bowl, cover and let sit until spongy. The time depends of the kind of yeast (if using sourdough starter often I combine them the evening before or early in the morning) and the temperature.
  2. Add the the other two cups of flour and the salt for the second rising knead shortly and let lit for about 20 minutes. Now knead again until smooth. I perform this step directly in the bowl using a dough spatula and folding over the bread until done. Let rise a few hour until doubled. During this time prepare the filling.
  3. Wash the greens and drain very well. Then slice them.
  4. Heat the oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add the greens and cook stirring from time to time until the liquid is almost adsorbed.
  5. Add the herbs and combine well.
  6. Add the feta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on in a bowl to cool down.
  7. When the dough is soft, divide it into 6 pieces. Make 6 portions of filling. Note: you may make also more pieces/portions and make smaller pitas.
  8. Roll out the dough to the size of about 15 cm on a well-floured surface. Place the filling on it and carefully close the filling into the dough trying to exclude as much air as possible.
  9. Dust well with flour and slowly roll this out to the desired size. I made round of about 25 cm. Do not staple them, but place them on a well-floured surface until cooking time.  Best if you would in team and somebody helps you the roast the pitas while you roll them out.
  10. Heat a skillet and roast dry on both sides until browned. Note: We decided to cook them on the open fire.
  11. Serve if warm with yogurt sauce.
  12. Leftovers may be kept in the fried for a few day or be frozen.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Day 11: Stay at Home or In the Garden: Spinach and Feta Muffins

As most muffin recipes, they are easy and quick to be prepared; for this reason they can be served for a week dinner as well, we served these instead of bread together with meat balls.

You can adapt the recipe and for example add grated carrots instead of fried spinach.

If you are using an acid ingredient, as in this case the feta, baking soda will be enough, if not, please use a mixture of baking soda and baking powder.

These muffins can be prepared in advance and reheat for about 3 minutes before serving.

Spinach and Feta Muffins

  • Servings: 12 pieces (6 cm wide)
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 mall onion, chopped
  • 200 g spinach, washed and chopped or only young leaves
  • 200 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g feta, crumbled
  • 50 g walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds for topping, to taste and optional

Preparation

  1. Heat oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add spinach and sauté until just soft ad water adsorbed. Remove from the heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  3. In a bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.
  4. Add milk and egg. Stir until just combined.
  5. Fold in feta, walnuts and sautéed spinach.
  6. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste.
  7. Scoop the mixture in muffin molds (I used 6 cm wide silicon molds).
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seed or more walnuts.
  9. Bake at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and done.
  10. Best serve them lukewarm.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Pide with Eggplant and Feta Filling

Pide-with-Eggplant-and-Feta-Filling

It was time again to refresh my sourdough starter and at the same time I wished a warm dinner.

A few weeks ago I prepared pizza and now I thought that pide would be the perfect dinner for today.

Pides is a flat bread dish filled and made into a boat shaped before baking. It originated in Turkey and now very popular around the world. The pide can be filled with choice of meat or vegetables, however filling of minced meat is very common, the other choices could be bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, chili etc.

Cheese fillings are often combined with spinach. In my case I had a big eggplant in the fridge as well as some red peppers. This was my inspiration.

I collected what I had at home and made a beautiful basket of veggies. I was blessed that the cold weather and the snow did not destroy my mint growing in the garden, surprisingly as it would be spring the mint was green with a lot of green leaves. This is the first year that I keep mint directly in the garden as it can spread everywhere in a short time.

I will give you the recipe of the dough I made with my sourdough starter and how to prepare it with yeast. The other possibility is buying pizza dough!

Pide with Eggplant and Feta Filling

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com Pide-with-Eggplant-and-Feta-Filling

You need:

Dough:

  • 100 g sourdough starter (or 45 g flour + 5 g instant yeast + 50 ml water)
  • 120 ml water
  • 250 g flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Additional flour for the working surface

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 big eggplant, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin ground, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 100 g cream cheese (optional)
  • 200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

Procedure:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the dough and knead on a floured working surface for about 10 minutes. Add more flour if necessary.
  2. Let rise until doubled for more or less two hours. The time depends form the temperature and from the sourdough starter or yeast kind.
  3. In the meantime heat 2 tablespoon of oil and fry the chopped onion for 5 minutes until golden. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons and fry eggplant and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat, add fried onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes until eggplants are soft. Check spices and salt and adjust.
  6. Take the dough and form 6 balls. Coat with oil and let rest for about 30 minutes.
  7. Roll out and fill the pide to ovals (more or less 30 cm by 15 cm) one by one. Best roll out on a floured working surface and place on the baking try. Fill directly on the tray I placed 2 pide on each tray.
  8. For filling: Place 1/6 of the vegetable filling down the center of the dough leaving 3 cm free. Top each pide with 2-3 cream cheese filling, add mint and finish with feta.
  9. Now fold the long side of the dough border over the filling. Use your fingers to pinch the dough together at the end.
  10. For soft pides cover trays loosely with a clean tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes to prove. If you prefer crispy ones skip the bake immediately.
  11. Preheat the oven to 250°C for crispy pides and 180°C for soft ones.
  12. Bake for about 15 minutes at 250°C or 20-25 minutes at 180°C until the crumbled feta begins to get brown borders and the bottom of the pide is well done.

 

Kolokythokeftedes – Greek Zucchini and Feta Balls

kolokythokeftes

The surprising warm sunny evening of the first spring days was perfect for this kind of meal: zucchini balls with their herbed smell, yogurt sauce, fresh tomatoes and homemade bread (thawed in the oven just before serving) and some Greek wine make us feel at least a little bit like in vacations on Crete. Perhaps a frugal but wonderful tasty dinner!

Note: I know that these zucchini balls are usually fried and served as fritters, but as I don’t like the oily smells in the kitchen, I prefer to bake them in the oven; this works pretty well and it is easier to have them ready at once when you need them.

Kolokythokeftedes – Greek Zucchini and Feta Balls

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

kolokythokeftes

You need:

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for the preparation of the zucchini
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 20 mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, adjust quantity if necessary
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 splash ouzo. optional
  • 1/4 cup of feta, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for shaping

Procedure:

  1. Roughly grate the zucchini in a bowl and toss them with the salt.
  2. Place the grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl and let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Rinse zucchini under current water and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  3. Place zucchini in medium bowl. Add green onions, dill, mint, garlic, lemon peel, and 1 pepper. Gently stir in breadcrumbs, flour, egg, ouzo and then feta. If the mixture is too wet add more breadcrumbs. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Oil your hands and using 1 tablespoon zucchini mixture for each, shape balls and place them on baking sheet. You can prepare these ahead, place them in the fridge to chill until you need to cook them.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 420°F. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden.
  6. Serve warm, lukewarm or cold.

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough

Many times I was tempted to prepare Filo (or phyllo from Greek: φύλλο ‘leaf’) at home. Homemade fresh food is better than preserved one, freshly made filo dough is always much better than the stuff of the shop.

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough 15

Today I took the decision and I did it! WOW, the challenge was less difficult than I supposed, it was more a question of technique than exercise!

It’s possible to roll it out with a pasta machine stretching the dough manually to make it thinner, but using the rolling pin it’s easy as well and you can roll it to the desired round shape for your mold.

Filo dough can be used to prepare different kinds of dishes as the famous baklava but also for this savory recipe including spinach, cheese and lots of herbs!

Follow these instructions and you will get incredible results!

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough 15

You need

Filo dough (for 16 sheets for a mold of 35-40 cm)

  • 100 g Greek yogurt
  • 80 g oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 g flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • Cornstarch (for rolling out)

Spinach filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 big onion, peeled and sliced (or 1 sliced onion + 1 leek cleaned sliced9
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 kg spinach, cleaned, (very) roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 20 mint leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Assembling

  • 6-8 tablespoons olive oil for the mold and the dough
  • 200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sesame seeds and black cumin seeds (optional)

Procedure:

Preparing filo sheet

  1. Combine in a mixing bowl or in a food processor yogurt, oil, eggs, flour and baking powder.
  2. Knead for 5 minutes using the food processor (eventually a mixer), or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Add more flour or yogurt (or water) until you get a smooth dough with the consistence as “earlobes” J.
  3. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, but more a few hours would improve the elasticity. In the meanwhile prepare the filling (from step 8 to 11)
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into logs. Divide each log into 4 pieces, forming 16 pieces in total. I made one of the balls little bigger as I wanted to use it for the bottom of the mold.
  5. Roll each piece to circles of the size of dessert dish with your rolling pin dusted with lot of cornstarch.
  6. Stack 4 circles with about 1/2 teaspoon corn starch in between each layer. Do the same with the other ones (4 by 4).
  7. Roll out carefully the first set of 4 circles and applying even pressure on the dough. Flip and stretch any short pieces with your hand. Roll out to the size of the mold (about 35-40 cm) circle are ready to be used, you can simply lift one layer from the other and use it for your favorite filo pastry! Now they should be so thin, that you could read a newspaper through them.

Preparing the filling

  1. While the dough is resting heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-sticky pan and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add spinach and sauté until soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Remove switch off the heat, let cool down slightly and add herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally add the eggs and combine well.

Assembling

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Oil your mold (about 35-40 cm wide) with olive oil.
  3. Layer the first bigger (about 50-55 cm wide) filo sheet into the mold covering the mold wells as well. Brush with olive oil. Layer other 5 sheets brushing with olive oil in-between.
  4. Layer one third of spinach filling on them and add one third of the crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Layer 3 more filo sheets (brush only lightly with oil in-between).
  6. Add the second third of filling and the second third of cheese.
  7. Layer 3 more filo sheets (brush only lightly with oil in-between).
  8. Add the remaining filling and feta.
  9. Top with the remaining filo sheets (brush each sheets with oil!).
  10. Fold the bottom sheet over the top to seal.
  11. Using a sharp knife, score the upper sheets into portions.
  12. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  13. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes at 200°C/400°F until golden brown.
  14. Serve lukewarm or just warm as flavours melt and develop better.

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Mini Feta Rolls

mini feta rolls

Inspired by a typical Swiss specialty called „Schninkengipfeli“(Mini Ham Croissants) I created these rolls with Mediterranean ingredients and converted to vegetarian.

Of course you can use puff pastry instead of self-made dough and in this case you can skip the rising time necessary for yeast breads.

We like these for with salads or as finger-food appetizers for guests or parties.

You need:

Dough:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (don’t exceed with salt, the filling salted enough)
  • 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm milk (not hot)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (reserve the half for the glaze)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Filling:

  • 7 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Glaze:

  • 1/2 reserved beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Seeds for decoration (optional)

Procedure:

  1. For the dough: In a big bowl combine all dry ingredients, in a smaller bowl all wet ingredients (don’t forget to reserve the half egg)
  2. Poor wet ingredients over dry ones and work with the hock or by hand until smooth and elastic. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the filling crushing the feta with the fork.
  4. Spread the dough on a floured surface to a square of 50 to 50 cm (about 20 to 20 inches).
  5. In you want small roll dived into 16 (4 x 4) or for medium ones into 9 (3 x 3) pieces. At this point divide each square into two triangles. You will get 32 or 18 triangles.
  6. Distribute the some on the filling equally on the triangles neat the long side of them.
  7. Fold the long edges diagonally over the filling. Stretch the shorter side and stick it to close the bag.
  8. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze and brush over the rolls. You can decorate them with seeds. I used sunflowers.
  9. Let rise in a humid and warm place (best in the cold oven over a pot of hot water) until fluffy for about 1 hour.
  10. Take out of the oven and preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

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Winter Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranates are used in Recipes as juice, molasses and fresh. I will propose you this winter salad with a combination of fresh pomegranates seeds and walnuts. In the dressing I used some pomegranate molasses, but you can use simply more lemon juice or light balsamic vinegar, but you can use your favorite Italian dressing as well. If you don’t know how to open this fruit look at these instructions.

What you need:

fresh green salad, for 4 people

1 cup feta cheese, cubed (about 7 ounces, 200 g)

1 pomegranates, seeds only

1/4 cup walnuts, broken

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Procedure:

  1. Wash salad and arrange on 4 single dishes.
  2. Top with feta, pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
  3. In a small bowl mix remaining ingredients for the dressing.
  4. Spoon dressing over arranged salads.

Releated links: Pomegrante a wonder fruit?The Pomegranates Garden Stone House

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