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Old 05-25-2006, 12:44 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by mish
It has always been my understanding that it is appropriate to post a link to a recipe (even on another site) when assisting a member in finding a specific recipe..
That has always been our phylosophy ... we like to see people help each other (that's why we are all here) but would prefer that in the case of copyrighted material - you post a link to the source, not a "cut-and-paste" post of copyrighted material here. This keeps all of us out of trouble. This is in keeping with our DC Cumminity Policy on Copyrighted material - which is a part of the Community Policies you agreed to abide by when you joined DC.

Originally Posted by mish
Not to ruffle anyone's feathers... but I thought the goal here was to encourage people to visit this site & all it has to offer & stick around, exchange ideas, and make some friends along the way..
I think we have several Forums where people can get to know one another in different ways ... and when it comes to cooking questions or problems we have "topic specific" Forums where people can generally find help. Unlike a "recipe" only website - where you just copy a recipe - we have real members who are willing to help you figure out ingredients, terms, techniques, and problems.

Originally Posted by mish
Sometimes the written word doesn't always convey what someone's true meaning/intentions are, so the response(s) may appear apathetic or cocky -- which I am sure no one intended. But, it did come off a bit that way. Just my opinion.
That happens sometimes, Mish - and NONE of us wishes that to happen. People who are overtly "malicious" can generally be found under the "banned user" list within a day or two.

Originally Posted by mish
And, not to pick on YOU Michael, or any site helpers, but recipes have been removed and replaced with links...and some recipes remain - even though they are quoted from i.e. this is from Gourmet Magazine -- and those 'recipes' remain.
When a recipe is an obvious "cut-and-paste", and IF a site helper has the time to track the source down, it will get converted into a link. If you follow our DC Cumminity Policy on Copyrighted material - you shouldn't have any problems.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:43 AM   #32
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Hi Rickell --

I'm brand new to this forum and this is my first post. Your "Greek ideas" caught my eye because I've been living here in Greece for almost 20 years and cooking Greek food is a bit of a passion ...

Quick answer to philso: I noticed the butter in the recipes too. No, it's not even slightly traditional here and indeed, olive oil would always be preferred.

Rickell, I've worked on my own spanakopita recipe over a number of years, forever trying to get it just right for my fussy (Greek) husband. He's now happy and my (also Greek) neice claims I make the best spankopita she's ever tasted. Contrary to some other comments, however, I'd have to say it's not the simplest thing in the world to make -- some of the steps are a bit fussy and time-consuming, although by no means difficult.

Some other favorites if anyone's interested: pork with celery, eggplant with tomato, and that incredible sweet traditional Easter bread, tsoureki.

Now, back to browsing the rest of this site!

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Old 05-25-2006, 08:19 AM   #33
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Married to a greek also .Infact he is there right now visiting his family.And going to his nephews wedding.I also have been cooking greek for him for 30 years and have come up with them tasting better then most of what he has had.
When I do my spanakopita it is always olive oil.I also use leeks in mine instead of just chopped up onion.
I agree Spanakpita can be alittle time consuming but once you learn how to make it it goes pretty fast.

Just a curious question? have you mastered the language at all.I know quite a bit but still have trouble with it.

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Old 05-25-2006, 10:45 AM   #34
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Married to a Greek too. We always use olive oil with spanakopita. It adds a wonderful taste.

Mrsag... I'll never be able to master the language... hubby says " I speak too much like an American to be able to pronounce things correctly"... lol
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. Robert Frost
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:51 PM   #35
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Okay then, since you, ladies have a half of a century combained cooking greek expirience, why don't you share some of that sp...aaaa...no..na..kooooopiiiiita, oof, recipe with us.
You are what you eat.
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:24 AM   #36
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Hi mrsag and pdswife, fellow Wives Of Greeks ...! And hi CharlieD, too. We'll get to that recipe in a second.

Mrsag, yes, I speak Greek. But remember, it's always easier to learn a language when you're surrounded by it. Come on over and I'll teach you myself!

So, we're all agreed that olive oil's the only way to go, right? However, regarding many of the other ingredients (and this is somewhat in response to Cindy who started her own "spankopita" thread), there are a GREAT many variations. More than just regional differences, I think every family and every bakery here in Greece gives their own twist to spankopita!

I gather that outside of Greece everybody thinks that filo is THE dough to use for the crust, but please know that it just ain't so here. And filo has some pretty unpleasant aspects to it, in my very humble opinion. Not only does it most resemble shards of glass when it's fresh out of the oven, but when it has cooled, it gets very unpleasantly chewy. And it doesn't re-heat worth a d**m.

I prefer a dough that's much more similar to a standard pie crust. We can get such a thing ready-made in sheets (called "kourou") like one buys filo, or of course, you can make your own. Think about it -- it's yummy and it re-heats far, far better.

Still thinking of Cindy: I don't really think there are specific proportions to spankopita, it's very much a matter of taste and I really can't emphasize enough that there are HUGE variations. However, that being said: olive oil's a given, feta's the only way to go, and there's always a top and a bottom crust.

Healthy-minded folk and/or spinach lovers might have a good 3/4" of spinach in that layer. Folks who intend to make a piece or two into a meal might go heavy on the feta layer instead. Those of us who like our veggies with a bit of life still in them will go out of their way to make sure the spinach and other greenery is still recognizable. Others -- like my mother in law (maybe a dentures thing?!) -- will make the interior into a green mush most resembling what I used to feed my kiddies prior to teeth. Ick.

Leeks are absolutely yummy, as mrsag notes. You can use just leeks, or you can use leeks together with onions (spring onions we're talking about -- scallions, right? -- not regular, round onions!). You can even make the pie just with leeks and perhaps some dill -- that's called "prassopita" (leeks are "prassa" and "pita" as you probably know means pie). Thats INCREDIBLY yummy!

There's also "hortopita" which means "greens" pie. Or even (for your silly-but-true Greek lesson of the day) "spanikoprassohorTOpita" which means spinach-leeks-greens pie... Get my point about variations?!

Cindy, rice is something some people add in. In that case, the insides of the spanakopita are essentially "spanakorizo" (spinach rice) but without the lemon. Spanakorizo is something many Greeks eat as a main course. It's simply spinach, onions, dill, rice, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. (By the way, if rice is getting added into a spankopita, it's only partially cooked along with the onions, dill, and spinach.)

Here's my recipe, although I play fast and loose with quantities and I think everyone else should too:

1-½ to 2 kilos of fresh spinach and/or other greens and/or leeks
Spring onions (approx.10 fine – ≤ 1 cm. in thickness – fewer if thick)
A large bunch of fresh dill
2 eggs
Olive oil
Pepper, freshly ground
½ kilo soft feta
Several teaspoons of milk, evaporated or regular

A large baking pan*
Pie crust to provide bottom & top crusts for the pan(s) of your choice

Oven temperature: 350◦ Fahrenheit / 177◦ Celsius
Baking time: 20-30 minutes

* this recipe is for my own 90-cm wide oven which has, accordingly, unusually wide pans. A narrower oven and/or pans will require you to downscale the ingredients …or, of course, plan for several pans!

The complexity of spankopita comes into play in the making, although this is largely because in our house we try to achieve a difficult balance: greens not overcooked; none of the wonderful juices discarded; a final filling on the dry side. Pretty obviously, if you throw all of the ingredients into a pan and cook them and they shed (as they will) quite a bit of water, unless you fart around as we do, you're going to end up with either (a) overcooked greens, or (b) a soupy mess.

So what it comes down to is a series of procedures of draining the greens when they're cooked right, reducing the liquid, reassembling. I have it all written down because I did so for a friend a few years back -- if anyone wants it, you can PM me and I'll send it to you as a .pdf file. Otherwise, I can elaborate in another (lengthy no doubt, sorry!) post.

Another thing? The quality of the feta you use is REALLY important, however, last time I was in the States and looked at feta, I admit I got depressed. First of all, some of it wasn't Greek (Pfaaa!) and secondly, there was only one variety and it looked a bit rubbery, and thirdly, boy was it overpriced! I'm sorry about that since what you want to make THE best spanakopita is a very creamy feta (a cream-cheese consistency) because it will melt down into the greens below which is absolutely ... scrumptious!

One last thing: there's a great variety in shaping spankopita too. Little individual ones -- served as snacks or hors d'oeuvres -- would be called "spankopitakia" and they can be dumpling-ish or folded triangles. Bigger ones, but still individual can be big enclosed triangles, or even a line of filling rolled into a sheet of filo (sushi-like) and then coiled around itself like a snake. Same snake but longer can be coiled into a round pan and then served cut into individual wedges. And then there's the roll type which involves spreading filling onto several sheets of filo and rolling that up into a big, fat roll which would be sliced to serve. Traditionally, though, for home, it's cooked in a square or rectangular pan with a top and bottom crust only, and sliced into squares to serve ...

Okay, enough for one day! You Greek ladies tell me: what do you think?
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Old 05-26-2006, 06:01 AM   #37
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wow, it's great to be able to get the low-down from such an assembly of experts.
Ayrton - that's quite interesting about the other-varieties-of-crust-than-filo. i'd like to hear what your crust recipe is like. also, (and i'd presume that i probably speak for many others also), i'd like to see you post the in-depth version of your spanakopita recipe.
i also have something that i'd like to run past you.
here in japan, i can get feta if i take a train about an hour and a half, but filo is pretty much non-existant. so, no recipe in hand, i made some (actually have made some a few times), and (i may be delusional here) i'm wondering if this is even close to how it was made by your husbands grandmothers' before the advent of the frozen, packaged variety. i made a dough of water, olive oil, salt and bread flour. after kneading, i first rolled it and then stretched it out with the backs of my hands (vaguely like pizza dough, but this was on the table, without tossing). i got it to about 1 meter by maybe two and a half meters or so, about the thickness of a piece of paper, but maybe just shy of being as thin as the commercial filo, at least around the edges.
do people still make homemade filo in greece, or is it like bagguetes in france; left to the pro's?
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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Old 05-26-2006, 06:39 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by IcyMist
PSSST Bucky....its the same link :)
lol, oops, thanks icymist.

bifteki: http://www.recipezaar.com/10907

avgolemono: http://www.recipezaar.com/7602
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very, very frightening me!" Galileo
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Old 05-26-2006, 01:31 PM   #39
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Ayrton, you're wonderful!!!! WHAT A POST!!!! Thank you so much. You've given me a lot to work with. I'm probably going to make some next week.

Does Spanokopita freeze well? I'd love to make a full batch, but I would have to freeze some of it. Otherwise, I'd cut it down and make individual pieces, maybe six pieces.

Over in the states (Connecticut, specifically), we don't have too many places around here that make Spanokopita, but a couple of GREEK churches have *festivals* (fundraisers, hehe) and they make Spanokopita and Trikopita (3 cheese) and dolmathes and pastitso, etc etc etc .. and the only other place besides the churches (which is once a year), is up in Hartford (about an hour or so away) .. and you're right, each is very distinctly different. A couple of them have a somewhat sour taste. I know one of the churches ORDERS them from somewhere in New York, and that's one of the sour ones. The other church does it in-house, and they are YUMMY to the max. We always buy extra there and bring it home.

They also have baked goods there. I will NEVER make these unless my husband begs me. I could become a balloon if I learned how to make these. (grin) Would be too easy to keep snacking on these. There's one with a powdered sugar on it, and it melts in your mouth. Thank goodness there isn't a festival on, I'd be there in a flash to get some.
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:03 PM   #40
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Cindy - after posting that I started a search for my Grandmother's handwritten recipe, but haven't found it yet. Since our move, a lot of my cookbooks & recipes are still packed away.

I will say that out of all the versions I've had, I still like hers the best. No sweet stuff in it like raisins or currants; no nuts either - just spinach, chopped onions, fresh dill, & feta, all wrapped up in long sheets of phyllo dough, strudel style.

Oh - & if you wrap it well, it does freeze nicely. The last time I made it, I made 2 long strudels & froze one of them. A couple of months later, defrosted & reheated, it was just as great.

I'll keep looking for that recipe (gives me added incentive to keep unpacking books - lol!!).

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