Spanakopita and Other Greek Goods
Get it? Other Greek goods…other Greek gods? Okay, maybe I was reaching a bit.
Anyway, on that road trip I talked about yesterday for the long weekend, we visited our host’s favourite local restaurant in Penticton, Theo’s Restaurant, which touts itself as “fun Greek dining”. I agree!
As you can see above and in other photos below, Theo’s decor is typically Greek; you feel as though you just walked into a house in Crete. What I loved is that the menu is quintessentially Greek, not just the westernized Greek dishes you see in so many city restaurants. And yet they still have many crossover items that would appeal to those less comfortable with ordering unfamiliar dishes.
We began with bread rolls and the Mediterranean delight of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which is so simple and so delicious:
I ordered Artichoke Salata, described by Theo’s menu as artichoke hearts marinated in lemon and olive oil, served slightly chilled with lemon slices and Greek olives. My photos will only reveal half-eaten food because I dove in before taking photos. Part of that was my bad memory but mostly it was because the food looked so good, I couldn’t resist!
Pita bread is of course a mandatory part of any Greek meal also. It can be served with hummus or tzatziki but is just as good when used to mop up leftover sauce :).
And of course you can’t have a truly Greek meal without some ouzo to accompany, right?
I also ordered spanakopita, described as “the famous Greek spinach pie made with paper-thin layers of phyllo pastry. Inside you’ll find a delicious blend of spinach, fresh dill and feta cheese.” I order this with a side of tzatziki always, as I find the flavours complement each other really well and you need some dip to prevent the piefrom being too dry. Everyone should get to enjoy this dish so I have included a recipe below to make your own at home; it’s delicioso and a great dose of that healthy veg: spinach (cue image of Popeye’s biceps!).
Spanakopita (courtesy of Canadian Living magazine)
INGREDIENTS (serves 15)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp olive oil
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup butter, melted
1. In small saucepan of boiling water, cook spinach for 3 minutes; drain and chill under cold water. Drain; squeeze out moisture.
2. In saucepan, heat oil over high heat; cook spinach, onions and dill, stirring, for 2 minutes or until onions are softened. Transfer to bowl; let cool. Stir in feta, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. Place 1 sheet phyllo on work surface, keeping remainder covered with damp cloth to prevent drying out. Brush lightly with some of the butter; top with second sheet and brush lightly with butter. Cut crosswise into 5 strips.
4. Spoon heaping 1 tsp filling 1/2 inch from end of strip. Fold 1 corner of phyllo over filling so narrow end meets side edge to form triangle. Fold up triangle. Continue folding sideways and upward to end of pastry. Fold end flap over. Repeat with remaining strips. Repeat with remaining phyllo. (Make-ahead: Freeze in layers separated by waxed paper in airtight container for up to 2 weeks; bake frozen for 5 minutes longer than directed.)
5. Place on parchment paper–lined or greased baking sheet; brush with butter. Bake in 375°F oven for 15 minutes or until golden.
Of course, don’t forget the wonderful Okanagan fruit that just asks to be picked. This is the loot we ended taking home…we got the end of summer/beginning of fall crop so we got plums, cherries, apricots and peaches as well as apples. Yum!
And goodbye to my deer (get it? dear? oh, groan, Anna) Okanagan friends who are so socialized it’s crazy. They stand two feet away from you in the front gardens of houses and don’t move an inch! So beautiful.