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/

Day 7: Stay at Home: Filo Twisted Spinach Pie from Scratch

I made this Greek spinach pie in about 30 minutes working time, thanks my kneading machine. I did not measure the exactly amount of the ingredients for the filo. While the kneading machine was working/kneading, I had the time to prepare the filling. At the end, it was a very simplified version of my post  Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough.  I could have used more ingredients, but at these times, I preferred to skip some and for example save the feta and eggs for other recipes. No shopping excursions now! I will simply list the ingrediens and the procedure. We miss Crete so much!

Filo Twisted Spinach Pie from Scratch

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

Filo

  • 1 1/2 cups four
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespona ouzo
  • about 1/3 cups water water

Filling

  • olive oil
  • 300 g spinach, whashed
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • mint, chopped
  • dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Topping

  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablesppons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • salt to taste
  • sesame and nigella seeds

Procedure

  1. For the filo combine flour, oil, salt and ouzo in the kneading bowl. While kneading add water until you see the dough forms, turns smooth and elastic. Let kneed while you prepare the filling.
  2. Fry the onion in about 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add the other ingredients and let cook until spinach turn soft and the liquid is adsorbed.
  3. Roll out half of the dough to a rectangle of about 20 to 40 cm. Stretch with the back of our hand until about 30 to 60 long.  Brush with oil. Spoon the filling (on the shorter side of the rectangle) but do not go all the way to the edges so that the pastry sheet margins could be folded in slightly. Roll or pack lengthwise. Place the roll in spiral in your round baking tray ( 28 cm diameter). Repeat with the second portion.
  4. Combine the water, oil, salt and flour for the topping. Brush the spiral with this and top with seeds.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes at 190°C until golden and crispy.
  6. Enjoy warm, lukewarm or cold.
Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Tortilla con Espinacas – Tortilla with Spinach

Tortilla con Espinacas – Tortilla with Spinach 3

Tortilla con Espinacas – Tortilla with Spinach

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

Tortilla con Espinacas – Tortilla with Spinach 2

You need:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled finely sliced
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 500 g spinach, washed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 5 eggs

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F
  2. Coat your spingfrom (baking mold with removable border) with one tablespoon olive oil. In a bowl toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Coat the walls of the springfrom with the potatoes overlapping them lightly. Coat the bottom of the mold with remaining slices (no problem if the bottom in not completely covered. Tip: if you have problem to place the potatoes at the border you fix them with some additional slices from at the bottom. You may use more potatoes if you wish or need. You can also use some aluminum foil to keep them standing. Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F until borders begins to turns lightly brown, this takes about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in skillet and fry onion until translucent. Add spinach and cooking stirring frequently until the juices of the spinach are adsorbed/evaporated. Remove from heat place in a bowl and season with nutmeg, pepper and salt. Beat eggs lightly with a fork and add them to the spinach mixture.
  4. Add one third of the mixture (try to take more spinach and less egg) and place them on the bottom of the mold reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F and bake for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the filling and bake until through for about 15 minutes.

Let cool down partially before removing the border of the springform and transfer the tortilla to a platter for serving.

Tortilla con Espinacas – Tortilla with Spinach 2

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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Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

This is another easy homes tile recipe from Shanghai, quick and easy and perfect for more fresh veggies dishes on your Chinese dinner.

Water spinach is also known as water morning glory. This has numerous ways of preparation, but a simple and quick stir-fry, either plain or with minced garlic, is probably the most common.

You can prepare this dish using fresh greens you have on hand (I used fresh young chard from the garden) and it will be delicious as well!

You need:

  • 500 g fresh water spinach ((or chard or common spinach)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil, optional
  • 1 pinch monosodium glutamate

Preparation:

  1. Trim and wash well the spinach. I wash it always twice.
  2. Heat 2/3 of the oil in a wide skillet, add spinach and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and monosodium glutamate.
  4. Stir and add remaining vegetable oil.
  5. Stir shortly again and serve

Fish with carrot-orange-mustard dressing and carrot-ginger purée

 

Fish with carrot orange mustard dressing and carrot ginger puree

It taste as it looks like! This was the spontaneous comment as my family tried this dish.

When sauce and purée are ready (you can prepare sauce in pure in advance) you can start with the spinach and the fish will be ready in a few minutes.

To this dish I added a small quantity of potatoes purée and with an ice-cream scooper I formed a ball to place in the center of the carrot purée.

In this way you will have a complete beautiful meal to celebrate. Enjoy!

You need:

Sauce:

o    1 cup carrot juice

o    1/2 cup orange juice

o    1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

o    1/2 tablespoon mustard, smooth kind

o    1/2 lemon, juice only

o    2 tablespoons water

o    1 teaspoon cornstarch

o    1 teaspoon honey, to taste

o    1-2 tablespoons butter

To prepare the sauce:

  1. Pour the carrot and orange juice in a small pot.
  2. Bring to a light boil, then simmer and cook until the juice is reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the heat and add Dijon and standard mustard.
  4. Dissolve cornstarch in lemon juice and water, add this mixture to the pot and bring to simmer slowly while stirring constantly.
  5. Add the cold butter and honey mixing with a whip and add the lemon juice. Keep warm on the side.

Carrot purée:

o    2 tablespoons butter

o    1 tablespoon ginger, peeled finely chopped

o    1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

o    500-700 g carrots, peeled and sliced

o    1/2 cup cream (alternative milk)

o    Salt to taste

o    Sugar to taste

To prepare the carrot purée:

  1. Heat butter at low temperature in pot with lid and add ginger and garlic.
  2. After two minutes when it begins to smell add carrots, cream, salt and sugar.
  3. Cover tightly and let simmer in it juice until very tender. Don’t burn and check from time to time if you have to add 2-3 spoons of water.
  4. When it is soft use a blender or a food processor until smooth. Adjust salt.

Spinach:

o    2 tablespoon olive oil

o    3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

o    1 onion, chopped

o    500 g spinach, washed

o    salt, to taste

o    pepper, to taste

o    nutmeg, to taste

To prepare the spinach

  1. Heat oil in a wide non sticky skillet
  2. Add garlic and onion. Fry until onion fry until translucent.
  3. Add spinach, salt pepper and nutmeg to the skillet and carefully combine with onion garlic mixture.
  4. Cover and let simmer at low temperature until fish is ready. If necessary turn out the heat.

Fish:

o    4 tablespoons flour

o    Salt and pepper to taste

o    4 fish filet, to taste but should have firm consistency

o    4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

o    1 garlic clove, crushed or halved

o    4 fresh herbs springs, as savory or time

 

To prepare the fish:

  1. In a dish combine flour, salt and pepper.
  2. Pat dry the fish and coat it with the flour mixture. Remove excess flour.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and herbs. Fry herbs shortly and set aside, don’t burn them.
  4. Place the fish gently in the skillet and cook lightly for about 2-3 minutes on one side until golden, then on the other, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Do not overcook the fish and don’t burn the herbs. If you are using salmon be careful as it should actually stay rosé, that means reduce the cooking time to 1-2 minutes per side depending on the heat.

 

Finishing:

  1. To assemble your dish, take warm plates, spoon carrot purée and adjust spinach on one side of the dish. Now transfer the fish to the dish using a spatula and pour some orange sauce around.
  2. Serve as it is or add some potatoes purée to the combination.

Spicy Spinach Roulade

Spicy Spinach Roulade 6

A wonderful, pretty and spicy bread that could be served as appetizer or as main with salad.

I had fresh peperoncini on hand, but if you don’t you can use red bell pepper instead and you can add chili or cayenne pepper instead.

We used beef salami (from the Turkish specialty shop), but any kind of salami that can be heated (eventually bacon) could work as well. This depend on your taste.

You need:

Dough:

  • 400 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 200 g frozen spinach
  • 50 ml water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300 g onions, peeled sliced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, sliced or 1/2 cup peperoncini sliced (or to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 100 g salami, sliced in strips (quality as for pizza)
  • 1 mozzarella

Additional:

  • Olive oil to brush

Procedure:

  1. Defrost spinach: overnight or 2 minutes in the microwave at max power.
  2. Mix together flour, salt and yeast.
  3. Chop spinach, reserve the juice.
  4. Add spinach with juice, water and olive oil to the flour mix.
  5. Work the dough (I used the kneading machine) until smooth.
  6. Place the dough in a bowl and coat with a thin film of olive oil.
  7. In a frying pan heat olive oil, add onion and red pepper or peperoncini and fry until soft.
  8. Add tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir and check seasoning. Set aside.
  9. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to the size of 50 to 75 cm.
  10. Distribute onion filling. Let 5 cm of the long border free for sealing.
  11. Distribute salami slices on the filling.
  12. Add Mozzarella (best only in the central part).
  13. Roll the dough from the long side beginning from the side with mozzarella. Place sealing side down.
  14. Shape a ring, brush with olive oil and let rise for about one hour. After this time it should begin to rise and should be soft.
  15. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  16. Make vertical cuts (about 1 cm deep) on the outside part of the ring.
  17. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until light brown.
  18. Enjoy warm or cold.

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