Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Holiday Appetizers

Thanksgiving came and went without a hitch. The family gathered and gave thanks and no drama was to be seen. And we had a surprise visit from my dear sister from Southern California! Very nice! My parents always put on a great meal with turkey and all the traditional trimmings including the absolute best stuffing on the planet, in my opinion! I am working on getting that recipe so I'll be able to carry on the tradition someday.

My mother made, not one, but three pies this year and I have to say her pie crust is the best, also. When I was young I remember I would eat everything except the crust. But, these days it's a pleasure to taste her flaky crust. So, we had our choice of pumpkin, pumpkin turtle or homemade pecan pie. Now, I'm not good with choices, so, I tried pecan and pumpkin. And, yes, I should have started with dessert first! Wonderful, both of them! I'm always thankful for my family and the lovely dinners they provide each year. I know they work hard and probably collapsed into bed as we all left. But, I appreciate them and their efforts immensely!

Speaking of starters, my contribution to the dinner was appetizers. I wanted to try something different and a bit non-traditional for us. With an Italian twist I put together Spanakopitas. Little phyllo filled spinach and cheese bundles that, again in my opinion, melted in your mouth. While I don't recommend these for a quick easy recipe, there are ways to streamline, always. The store where I shopped did not have the small phyllo ready made shells to create my planned easy appetizers, so last minute I diverted to the time consuming phyllo dough which can be very tricky to work with. I won't go through the whole process of technique but basically you put a dollop of filling onto butter brushed layered strips of phyllo and fold over as if folding a flag. After the first few it did get easier and I had a rhythm going. Here is the filling recipe I created.

In large skillet saute 1/2 c onion in 1 T oil. Set aside. Mix together the following ingredients:

10 oz thawed, drained and squeezed chopped spinach

8 oz cream cheese

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 c crab meat

2 slices panchetta, cooked and crumbled

1 egg

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg


Add the onion and mix thoroughly (hands okay). You can either use pre-made phyllo cups or be more ambitious using regular sheets of phyllo dough. After filling the vessel of your choice, bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. (phyllo cups may take less time). The pictures above are the rejects or "testers". But, after sampling they were declared "exquisite" and mouthwatering and worthy for 10+ family members. Thanks, my wonderful family for allowing me to experiment on you, once again!

1 comment:

  1. As Greek I love spanakopita. I like the additions you made on the original recipe. I have never thought of putting crab meat. I am sure they tasted great.