If you want to make red Easter eggs like the Greeks do, follow this link here…
It was my birthday last week.
Here are my favorite links for this week, January 26, 2017:
1. For the next time you have 9 hours to let a pork roast in the oven…whoa.
2. These Scandinavian people! First it was hygge now it’s logom…
3. This was a total bummer! Waaah!
4. Well if Julia Child said so, it must be right.
5. Reading is good for your health.
6. Well they don’t have all the Miss Universe titles for nothing folks.
7. Easy moules frites from BevCooks…mais oui!
8. All the sauces you will ever need.
9. I’m just going to put this right here…and smile.
I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my summers in Greece. I would venture to guess it’s the experience of any person with Greek roots. You just got shipped off to grandma and grandpa for the summer and marinated like an olive on a salty Mediterranean beach. I know, terrible right? Total FWP (first world problem). It couldn’t be helped. This was our lot in life, but these times were probably the funniest, most ridiculous and most memorable times of our lives. And many of those memories are punctuated with amazing food.
So if you are not Greek, I am almost 100% sure you probably had similar experiences as a kid, be that if you spent your summers in Michigan, catching smelts or in Romania on the Black Sea. I want to you to tell me about them in the comments below. I like to find out about my readers.
So back to summers in Greece…as a child, my uncle, who was a farmer by trade, was always up at the butt crack of dawn. As such, it was my good fortune that he was able to make it to the local bakery first thing to get me a tiropita, a cheesy, buttery, flakey little package of yum. I would wake up and find a tiropita on the kitchen table waiting for me. Man was I spoiled.
This memory has stuck with me, as my love of tiropita. But making tiropita can be such an ordeal. And there is so many different ways to make them. Some people make little triangles, which takes forever to make. You can easily spend your life making an endless army of over 100 little cheese filled phyllo triangles. And if you choose to make whole big pie, you can be sitting there stressing over the right ratio of flour, milk, butter and eggs to make a béchamel sauce. Bechamel! Come on! I don’t have time for that.
What’s a modern girl, with traditional food tastes to do?
Well stress no more folks. I have a secret. Soda water. No not to drink, although you may want to mix it with some vodka and ice to celebrate how easy this recipe is afterwards…soda water is the secret ingredient to this lazy person’s tiropita. Your friends and family will think you slaved over this dish. Made your kitchen sink a disaster of measuring cups and dirty pots. Covered your floors with flour. But no. We will not tell them that you made a “no-measure needed” recipe. We will let them believe you are a hardcore, cooking traditionalist. Ha!
So how do we make this? Here we go:
Tiropita with Soda Water
1 lb package of phyllo dough
1 stick of butter melted
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
8 oz kefalotiri, grated
6 oz gruyere cheese, grated
6 oz emmanthaler, grated
1 can of soda water, 12oz.
Start with prepping your cheeses, crumbled your block of feta, grate the other cheeses. Too much work you say? Get your kids to do it. Enlist a friend to help you grate. This will be done in less than 10 minutes together.
Now, if you can’t find kefalotiri, add more gruyere or emmathanler. Just don’t stress, any combination and ratio of cheese will work. I like a mix because they do different things, feta is tangy, kefalotiri is salty, gruyere is creamy, and emmathanler which is basically Swiss cheese, is mild but savory. But doesn’t it sound fancier as Emmanthaler, so say that instead! So gourmet! When your cheeses are ready, melt your butter and set aside.
Next, unpackage your phyllo dough carefully and place a wet paper towel over it to keep moist and prevent it from drying out as you work. I use a 12 inch round aluminum pan, but you can use a 9×13 inch rectangle also…whatever works kids, this is easy, no stress tiropita.
Begin by brushing melted butter all over your pan and lay down your first piece of phyllo dough. Brush butter on that layer and add the next. Keep doing this, butter, phyllo, butter, phyllo, until you have 6 layers. Then scatter half the grated and crumbled cheeses your prepared earlier over the phyllo dough. Salt and pepper lightly. Repeat the butter, phyllo layers 6 more times. Add the last half of your cheese combination, salt and pepper again and top with the final 6 layers of phyllo dough and buttered layers. It’s important to butter each sheet of phyllo dough. This will ensure a nice flakey crust. Don’t cry to me about butter. Life is too short. It’s good for you. Julia Child once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.”
Next, trim the excess pieces of phyllo dough that are hanging over your pan. You can also choose to fold them under the pie, but why? LOL. In the end you are trying to minimize the excess dough. Then score your cheese pie with a knife into even serving sized pieces.
Finally, I reveal the secret. Beat 6 eggs and add a can of soda water to them. Pour this concoction over your tiropita. Yes! Just do it. Let it soak in, in between the layers everywhere and then bake at 375 for about 50-55 minutes.
Your pie will puff up, brown nicely and amaze you. Trust me, this is the easiest cheese pie you ever made. I am not sure how this magic works, but somehow the soda water and eggs transforms the phyllo dough and the cheesy layers into something amazing that reminds me of those mornings in Greece when I had a bakery tiropita from the village.
Thank you so much for reading my blog this year! I can wait to bring you new topics and recipes in 2017.
Happy New Year!
P.S. The recipe for the Vasilopita in the picture below can found here. Enjoy!
It’s that time of year again friends. Thanksgiving!!! I love Thanksgiving. So much yummy food. I am already dreaming of leftovers! So I am hosting Thanksgiving again this year. What are you doing? Where are you going? What are you making? I wanna know!!!
Here is what I am making:
I like to keep the menu traditional and simple. Even though it still takes days of planning and hours to cook.
How do you time all of this preparation?
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I pick up the turkey I pre-ordered. I am very specific about the size.
One year, I ordered my standard 12-15lbs turkey and the butcher gave me a 28lbs bird. I was mortified. Apparently the farmer the butcher got his turkeys from had larger birds than expected. I cried and cried. I thought Thanksgiving was ruined. There was no way this turkey was going to fit in my oven! I was so distraught the butcher offered to come over and cook the turkey for me. They were going to spatchcock the bird. I was so upset! Who presents a spatchcocked bird on Thanksgiving??? True story.
Anyway, on Tuesday I prepare the brine and when it cools I keep it in the fridge until I am ready to brine the bird. Here is a link to my favorite brine.
Also on Tuesday, I bake my bread for the stuffing.
On Wednesday, I make the orange cranberry sauce in advance. This keeps easily in the fridge. Here is my favorite recipe along with what to do with left over cranberry sauce.
Wednesday is also a good day to prep all the onion, celery, walnuts and herbs that I will need for the stuffing. That way, come Thursday I just need to sautée it all up and assemble the stuffing/dressing.
Wednesday night, before bed, I place the turkey in the brine. I brine the turkey for about 8-10 hours and rinse it well the next morning.
Thursday morning, while the turkey is roasting, I prepare the rest of the vegetable. I peel the potatoes for the mash, keeping them in cold water until I am ready to boil them. I also peel the sweet potatoes and trim the Brussels sprouts.
I have enough spare room in my oven to make the candied sweet potatoes and then the dressing. I warm them up again while the turkey is resting. Also while the turkey is resting, I can roast the Brussels sprouts in the oven, while I make the gravy.
And that’s that! The next day, I dream of left overs. Here is what I do with them.
So are you panicking yet? No need. Here are some other links I like to help you along this coming Thanksgiving:
1. New York Times tells us how to roast the perfect Turkey.
2. Marilyn Monroe had a stuffing recipe!
3. Melissa Clark talks gravy.
4. How about some kick in your cranberry sauce?
5. Mark Bittman’s Brussels sprouts with garlic!
6. How about a million ways to make sweet potatoes?
Finally, I love this article about all the different Thanksgiving traditions in this melting pot called America.
Good luck and enjoy!