Holidays With Honey – Phyllo Spinach Triangles With Honey (Spanakopita)

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It sounds like a lot of you are getting ready for holiday parties. While you have your phyllo dough out, why not try these too? This is my standby winter appetizer recipe. Spinach is in season, and they freeze beautifully!

Yield:  30- 60 triangles

Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil

2 pounds spinach, washed and drained

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon honey

1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 pound phyllo pastry sheets

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil.

Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley,salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir in the feta, honey, and as much beaten egg needed to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter.  If a thicker pastry is desired, add another strip and brush with butter again. (See picture above.)

Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag.

Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot.

(These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Winter Salads – Warm Spinach Salad With Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

spinach salad

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

10 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

6 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup canola oil

3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

Directions

Combine spinach, mushrooms, and almonds in a large serving bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add garlic and shallot and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until garlic is browned, about 2 minutes, then add vinegar and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved.

Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Spinach Salad With Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecans

 

Did you know that cranberries promote heart health?  Cranberries are high in flavonoids that reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis which reduces blood flow within the arteries. Ongoing research continues to suggest that cranberries may offer a natural defense against arteriosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks, angina and blood clots.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound hickory smoked bacon slices, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 (6-ounce) containers baby spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Danish blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fry chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined 1/4-sheet tray to drain.

Toast pecans in the oven on a 1/4-sheet tray until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

In a medium bowl mash the blue cheese with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk, sour cream, honey, salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine baby spinach, red onion, pecans, dried cranberries and bacon in large bowl. Toss with the dressing immediately before serving.

Serves 4.

Popeye’s Favorite Spinach Bread

Spinach, honey and feta cheese make homemade bread extraordinary! This is a wonderful recipe!!

3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115)
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (1 12 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 lbs. spinach (fresh, weighed before cleaning please remove stem and clean thoroughly then thinly slice the leaves)
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine water, honey, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside to foam. Then whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then sift 1 cup of flour and mix well. Set aside for 1 hour, or until it has a sponge-like texture.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and saute onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, cumin, and remaining salt to the onions. Stir in the spinach, in small batches, and cook until the spinach is soft. Pour on the lemon juice. Drain spinach in a colander and reserve the cooking liquid. In a large bowl, place 2 cups of the remaining flour, making a well in the center of the flour. Pour the spongy mixture into the well.

Knead for 10 minutes, adding enough of the cooking liquid to make it pliable yet firm. Transfer to a oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours. Then add the feta cheese to the dough and knead for 1 minute. Add the spinach mixture, sprinkle with the remaining flour, and mix together quickly. The dough is supposed to be moist and loose, don’t knead again. Form into a oblong loaf and place the dough on a well oiled baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes.

Italian Week – Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica is one of the best things to come out of Italy since bees!  

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (12-ounce) bunches fresh spinach, stemmed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups), or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
2 pie crusts
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Directions

Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and the juices evaporate, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze the spinach to drain as much liquid as possible.

Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the spinach and prosciutto to the mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer one pie crust to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Place the other pie crust over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve