Sunday, March 23, 2008

It’s all Greek to me…

Greek Easter is on April 27th. I though I would start the celebration in advance, by making my Corfu shawl pattern available on Ravelry, in time for anyone with some free needles and the inclination to whip up their own Corfu in time for Greek Easter! The pattern is available as a PDF file, and you can download it and cast-on today if you have joined Raverly. If you have not joined yet, why don’t you? Because Corfu is lace, and the pattern can easily be made larger or smaller, almost any smooth, soft yarn will work.
Here are a few excellent choices: Jade Sapphire 2-ply; either silk-cashmere or Mongolian cashmere, Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb, any lace-weight from Colourmart, or almost any lace-weight yarn in a solid or semi-solid color that you already have in your stash (about 1800 yards in a fine lace-weight and less in a heavier weight!) To get you in the mood for the clear blue-green water and white sands of Corfu, you can make my own version of Greek spinach pie, which is extremely yummy, if I do say so myself. Working with phyllo dough takes a little practice, but it isn’t a big deal once you start. I use olive oil and not butter, which makes my version both fairly healthy and crispy-good. Because I am only Greek by marriage, I work harder to make my Greek cooking really special! If all goes well, I might teach you how to do stuffed grape leaves next…
Spanikopita BadCat Style
-Frozen phyllo dough: ½ a package from your grocery store: Take the package out of the freezer, cut the roll of dough in half using a serrated knife to avoid crushing it, keep half out to defrost and return the other half to the freezer for future use. It will be ready to work with in 45 minutes. Keep it covered so it does not get dry.
-Olive oil: about ¼ to ½ cup (or more; don’t be stingy)
-1 egg: beaten
-2 large leeks: cleaned and sliced thin
-2 cloves garlic: chopped fine
-Green tops from 4 beets: clean, remove the stem and chop coarsely. (Use the beet roots as a side dish by roasting them, slicing them drizzling with olive oil.)
-1 package of baby spinach (about 10 ounces) cleaned and chopped coarsely
-Grated hard cheese: a few tablespoons of Romano, Parmesan, or other ethnic grating cheese is fine.
-Feta: about ½ cup of good Greek, French or Armenia feta, coarsely chopped
-Nutmeg: ¼ tsp freshly grated or about that amount
-Cumin powder: a shake or two
-Oregano: ½ tsp dried and crumbled
-Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
-8x8” baking dish
-10” skillet
-Brush and bowl for oil

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

-Sauté garlic in some modest amount olive oil, in skillet, over medium heat
-Add leeks and stir until wilted
-Add beet greens and stir until wilted
-Add spinach and stir until wilted
-Add spices, herbs, salt and pepper and stir, allowing the mixture to cook through, but not get brown or mushy
-Add more oil if needed along the way
-Turn flame off and allow it to cool

-Unroll defrosted phyllo dough. Keep the waiting sheets covered so they don’t dry out while you’re working.
-Pour the olive oil into a small bowl.
-Brush pan with oil and be sure to include the sides.
-Take one sheet of phyllo and place in pan, allowing the ends to climb over two sides.
-Brush lightly with oil, including sides.
-Take a second sheet of dough and place in pan, turning 90 degrees, so ends extend up the other sides of pan.
-Brush with oil and continue in this way until ½ of the phyllo has been used.
-Add the beaten egg and all the cheese to your veggie mixture, mixing well.
-Put the cheese, egg and veggie mixture into your dough/pan and spread evenly.
-Continue laying the phyllo over the mixture, one sheet at a time, with oil in between, alternating by 90 degrees, until all the dough is used.
-Brush oil on the top and roll the extended edges into the pan on each of the four sides, making a nice sealed edge on all sides.
-Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 325 F for one hour.
-Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
-Let it rest for 20 minutes.
-Cut and enjoy.

Serve with a dry Greek white wine (well chilled), and a salad plate with the beets, cucumber, tomato, and good Greek olives, sliced and drizzled with a simple vinaigrette. If you have leftovers, which would be odd, heat in an oven and don’t microwave (it will get soggy and not be as yummy if you microwave it.) This serves four people for lunch, two modest adults and one petite teenage girl for dinner, or two people in the mood to pig out.


  1. Thanks for posting deliciousness for both the eye and the tummy!

  2. That sounds like heaven, Andrea. So glad that the nutritional info isn't available, although with monounsaturated olive oil instead of butter, it should be better for you...Thanks for the yummy inspirations.

  3. Ooo, a lovely corfu finally and some scrumptious yumminess to enjoy! Look forward to making this.

  4. Your shawl is so beautiful. Wonderful job. Thanks for posting.

  5. I found you via Ravelry (Dragon Scale Scarf). Your Corfu shawl is beautiful! I was born and raised in Greece, though not Greek myself, and have wonderful memories of Corfu and the fireflies (and glowing phosphorous in the water) in mid- summer.