Archive for spinach

Spanakopita (Spinach & Feta Pie)

Posted in Appetizers, Greek with tags , , , on November 7, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

This dish has two of my favorite ingredients: spinach and feta!  I can never get enough. Super easy to make, just make sure you fully thaw the phyllo sheets (for about 2 hours!). I was not patient enough, coincidentally, many of my phyllo sheets tore. But no big deal, I used the leftover torn sheets to make yummy baklava!

Spanakopita Ingredients: (Bake at 350 for 30 minutes)

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 packages frozen spinach, thawed and moisture free
  • 1/2 package cream cheese
  • 1 4 oz package feta cheese
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 8 Phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
  • Olive oil (to brush on pastry sheets)

Directions:

  1. Saute onion in pan. Add garlic and spinach (without the excess water). Place in bowl and add cream cheese and feta. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  2. In a greased pie pan, place 1 sheet of oiled phyllo dough. Over lap with 3 more oiled sheets for a total of 4. Place spinach filling inside and top with 4 more oiled phyllo sheets. Tuck the edges in and cut into desired servings. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Tallarines Verdes, Dessert, and A Light Box!

Posted in South American with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Cooking For Mark


Wow, where do I begin.  Let’s start with the light box. What is a light box, you might ask? Well, here is the beautiful light box Mark built for me….

It’s purpose? To provide a place to photograph food when natural lighting is unavailable.  I know, I am a huge nerd, but this thing is absolutely necessary here in Seattle.  I took the sun for granted this summer, as it was perfectly sunny and the sun didn’t set until 9:30 PM.  If you look back at my pictures almost all of them where taken outside, it was fantastic!! And now the sun has said goodbye only making slight appearances in the days it is not raining and not cloudy, but only between the hours of 1-3. That’s a two hour window 2-3 days a week!! Obviously, I have been unable to take pictures these last couple of weeks, which made me sulky and glossy eyed.  In an attempt to make me happy once again Mark took several trips to Home Depo and came up with my solution.  It’s no natural light, but it will definitively do. Now all I need is a fancy camera!

And now, for the main course: Peruvian Tallarines Verdes, or Pasta with a creamy spinach basil sauce….

It’s similar to pesto sauce, but it’s much creamier and milder. I blended the spinach and basil with coconut milk, walnuts, feta cheese, cream cheese and parmesan (if pistachios weren’t so expensive I would have replaced them with the walnuts).  I also added some beautiful ribbons of zucchini.  This was my first time tasting Tallarines Verdes and I loved it!

Tallarines Verdes (Adapted from About.com…but i’m sure this one is better 😉 )

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot

Directions: Saute butter, garlic, and shallot and blend with following ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. coconut milk or evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese (Note: you can replace both cheeses with 1/2 c. queso fresco)
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 entire bunch of spinach, thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1/2 – 1 c. fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Optional: 1 jalapeno, seeded

Directions: Place everything in blender and blend until creamy. Place in saucepan and slowly heat through, without letting it boil.

  • 1/2 package fettuccine, or pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 2 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise with vegetable peeler

Directions: When pasta is cooked, add a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Place sliced zucchini in largo bowl and squirt a bit of lime and salt and pepper. Add hot noodles and cover with warm sauce. The heat of the noodles with slightly cook the zucchini.  You don’t want them too cooked though or else they will be limp. Serve and top with a bit of parmesan cheese. You can serve this as a main course, or as a side with grilled chicken or meat.

And now, for dessert: Lacquered Peach from The Cilantropist.

This delicious peach was baked in an apricot caramel glaze. The result is a soft, delicate sweet and juicy peach.  All of it’s peachy flavors are intensified…and when you pair the warm peach with ice cream…

Well it’s just heavenly!  I am sad to say Mark didn’t enjoy is as I did.  But to his defense, he said he wasn’t into “hot fruits”.  And to be fair, Mark is not really into desserts unless it has chocolate or it’s cheesecake.

But I posted this dessert specially for my Mom and Dad.  I know, without a doubt, they will absolutely love this dessert. Let me know if i’m right Mami (this is a test to see if she actually reads my posts).

Click here for the recipe

Saag Aloo with Coconut Milk Masala Sauce (Spinach & Potatoes with Creamy Tomato Sauce)

Posted in Indian with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Wow, this dish was incredible. Truly flavorful, satisfying, easy, and cheap. In fact, you are looking at about 30 minutes of labor and $5-7 in groceries. If you like spinach, I guarantee you will love it!

Now to keep in on the cheep side, as I promised, you will need to go to your local asian store to buy the coconut milk ($1 vs. $3 at grocery store) and ginger. Now if you don’t already have curry purchasing it might put you above budget, but it’s a good investment (I used Madras Curry). If you don’t want to buy it, however, you can still make this by adding a bit more cumin and turmeric (optional).

If you don’t have mustard seeds you can just add a bit of mustard along with the coconut milk.

This meal must be served wit flatbread or naan. You can either purchase at the store, or easily make your own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Curry
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds (or mustard)
  • Red Chilies, to taste (either chopped or whole)
  • 1-2 cans Coconut milk
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 Lime
  • 2-4 big potatoes
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and drained from water)
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Flatbread

Directions

  1. Dice potatoes and cook in pan with oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In hot skillet with oil, add onions and cook until transparent.
  3. Add grated garlic, ginger, spices and chilies. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 of coconut milk
  5. (Masala Sauce): Take out about 1/3 of coconut/spices mixture. Place in 2nd skillet. Add tomato sauce and 1/2 lime juice. Heat on low for about 7 minutes. Adjust taste (either add more coconut milk, more tomato paste, or more spices…then set aside).
  6. Add defrosted spinach (with water squeezed out) to original coconut mixture. Add lime juice and cooked potatoes. If mixture is too dry, add more coconut milk and continue adding until everything is cooked through.
  7. Taste spinach mixture for taste. If it is not flavorful, add more salt, cumin, or curry. At this point you can also increase the spiciness by adding more chopped chili peppers.
  8. Serve by plating the saag (spinach) and then surround the saag with the masala (tomato) sauce. Eat with flatbread or naan.

Fettuccine For Breakfast

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Pasta for breakfast? I know, sounds a bit unusual. But Italians do it all the time, and they generally know what they are doing when it comes to food.  This is the perfect breakfast if you have leftover spaghetti or any type of pasta. It’s also perfect when you really don’t have anything else to make, since most of us will have the ingredients on hand. This dish requires some type of pasta, a few eggs and a few veggies. Just mix it all together for a great recession-friendly breakfast, or better yet, brunch.

Ingredients:

  • Fettuccine pasta, cooked al dente
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot (optional)
  • 1-2 eggs per person
  • 1/2 tbsp of milk per egg
  • Cayenne pepper or hot sauce
  • Salt + pepper
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Green onions or chives
  • Grape tomatoes (or any kind of tomatoes)
  • Grated parmesan/reggiano/asiago/ or my favorite, FETA!

Directions:

  1. Pasta. To boiling water, add salt and pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes until “al dente”. Drain water completely.
  2. To hot skillet, add some olive oil, chopped shallot and lightly crushed garlic. Let garlic infuse the olive oil for about 1-2 minutes and remove garlic.  Add cooked pasta and coat with the olive oil. Turn heat down to med/low.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and cayenne (or hot sauce). Add a bit of cheese.
  4. Add egg mixture to pasta. Cover for about 1.5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped veggies. Stir and cover for about 1-2 minutes until spinach has wilted down.
  6. Take off heat and plate. Add grated cheese and serve.