Greece. You can't turn on the radio (or paper, or I assume TV) without hearing about it these days. Will they leave the Eurozone? Won't they leave? They're selfish! They're destitute! The list of frantic headlines goes on and on. Here in Denver, I've had my own little crisis that's also all about the green(s). This one, however, seems headed for a resolution far more satisfying to all parties involved.
If you'll remember, Liberty planted a salad garden in late May. This meant her starts were established a full month later than was recommended. This resulted in disappointing daily surveys relative to average regional yields. In response, Liberty determined to seek a bail(bushel?)out. "Why?" Liberty asked, "in this time of plenty, must I suffer? My friends and neighbors to the North have more green(s) than they know what to do with. All I ask is that they extend a loan, to carry me until my own crop comes up, then I will repay their generosity... WITH interest!" A coalition was formed, with Momo and Hannah coming to Liberty's aide with a bundle projected to last through the week.
It seems, however, that these projections were based on models which called for extreme 'belt-tightening' measures. Measures that Liberty refused to implement. As a result, the initial bushelout was exhausted in a single dish (details below). All parties are expected back at the (dinner) table to hash out terms of a new deal, where it is expected that Liberty will request further backing. Many remain skeptical that such an agreement can be reached. However, Liberty shows signs of optimism, owing to the fact that this time she will not be entering negotiations empty handed. It seems she has retained a sizable portion of leftovers from said dish, and hopes to leverage their deliciousness for further support.
this recipe is a bastardization of spanakopita, one of my very favorite dishes. the traditional version uses spinach, for which I substituted whatever was in season. this also might be far from traditional, because it's definitely a lot different from everything I found online, however, it's similar to both my mother's version, as well as that of my favorite greek in DC. finally, as further evidence of my poor planning skills, you'll notice this recipe calls for a couple of Mexican cheeses in lieu of the traditional feta. that's because I started cooking before I had all of my ingredients together, and the local store didn't have ANY feta (????).
- 1 package filo dough (follow defrosting instructions)
- 6 cups mixed fresh hearty greens (I used chard, beet, mustard, kale, and maybe some other things too)
- 2 T + 1 T olive oil
- 2 t cider vinegar
- 3 green onions, just the greens, diced at 1/2 in
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 3 T diced fresh parsley (1 t dried)
- 3 T fresh dill (1 t dried)
- 2 c ricotta
- 1/3 c cream cheese
- 5oz cotija cheese + 5oz queso fresco (or 10oz feta), crumbled
- 1/4 c whole milk
- salt & pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 c butter, melted
Make sure your filo is well on its way to getting thawed. Take your mountain of greens and wash them really well. I plunged my lil kitchen forest into a full sink and shook things around a bit, then laid them out on some clean dish clothes to dry. Then stack those leafies, roll em up, and slice into thin ribbons. Heat 2 T of the oil in a large skillet, and sauté the greens, intermittently covering and stirring until everything has thoroughly wilted. Add the vinegar, sauté for another minute or so, then transfer to a mesh strainer to drain. Let your greens sit and sulk for a good while (for me in was about 30 min. during which time I walked to the grocery store where I discovered they didn't have any feta...).
When you get back, preheat the oven to 350, and give your greens an extra squeeze to be sure there's no residual moisture lurking around. Stick your frying pan back on the stove, add the remaining 1T of oil, and sauté your mixed onions til they're limp, add the herbs toward the end just to wake up their aromatics, mix this with your greens.
Mush the ricotta and cream cheese together with a fork until uniform-ish--the cream cheese should be clumpy, but disperse. Add the remaining cheeses, milk and greens to your ricotta mixture and combine. I like to season to taste with salt and pepper at this point (grind enough pepper to make your arm fall off and a few healthy pinches of salt should do), mix in beaten eggs to your seasoned filling.
Take a 10in springform pan and butter it liberally (also, maybe live liberally, definitely vote liberally, just while you're at it). Place a layer of filo on the bottom, and brush with more butter (this time you can be moderate), repeat with another sheet of filo+butter, and on for 12 layers, taking care to keep your stack of dough well covered while you work (to be honest, I lost count, and probably pooped out around 6 layers in). Bake your foundation for 15 min. Add half the filling to the baked bottom, and repeat the filo+butter process, then again with the filling+filo+butter. Bake the whole thing for about an hour, or until pie is solid when you jiggle it, and the top is golden and crisp. EAT IT ALL!!!