It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Spinach Pie recipe

This is a Greek dish. If you opt to form it in rectangles (or triangles) of phyllo pastry, it’s spanakopita. Mind you, phyllo is high-fat, and high-calorie (all that yummy, yummy butter). Phyllo is also exceedingly (delectably, wonderfully) flakey. And fiddly. Still, I looooove spanakopita. Love it. Were I making it just for me, I’d forgo any concerns about fat and calories once in a while, just for the decadent pleasure of phyllo.

However. Phyllo in the hands of five toddlers, people, is messy beyond belief. You think glitter is hard to eradicate? Phyllo crumbs distributed by the enthusiastic eating of five toddlers gives glitter a solid run for its money. Glitter, it might be noted, does not attract ants. Nor does it rot. Or leave grease smears.

So we skip the phyllo, we use a pre-made pie shell, (because Mary, despite a respectable amount of culinary talent, doesn’t much like making pastry), and it is EEEEEEEEEEASY!

Truly easy.

(Though to date the prepared pie shells I’ve seen in our grocery store contain lard. So much for this being a vegetarian-friendly entree for Jazz. Either I serve it on days she’s not here, or I buckle down and make the damned pastry.)

Jazz doesn’t get spinach pie too often…

one frozen pie shell, prepared according to package directions
1 onion, chopped fine
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
3 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese (or a combination of cottage cheese and crumbled feta)
1 tablespoon dried dill

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix everything together in a bowl.
Dump it into pie shell.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before eating.


The kids like it room temperature. I cut it into thin slivers, and they eat it with their fingers, like pizza. Slice after slice.

November 14, 2012 Posted by | food | , , | 1 Comment

Potato-Stuffed Eggplant

This is from the Moosewood Cookbook, where it is called “North Indian Stuffed Eggplant”. I’ve had the cookbook for years, it no longer has a cover, and have no idea which Moosewood Cookbook it was, except that it was in easel format when I bought it. I don’t think it was any of these… (Hey, and look! Cornell has the definitive Moosewood collection. Heh.)


2 medium eggplants
4 cups cubed potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

2 tablespoons oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 t ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 t turmeric
1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 T minced fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup green peas or corn niblets
2 T lemon juice

sesame seeds (optional)


Leaving stems on, slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on baking sheet, and bake at 375F till tender (~30 – 45 minutes).

Meantime, boil potatoes till tender, drain. In large bowl, mash potatoes with cream cheese.

While potatoes are cooking, sauté onions and dried spices for 1 minutes, then add ginger and garlic and continue to cook till onions are translucent. Add carrots, cook 5 minutes. Add peppers and peas/corn, cook only till hot through. Stir in lemon juice.

Add vegetable mixture to potato mixture.

When eggplants are done, remove from over (but leave oven on — the eggplants will be going back in there in a few minutes!) Gently turn the halves over and mash the pulp, being careful not to break the skin. Push some of the pulp aside to make a hollow. Mound a quarter of the filling in each eggplant half. Garnish with sesame seeds, if you like, then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 – 20 minutes.

March 26, 2012 Posted by | food | , , , | 1 Comment

We love beets!


I’ve been getting a weekly delivery from a local organic farm. You never know what will be in your box when you open it. This week was kale, squash, cilantro, tomatillos, potatoes, tomatoes, lots of green peppers and beets. Lots and LOTS of beets.

So today’s menu included mucho beets. This recipe is taken from Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Argentina through Zambia (commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee, published by Herald Press, edited by Joetta Hendrick Schlabach), a really fun cookbook given to me by my wonderful children last Christmas. (By all of them? By just one? I can’t remember… I suspect the great-with-gifts Haley had much to do with it, though.)

Lentil Salad, from Ethiopia

In pot with lid, combine
1 cup dried lentils (250 mL)
2 1/2 cups water
Bring to boil. Cover and cook on low heat until tender, but still somewhat firm, about 25 minutes. Drain.

Peel and cut into tiny bits two to three medium beets. (About 1 cup.) Cook till tender in a pot of water. Drain.

Mix in medium-large glass bowl:
3 – 4 T lemon juice or vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) (45 – 60 ml)
3 T oil (45 ml)
1 t salt (5 ml)
1/2 t pepper (3ml)
1/2 cup red shallots or onions (125 ml), cut in thin strips
1 – 2 hot green chili peppers, cut into thin strips, 1/2 inch (1 cm) long
(We rarely have these in the house, but we ALWAYS have a jar of banana pepper rings, so I used those, minced up, about 1/8 cup minced.)

Add lentils and beets. Toss to mingle ingredients well.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Anna asked for three helpings. Timmy ate two. Emily said it was “a bit spicy”, but managed two helpings (second helpings are always entirely voluntary!) with frequent sips of water. Even baby Noah managed to ingest some. Not sure how much, but there was a great deal of red on his face, hands, and tray, and not too many visible beet bits…

Warning: beet juice stains. Bib up well, and/or strip them down to their underwear!

We ate this with a beet-greens salad. (Of course!)

Beet greens (I used the greens from the 3 beets I used in the above recipe. It made about, oh, 5 cups?)
1 green pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 onion
(These are the ingredients I had that I thought would taste well together. If you have something else you want to toss in, feel free!)

1 T oil
1 T vinegar
(and, if you like a bit of zing, 1 T juice from your jar of banana pepper rings…)

Take the leaves and stems from your beets and wash well. Put three or four leaves in a neatish pile, one on top of the other, on your chopping board. Roll them up, lengthwise. (So you have a long, skinny roll, not a short wide one.) Slice the greens across the top of the roll, so you’re making short, skinny strips of greens. Put them all into the bowl. Don’t stop when you get to the stems, either! Keep chopping! The stem bits taste just the same as the greens, and add a little crunch to the salad.

Finely chop peppers, cliantro, and onions.

Whisk oil, vinegar, and pepper juice together and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat well.

They were enthusistic about this than the lentils (no requests for seconds), but it went down all right.

Tomorrow? Sweet and sour beets!!

September 25, 2008 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments