Sunday, July 17, 2011

Feature Foodie - Jenna B. (Cue the tears)

Hello! I'm Kelly's sister. I'm the sister who drove the getaway car while Kelly posed for her “awesome picture series.” I'm also the baby sister and the one who very soon will have a tiny baby of my own.

 *cue Kelly crying*

This post isn't about my baby though or even about grown up me. It's about cooking and learning new flavors and like the good sister she is, Kelly introduced me to many of the things I enjoy today.

On one particular day, when I was probably 13 years old, she took me to what became my favorite restaurant in Rochester – Aladdin's. I don't remember much of the lunch. I remember it being warm and sunny. I remember Kelly talking to me about my life, offering advice which I – in my 13 year old way – promptly ignored. And I remember my first bite of Spanikopita. It was one of those moments in my culinary knowledge that will always stand out, a perfect union of flavors on my palate. To this day, I still have to order it if I see it on a menu and each time I have a bite, I think of my big sister and say a silent thank you.

For those that have never had this delicious treat; it's a Greek spinach and feta “pie.” It consists of layers of filo dough, butter and a filling of green onion, spinach, dill and feta. It's perfect for a light, summer lunch or dinner. I serve mine with a side salad or a steamed artichoke. Enjoy!


1 package frozen filo dough (you won't use all of it, but you will use one full roll and half of the other, so buy the two pack)
3 – 12 ounce bags of frozen, chopped spinach – thawed and drained of excess liquid
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 package (6 or 7 sprigs) fresh dill, chopped
1 12 ounce package of crumbled feta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick butter

In a large pan, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium high heat. Add in green onion, dill and spinach. Cook until soft and heated through, about ten minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely. When cool, mix in eggs, feta and salt and pepper. Set aside.
            Once mixture is ready, butter a large cookie sheet and melt remaining butter. I transfer my butter to a spray bottle I got at the dollar store – it makes life easier and you are less likely to tear the layers of filo than if you use a brush. Working quickly put one layer of filo in the bottom of the cookie sheet, brush or spray with butter; continue with the filo/butter layers until you have about 8 layers. Top these with the spinach mixture and repeat filo/butter layering for another 8 layers.
            At this point, you have extra filo leftover. You can re-freeze it or make tiny cups or do something clever like that – I usually lose patience with the easily torn dough and throw it out. I am not my sister :)
            Trim the edges of the pan to look nice and place the whole thing in the refrigerator for about a half an hour. I like to take a bubble bath during this process while I wait. After the pie sets, cut individual portions with your very sharpest knife and bake for a half an hour or until crispy brown at 350 degrees. Let stand ten minutes and serve.
            I usually eat this for dinner one night, then breakfast, lunch the next day. But I'm a sucker for Spanikopita. Either way, enjoy! And say thank you to Kelly.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

4th of July challenge - The results are in....

I *TOLD* you I'd get schooled!

Denise made these:
Not only is she trendy (hello, cupcakes),
she can feed everyone - intolerance's or none -
and she made them beautiful with locally grown produce!

I am shamed.
Ok, not really 'cause I got to eat pie.

D, your blog is amazing - I felt like I was actually at Brett and Jill's.
I miss my Yelm peeps so vey much!!

And awesome shot of Carolee! hehe!

Next challenge coming soon!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July challenge - Apple pie...with a twist!

Here is what I came up with:

Apple Plum Pie with Coconut Shell :)

The commissary here in Guam, er, doesn't have a wide variety, shall we say....
and when they run out of something, there is no zipping to Walmart.

We are still in lodging so I can't really make my own pie crust and while I was hunting for something,
ANYTHING to make into one, this is what I came up with!
 Fuji apples, red plums, coconut, Saigon Cinnamon, nutmeg and shortbread ready made pie shells.
This is what I made:
I have to learn to center my pics! UGH!

And this is how I did it!

4 large Fuji apples, peeled and thinly sliced
(I chose Fuji instead of Granny Smith, which I normally use, to balance the tartness in the plums)

6 small red plums, blanched in boiling water, peeled and then thinly sliced

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
(this was new to me and I found it slightly more pungent and spicy than regular and a bit more heat as well)

Mix all ingredients well until the fruit gets juicy and has a little syrup.

For the crust I crumbled one of the shortbread crusts and mixed it with a tbsp of real salted butter and the sweetened coconut. I filled the second pie crust with the fruit and then topped it with the crumble mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the crust is browned and the fruit is bubbly.

New family favorite, me thinks.
The balance of sweet and sour was perfect and the extra sweetness from the crumbly top just added that much more!!

Thanks, D, for making me think "outside the box"!! And thanks to my sis Jenna for suggesting the coconut as a nod to Guam - good call!!
Feel free to try the recipe!

Bon Apetite ~K

Friday, July 1, 2011

Steppin' Up To The Plate

On your mark...

Get set....


And we're off;
my sweet friend Denise over at
has issued a holiday challenge!

And yes, she is the one I'm always telling to shut it

She understands my brain and that's why I have 
to say that!!
For the record, she doesn't listen anyway - just look at her comments!
Snarky, snarky, snarky! And THAT is why I love her!!
True friends are honest friends!

Anyway, she recently started her food blog 
and we decided to challenge each other
I'm about to be schooled. Meh.

People, check out her blog.
Aside from being the real deal,
she makes delish dishes.
She has gluten issues and still manages
to make scrumptious meals!
Her recent posts include:
GF Chocolate Chip Cookies - Chillin-and Grillin
An amazing scramble - I'm hungry.

Check her out - your tummy will be happy!

So the challenge:
make an American, 4th of July classic,
with a twist.
Ok......insert lots of smack talking here.

Uh-huh, I'm about to be schooled, ya'll.

So I'm thinking, what's more American than
Apple Pie?
thank you, internet

Oh yes I am.
Apple pie with a twist.....