Monday, January 12, 2009

Mini Spanakopita

So despite working 55+ hours a week, and attempting to study for my GRE I'm still somehow finding time to cook.. you prioritize what you love I guess. In an effort to get away from the chunk of protein + veg meals I've been posting here is a quick and delicious appetizer that I made recently and brought in to work. I bring a lot of things into my job because I love to try new recipes.. and what else do you do with pounds of guilty pleasure food but give it away?

I usually measure the sucess of my recipes by how fast they disappear in the morning to my co-workers.. for instance, the last time I brought in some healthy oatmeal - rasperry muffins, I ended up taking some home - clearly a failure (for the record, I thought they were awesome, and I was glad to have breakfast for the next few days). These on the other hand, were gone by 11am... pretty much a resounding success, especially for the new-years resolution filled days of the early new year.

Ok so we've gotten it out of the way that these aren't exactly health food.. not that it will stop you from eating about 10 of these. Puff pastry, cheese, and spinach.. is there anything better?

1 package puff pastry
1 small container feta cheese
8 oz frozen spinach
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 red onion, sliced and diced very small
salt and pepper to taste

A note on puff pastry since I know a few non-cooks that read this: This stuff is available in pretty much any grocery store in the frozen section, usually near the frozen pie crusts and the like. A common brand is Peppridge farms, but there are others out there. It's pretty much impossible to make yourself, so save yourself the trouble and go buy some. Let it thaw out a little before you use it so that it opens easily, without cracking. However, watch that it doesn't thaw too much or it may not puff up like it should.. it's basically layered butter, and if it thaws out the layered structure will collapse. If it seems to be getting too limp, just throw it in the freezer for a few minutes.

  • 1. take the puff pastry out of the fridge to thaw while you start on the filling.

  • 2. Thaw the spinach in the microwave. wrap the thawed spinach in a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water. Place spinach in a large bowl, and slowly mix in the feta, the onion and ricotta cheese. You don't need to use all the cheese, just mix it until you like the taste and consistency. Use more feta if you want a more salty bite to it, or more ricotta if you prefer it more creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • 3. unroll the thawed puff pastry on a work surface and cut into 24 squares. press the squares into cupcake tins and fill with the spinach and cheese filling. I used a pizza cutter for this, but a knife would work fine too.
  • 4. bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until the puff pastry cups are golden brown. For best non-stick results, lightly grease or spray the muffin tins before you bake.. the bottoms of mine stuck to the tin, and they're hard to get off without tearing them apart.

Taste: 10/10; there's no question that these are awesome.. especially warm.

Ease of preparation: 9/10: Very very easy... they only way to kill these things would be to over bake them, so watch them carefully.

I roasted a chicken today so that will be on the way soon. Hooray for big chunks of animal protein. I'm still working on the lighting situation, the pictures look nowhere near as good as I want them to right now. It doesn't help that I have a really ugly, cluttered counter.. but that's the life of a renter.


Jen said...

you should probably start bringing your quick and delicious appetizers to my house. Especially when you stat whipping out the Greek stuff.

Jen said...

by stat I meant start

JOEL said...

Thank God you're blogging again. Well, I guess not God since you're Godless and all. But you know, like Babagenoosh or someone like that.

Amy said...

I'm hungry.

Godlesscook said...

Maybe I'll bring some to the Lost premier party.. I'm pretty sure that John Locke would approve.

Babaganoush sounds delicious right about now.