Archives for posts with tag: Spinach

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A couple of weeks ago I came across this article for hortopita, and being the cooking masochist/enthusiast that I am, decided that would be just the task to tackle this weekend. Or, more like, the idea of making a savory pie filled with greens and herbs in a semolina-olive oil crust sounded like perfection to me. I was not, I repeat not, intimidated by making my own phyllo dough. Without a stand mixer.

There’s a fun video you can watch of Diane Kochilas, the mostly Greece-based food writer and cooking instructor, showing Mark Bittman how one makes hortopita and rolls out the phyllo. Turns out it’s the same technique as for this Turkish walnut pastry I made back in the fall, whereby you use a dowel rather than a rolling pin, gently applying pressure along the dowel as you flatten the dough. (Don’t be intimidated though because a rolling pin works fine as well.)

After my coop shift on Friday—which consisted of 2 1/2 hours of packaging black mission figs, raw whole cashews, and organic dried mango—I stalked the produce aisle looking for the brightest greenest greens (sweet, not bitter, according to Kochilas) and wondering how it would all fit in my bicycle pannier without overflowing downhill onto Vanderbilt Avenue.

Below is the recipe of what I ended up making, adapted from the original. I think it came out rather well for my first try. (I politely devoured my first piece standing up in the kitchen.) You need neither the stand mixer the original recipe calls for (but by all means use it if you have one) nor the exact list of greens and herbs. For instance I had neither pumpkin nor butternut squash so I used shredded carrots. I think this would be a pretty forgiving recipe should you substitute one green for another or can’t quite manage to find the hartwort. Opa!

(As a bonus, this is one of those foods I find perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacking…)

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Hortopita

For the phyllo dough:

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 c semolina flour, finely ground, like Bob’s Red Mill
1 scant tsp salt
1 1/4 c water
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
1 tbsp lemon juice (or you can use red-wine vinegar)
Flour for rolling out the pastry

For the filling:

Extra virgin olive oil (about 1 c)
2 red onions, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
2 bunches Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c fresh dill, chopped
1 c fennel fronds, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 small bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
Coarse sea salt
1/4 c feta cheese (optional)

To prepare the phyllo dough I followed these instructions except mixed the dough by hand rather than with a mixer, kneading it for about 10 minutes.

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To prepare the filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the onions until they’re soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, cooking for an additional 3-5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a bowl.

In the same skillet, heat an additional 2 tbsp olive oil, then wilt the chard and spinach and transfer to the bowl. (You may have to do this in a couple of batches depending on the size of your skillet.) Add the herbs to the bowl mixture, and salt this mixture generously. Transfer to a large colander and let drain for at least ten minutes, pressing lightly to get out any remaining liquid. Transfer back to the bowl. Add the feta and gently combine, if using.

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Assembling:

Lightly oil a 15-inch round pan or a shallow, rectangular roasting or sheet pan. Roll out the first dough ball (you will have 4) on a lightly-floured surface, so that it is slightly larger than your pan. Transfer to the pan, leaving about 2 inches hanging over the edges. Brush with olive oil. Roll out the second round of dough, transfer on top of the first layer of dough, and brush this with olive oil as well. Spread the filling evenly over the phyllo.

Repeat the process for the third and fourth sheets of phyllo, placing the layers on top and brushing with olive oil. Score the pie into serving pieces without cutting through to the bottom. Transfer to the oven and bake on the center rack for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pie is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Yesterday the rains came. But in a very springy, misty, pleasant kind of way, where the light outside is still bright. I was hard at work but something about the sight and sound and smells propelled me into my kitchen.

Having been away this weekend where I wasn’t able to do any cooking, or healthy eating for that matter, I came home craving my kitchen, my food—greens, grains, avocados, spice. I’ve also been doing a spring cleaning of sorts, drinking gingery-spicy fresh juices, eating mostly vegetarian, and back on Chinese herbs for my allergies. (But don’t worry, I throw in the occasional pork taco or tiramisu for good measure.)

Recently, I started skimming Eat Right For Your Type, written by naturopathic doctor Peter D’Adamo. As a B positive, I’m advised to eat venison, rabbit, goat, and mutton for my protein, and avoid chicken as it contains a blood type B agglutinating lectin. Also on the avoid list for B’s: sesame seeds, peanuts, corn, tomatoes, lentils, buckwheat, and wheat. I’m not sure how much stock I put into this but would be curious to try it at some point and see how it affects my blood sugar levels and energy.

Blood type B’s are somewhat uncommon among white U.S.’ers and Europeans, and today are mostly clustered in India, northern China, and Korea. The blood type originated in the cold climates of the Himalayan mountain region and may have mutated from blood type A in eastern Africa as a response to climatic change many, many centuries ago.

Back to lunch…So I’m grappling with some big work deadlines, and this usually means lunch on the go, or no lunch at all. But yesterday I spent a bit of time getting reacquainted with my kitchen by making this rice salad. It’s basically brown rice that’s mixed with raw spinach (which wilts when combined with the warm rice), toasted walnuts, basil, and goat cheese with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette.

You could do any number of variations on this (channeling Mark Bittman)—wild rice instead of brown; arugula or lamb’s quarters in place of spinach; toasted pecans or hazelnuts instead of walnuts; blue cheese or shaved parmesan instead of goat; and a lemon or balsamic dressing in place of raspberry. I also think tempeh could be a fine addition and boost the protein if you’re so inclined. So could mutton, of course.

This salad is light and springy, perfect for lunch, and as far as I know, approved for us B’s.

Rice Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

2 c cooked rice (about 1 c dry rice)
Bunch of spinach, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 c toasted walnuts
1 c raspberries
1/2 c olive oil
Splash red wine vinegar
Fresh lemon juice
Handful of basil, roughly chopped
4 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

When the rice is finished cooking, transfer to a large bowl and add the spinach, to wilt, and the toasted walnuts.

In a blender or food processor, combine 1/2 c of the raspberries, the olive oil, vinegar, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and some salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Add the desired amount (I used all of it) to the rice mixture and stir will. Before serving add the basil, goat cheese, and remaining raspberries, cut in halves, and salt and pepper to taste.

Photo below from my dining room window, courtesy Instagram, of yesterday’s springy rain. Oh, and Remedy was featured this weekend in the New York Times T magazine in a piece about up-and-coming “foodieodicals!”

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This is just a quickie teaser of a post since I should definitely be working not blogging right now. I have something like 100 captions to write today, artwork to send to the processor, essays to read, illustrate, and edit, oh and cover designs to choose for another book! Oy.

I’ve written before about how every day (or close to that) I make a green smoothie: some form of greens like kale, chard, spinach, etc. blended with fresh fruit. It’s a good way to get lots of vitamins and chlorophyll into your system, chopped up finely so it’s easily absorbed. They also taste great. They also make captions more fun to write.

Anyway yesterday morning I stumbled upon a great combination and wanted to share. Spinach, fresh pineapple, avocado, and ginger. That’s it. Oh and water. This is in the top three green smoothies I’ve made in the past year (other favorites include dandelion greens-peach-banana, and romaine-grapefruit-mint-avocado). The fresh pineapple adds a real zing-a-ding-ding to the whole thing; the avocado makes it smooth and creamy.

You start with 2-3 cups of fresh spinach and 12 ounces of water. Blend this. Then add 1 c fresh pineapple chunks, 1/2 avocado, and 1 tsp fresh ginger, and blend until smooth.

Ginger-Pineapple Smoothie
2012
Spinach, water, avocado, pineapple, ginger, blender, glass
5 x 4 x 2 in. (12.7 x 10.2 x 5 cm.)

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