In This Menu:
- Greek Salad with Feta Turnover (Spanakopita)
- Greek Ice Cream with Peaches
Two weeks ago we journeyed to India in a culinary quest. I had so much fun researching and cooking the Indian food for you that I thought another journey was in order: this time to Greece! For those of you who are intimately familiar with Greek food, you’ll have to excuse me for not being completely authentic. Just so you know, this is not my intention. These recipes are my interpretations and variations of traditional Greek food. The Spanakopita, for instance, is not usually served on a salad but I like it served that way; if you give it a try, I think you might like it too! I think one becomes a better cook by pushing the boundaries of a recipe and coming up with new ways to present a classic dish. I put this version of a Greek salad on my previous restaurant’s menu way back in 2001. In the original recipe, I made the turnover with puff pastry and the filling was different. When considering my options for this week’s meal plan, I wondered why I had never done the turnover with phyllo dough (which is used extensively in Greece). The answer was probably that I didn’t want to do spanakopita, which is the classic Greek hors d’oeuvres made with feta cheese and spinach wrapped in phyllo. My next thought was, “Why not?” So here we are!
For the salad:
- 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1 head bib lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and sliced into crescent shapes ¼-inch thick
- 4 Roma tomatoes, cut in half. Seeded and sliced into strips ¼-inch thick
- ½ to ¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- ½ cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted (toast on cookie sheet in oven at 350° for about 6 minutes)
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
Place all ingredients (except oil) in a food processor. Turn machine to high and slowly drizzle in oil to make a vinaigrette.
For the spanakopita:
First, let me say that working with phyllo dough can be a bit challenging. If you are not up to it, there are some good frozen spanakopitas on the market. If you want to learn how, then here we go!
For the dough:
- 6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed and covered with a towel
- ½ cup of olive oil in a small bowl and a pastry brush
For the filling:
- ½ cup chopped spinach frozen or fresh, drained off as much water as you can remove
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 oz. feta cheese broken into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Making the dough:
Place one sheet of the phyllo on a large cutting board and being careful not to tear it. Lightly brush with olive oil. Place another sheet on top of the first and brush the second sheet with oil. Repeat process until all 6 sheets are stacked on top of each other with a layer of olive oil on each one. Make sure and brush the last sheet with the oil as well. Mix all of the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl and set aside. Cut the dough in half horizontally, then cut each piece in half again. You should now have 4 long strips of oil treated dough. Place a tablespoon on the bottom of the first phyllo strip. Grab the left bottom corner of the strip and fold over filling to make a triangle. Now fold upwards. Continue folding in triangles until you have used all of the dough. Remember making those paper footballs as a kid? This is the same idea! Repeat with other dough pieces and filling. Bake the spanakopita at 375° until light brown. Remove from oven. Serve warm on top of salad.
Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Divide onto four plates and top each salad with the warm spanakopita.
- 1 lemon, grated and juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves
- 4 to 6 sprigs parsley
- 1 large or 2 small shallots
- 6 cloves
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound strip sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound lamb (chops or leg), boned cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 2 red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound Smart Chicken thighs, boned cut into 1-inch cubes skewers
Place first 12 ingredients (everything down to the meat) in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Place the sirloin, lamb, tomatoes, onions, and peppers into a large bowl. Pour all of the marinade (except ½ cup) over the meats and vegetables. Place the chicken in a small bowl and pour half of the remaining marinade (¼ cup) over it. Reserve the remaining marinade for basting. Toss the contents of both bowls to coat evenly. Cover and let marinate for at least 3 hours; overnight is better.
Preheat grill for medium-high heat (400°). Remove chicken from bowl and grill for 3 minutes, turn over and grill for another 3 minutes. The reason the chicken is marinated and cooked separately is that chicken MUST be cooked through to avoid food borne illness. The beef and lamb, on the other hand, are much better cooked medium rare to medium. If you intend to cook all of the meat well done, you can just add the chicken to the other ingredients when marinating.
Remember, eating undercooked chicken can lead to serious illness! Always wash utensils, hands, counters, etc. when handling raw chicken and do not let other foods that will be eaten raw (salads, etc.) touch any area that has been contaminated by raw chicken.
Thread skewers in this order: lamb, tomato, chicken, pepper, beef, onion. Lightly oil grate. Grill over hot coals, basting with the remaining marinade every couple of minutes. Cook 4 to 8 minutes per side depending on desired doneness. Turn skewers frequently for even cooking. Serve on a bed of Greek rice pilaf.
I found this ice cream recipe on the internet and I have to say, it is AWESOME! I came up with the peaches in caramel cream. You are going to like this one!
- 2 cups of 2% milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup of whipping cream
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fully blended. In a saucepan, heat the milk (do not boil). When hot (steaming), add the egg mixture slowly, whisking continuously. Reduce heat to low, and cook until it becomes a smooth custard, stirring to keep from boiling.
Note: Alternatively, use a double boiler.
Remove custard from the heat and set aside to cool. When completely cooled, whip the cream to soft peaks and gently fold into the custard mixture with a spatula. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to directions. Serve with warm peaches in sauce.
For the peaches:
- 3 large, fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup heavy cream
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and add peaches, sugar, and cloves. Cook stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add cream, bring to a boil and reduce for 4 minutes until thick, but pourable.
Yield: approximately 1 quart