Hortopita (spanakopita)

Try to get organic ingredients if possible especially the greens

Dough
4.75 cups unbleached flour or whole wheat plus more for rolling out dough
90ml olive oil

One teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups lukewarm water
One level tablespoon sea salt

Filling
1.5 kg greens mixture of kale, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens etc
250 grams Greek feta cheese crumbled
One bunch fresh dill chopped approx one cup
Handful fresh parsley or fresh oregano chopped
5 cloves Chopped Garlic,
1-2 onion or leeks
3 eggs beaten
Two tablespoons kefaotiri cheese or Parmesan
Olive oil to taste
Pinch of Salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix the flour with the sea salt, make well in the middle pour in the olive oil and water mix really well, flour up a flat surface and, knead the dough for at least 5 minutes, put the dough ball in a bowl cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 1 hour

In the meantime wash the greens and steam them for about five minutes, drain the greens and allow them to cool and squeeze out as much of the excess water, in a large pot sauté the garlic, onions in olive oil over low to medium heat, combine the drained greens and continue to sauté in the large pot, turn off the heat and allow the greens mixture to cool for 10 minutes, add salt and pepper and mix in the herbs, beaton eggs and feta cheese, mix everything well, if the mixture seems dry add more olive oil.

Punch down dough on a floured surface and cut into two balls, one slightly bigger than the other, using a rolling pin roll the largest ball to an approx rectangle the size of your casserole pan 9 x 14″ taking in account the two inch sides of the your rectangle for a lasagna pan should be approx 14 x 18, oil the pan and spread dough in pan, put all the cheese and greens mixture inside the baking pan and spread evenly, roll out second ball of dough and cover greens, fold hanging dough edges over top to seal the pit, brush top of pie with olive oil and use a fork to poke a few holes on top layer of dough, cover pie with foil and bake in oven for 50 minutes, remove foil and continue to cook for about 10 minutes in 350 oven. Remove from oven,let it rest for 10-15 minutes and then slice into serving portions approx 3″ square and enjoy.

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Dolmathes

This is a recipe that is a classic Middle Eastern/Greek dish, the egg-lemon sauce is very Greek, some use oil and lemon others use sour cream. Herbs are what really make this food shine so be very generous with the fresh herbs. Pine nuts work really well but I have used walnuts with great results. I use wild or brown rice which need about 10 minutes of pre cooking. I use brown rice cause I love the texture, nutty taste and nutrition they provide. Please comment and let me know how this worked out for you, it is time consuming rolling all those dolmathes but put on the radio and have some fun, it’s well worth it.

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef or lamb
1 jar of preserved grape leaves
8 cloves garlic diced, divided in half
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup wild or brown rice
2 tbsp dried mint or 1 tbsp fresh
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley chopped
1/2 bunch fresh dill chopped
1tbsp. dried oregano
1 handfull pine nuts lightly toasted
juice of 1 lemon juice
2 eggs (one for sauce)
1 tbsp sea salt
pepper to taste

Simmer wild or brown rice in water for 10 minutes with a little bit of oil. Drain and let cool, then add to mixture of white rice and meat. Knead all ingredients in a bowl to combine except lemon juice and 1 of the eggs and 4 cloves garlic.

toss pine nuts in non-stick skillet on high for one minute do not burn or brown too much, just enough to extract great flavour, then cut them or crush if preferred and add them to rice and meat mixture.

There is no need to boil or blanch the grape leaves unless the jar instructs you to do so. Drain leaves very well, rinse with cold water and separate them as you rinse. On a large cutting board or work surface roll grape leaves up from the stem (cut off and discard stems if long) with small spoonfull of rice mixture, sealing by folding in the sides before completely sealing the top.

In a large pot with a flat bottom pour in some olive oil and line with
some defective grape leaves that have holes.

Arrange dolmades in circular pattern at bottom of pot seam side down building up as far as the come. Do this as you roll them, if convenient. Pour water over dolmades just enough to cover, put a heavy plate on top of dolmades so they stay down and simmer steam over low heat for 1 hour. After an hour take one out and taste to make sure that rice has cooked through

Avgolomono suace

beat egg and whisk egg with lemon juice and 4 cloves garlic.

Remove dolmades from heat. Pour some of the liquid from the pot a little bit at a time into egg/lemon sauce while whisking vigorously, whisk in more liquid until all used up and keep stirring until frothy and add olive oil to sauce.

Take dolmathes out of pot into a bowl pour egg-lemon sauce over them. If you are saving some dolmathes for later refrigerate without avgolemono sauce.

1 jar of grape leaves usually yealds 30-40 grape leaves

For a vegetarian version substitute diced, carrot, celery, onion, spinach and zucchini instead of meat.

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