Friday, May 29, 2009

SPANAKOPITA

1 kilo (2.2 lb.) of fresh spinach.
1(1 pound) package of Athens Phyllo dough.
2 large good-looking leeks.
2 green onions, sliced
1-½ cups of good green olive oil.
½ cup cut up fresh dill.
½ pound Greek feta cheese
4 lightly beaten eggs

First clean the spinach from dry and yellow leaves, wash it well, let it drain and then chop it up, medium roughly. Do the same with the leeks and green onions. Put the spinach, leeks, green onions and dill in a deep bowl add salt, pepper and ½ of olive oil and “knead it” until it looses volume and spinach looks wilted and has a dark color.
Add the crumbled feta cheese, lightly beaten eggs and put the mixture aside. Take a nice 9x13 baking deep, lasagna pan dish and brush it with olive oil.

Open the package of the phyllo dough, cover it with a damp towel and start layering one sheet at a time by brushing them with the olive oil. Allow part of the dough to go up on the sides of the pan, because later you will fold them in. You want this to be a somewhat sealed pie on the sides. When you have used half of the dough spread the spinach mixture in it. Continue by layering the rest of the dough. Finish by brushing the top final layer with olive oil. Take the bottom dough that overlies on the ends of the pan and bring in over the top layers of dough. Pat it down and brush with more olive oil. Let that extra dough hang outside the pan and you finish with layering all of it, go back and turn in by folding it at the ends. As you work with this pie you will find out some other little way you like to do this or that! It is your pie; your dough and you are the boss!!

Now before you bake it you HAVE to score it in diagonal pieces. If you do not you will have to find a new way to serve it because the dough gets real crisp and there is no way to cut it in pieces. Bake it in an already heated oven 350 f. For at least one hour or until the phyllo has a light golden baklava color like. Place your rack pretty low, or maybe in the middle rack, since when you use phyllo dough the top gets cooked faster than the bottom.
Enjoy this pie as an appetizer serving it in diagonal pieces in a nice platter or as a main meal if there is nothing else to eat.
CHICKEN WITH ORZO


INGREDIENTS

1 large cut up chicken
1 pound orzo pasta
1 cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the chicken pieces well. I always love to cook chicken with skin and bones on. You will need 11x13 baking pan that will eventually hold about five cups of liquid.
Place the chicken pieces into the baking pan and season with salt, pepper, olive oil. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook in a 370F. oven for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender ╬▒nd still has a light color. Then remove from the oven add about 4 cups of salted hot water and return to the oven. Let juices get almost bubbly and real hot and then add the orzo pasta. Make sure the pasta is all over and around the pan. You might have to add extra salt, cook until all pan juices are absorbed and pasta is cooked. Optional accent would be some sundried tomatoe pieces and or sliced kalamata olives.
Serve with a good portion of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top