Monday, February 18, 2008

Herb Garden

To celebrate the coming of spring I've decided to start a little herb garden. Historically, I haven't had the "greenest" thumb, but I got this mini greenhouse and seeds for basil, rosemary and chives.

Then . . . they sprouted . . .and they are growing!
I'll keep you posted on how this goes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Love, Sweet Love

Who dosen't want a little something sweet for Valentine's. . .

I decided to dip these shortbread cookies in dark chocolate and white chocolate dyed pink. Then I wrapped them up to look like boxed chocolates.

To make them special, I drizzled a few drops of the contrasting chocolate on the cookie using on a piping bag. Then I took a bamboo skewer and swirled it into a fun design.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I have a confession to make. I made Spanakopita this week and I followed the recipe to the letter -- that is so not like me.

Spanakopita is a delicious spinach pastry Josh and I fell in love with while we were in Greece last summer. We loved everything about Greece, the historical sites, the paradisiacal weather, the olive trees (as seen to the right), the lovable people, and most definitely the famous food. I haven’t wanted to try to recreate it for fear that I would totally blow it and ruin the memory. However, when I saw this ginormous container of Feta, I just had to give it a try.

Here's what I did:

I made the phyllo dough by hand because I wanted the authenic feeling. While I was rolling dough over and over again with my mom's hand crank pasta maker to make paper thin sheets, I had Ainslie at my feet, and I told Josh I felt like a real Greek woman.

So if you are adventous here's the recipe:

8 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of raki (or white vinegar)
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 cups of hot water
flour for work surface and hands

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until it holds together.

On a floured surface, knead by hand for 10-15 minutes until soft and malleable, with a smooth feel. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before using.

To make phyllo sheets for pastries, run it through the pasta machine (with settings from 1-10, with 1 being the thickest), gradually working it down to setting mark 9 on your machine.

But really I would suggest just buying the phyllo dough premade in the freezer section.

By the way, it turned out amazing! I'm sitting here consuming the last piece with flavors that take me back to a warm Grecian evening, wandering around the Agora, beneath the glow of the Acropolis. I am surprised by how well the mint, spinach and feta flavors taste together. I never would have thought of that. So, I guess it is good to follow a recipe, every now and then.