When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Vegan Adventure #13 September 19, 2008

Filed under: Appetizer,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Sorry, it isn’t a cupcake 😦

It’s SPANAKOPITA!!!!

Okay, first thing first, back in college I use to always go to a Greek Restaurant with A-Jello every Tuesday and Thursday.  We would sit at the bar and people watch, since it was right on the corner.  We went there so much that after I graduated I went back a year later by myself and the owner still remembered me and asked where A-Jello was.  The owner was hilarious.  The stories he used to tell :sigh:  I miss that place.  I used to always get the Gyro and a Pita Pizza with Cucumber Sauce.  I think A-Jello used to get the Soulvaki with either a Pita Pizza or Fries.  Oh the simple times.

Back to the Spanakopita.  I use to always see it on the menu and I knew what it was, but I never had the guts to order.  But every once in awhile someone would come in and order it and we would watch them take it out of the fridge and place it in the oven.  I forgot to mention that the kitchen was on the floor right behind the bar we sat at so the people outside could also watch the food being made.

When I saw this recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance, I knew that I would eventually make it.  Especially since Isa wrote a note above the recipe that it was approved by Terry’s boyfriend, who is Greek.

For the recipe I decided to modify it a little to make it easier on myself and cheaper.  I decided to use 1 ten ounce package of frozen spinach instead of the 2 bunches that was called for in the recipe.  I had no idea how big a bunch was and figured one box of spinach should be good.  I used only 1/2 cup of fresh chopped dill instead of the full cup.  The filling was still tangy and you could taste the dill, so this made me feel like 1/2 cup was good.  For the phyllo dough I actually only ended up using 2/3 of the package.

I decided to make the triangle shapes and I followed the directions exactly.  I guess my phyllo sheets might have been smaller but there was no way that I was going to only make 30 triangles when I was using two sheets of phyllo stacked on top of each other and dividing them into thirds lengthwise.  It also said to use 2 tablespoons of filling for each triangle and that was WAY too much, 1 tbsp worked perfectly.  I was only half way through the dough and filling and I had already made 30 small triangles.  I decided to try something different.  I used 2 sheets of phyllo, but this time I divided it in half instead of thirds, and was able to place 2 tablespoons of filling in each and the rest of the dough and filling made 15 triangles.

Half way through making the triangles I gave up on brushing them with olive oil and got a can of Pam (canola oil) and started to spray the sheets down.  It actually went much quicker that way and I didn’t tear as many sheets.  I use to always hear hint about dealing with phyllo dough and how it is tricky and you need to keep it covered with a damp towel or it will dry out, and also that it is hard to make.  I bypassed the making by using frozen and then the whole drying out thing, I didn’t have a problem with it.  I had my damp towel on hand, but everytime I covered those little stinkers the sheet of dough would tear all over.  I finally gave up and stopped covering them and it worked fine.

The whole time I was making these I thought, “These would make good dinner party snacks.”  Then I thought about calling Fro to get her opinion on them since she is Greek.  She would know a hell of a lot more than me what they should taste like.  Overall I liked them.  They were nice and tangy and the phyllo dough gave it a nice crunch.

Spanakopita

Source: Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1/4 cup plu 2 tbsp olive oil, plu extra for brushing the phyllo

2 bunches of fresh spinach, rinsed very well, long stems removed

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped dill

2 lbs firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp dried oregano

dash of ground nutmeg

3/4 cup finely ground walnuts

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1 box frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight

In a large heavy-bottomed pot warm 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for a minute, then add the spinach, scallions, garlic, and dill.  Add the spinach in small batched if pot is too full, Saute till completely wilted and soft and a good amount of liquid had sweated out of the greens.  Remove from heat and aset aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large separate bowl mach the drain tofu (use your hands for more control) to a smooth but slightly grainy consistency.  Take the cooled spinach mixture by small handfuls and squeeze out as much liquid as humanly possible (discard the liquid); add to the tofu.  Add the lemon juice, oregano, nutmeg, ground walnuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, and the nutritional yeast.  Mix weel with your hands and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Make sure the filling is cooled to room temperature before stuffing into the phyllo.

To Make Triangles:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Take two sheets of dough; brushing olive oil generously onto one sheet, layer the second sheet on top, also brush with oil.  Score the stacked dough sheets lengthwise into three strips.  With the short end of a strip nearest you, place a scant 1 tablespoon of filling toward the top left corner of the long rectangle.  Grabbing the corner of the dough, fot it rightward so it forms a triangle, fold it towards the left to form another triangle, and continue folding in this manner (like folding a flag) till you just can’t fold anymore.  Wrap any remaining bit of dough around, underneather the triangle.  Brush with lots of olive oil and back on a baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, till deep golden brown and puffy.  These can burn easily, so watch them.

**This will make about 60 mini triangles.  For 30 medium sized, only divide the dough in half instead of thirds and follow the directions.  To reheat these, I found that placing them in an 350°F oven for 7 minutes does the trick.**

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