Monday, March 4, 2013

Mini Spanikopita Bites

I have an Aerogarden in my basement that pretty much keeps me fulfilled with fresh herbs.  They were getting a bit crazy (over-grown) so I decided to give them a trim and then needed to figure out what to put them in.  I had some leftover spinach in the fridge so decided to grab a roll of phyllo dough and a small tube of goat cheese at the store and make some appetizers.  I also found a jar of truffles and mushrooms in the fridge that I sometimes use in pasta.

I started the dice on the herbs (dill and parsley) and then added a fist full of spinach and chopped it all together.  I put the mixture in a bowl along with half of the goat cheese (about a handful) and a tablespoon of the truffle and mushroom mixture.  I added a drizzle of olive oil, a tiny pinch of salt and a few cranks on the pepper mill.  I smashed this all together and got my phyllo ready.

Now, as with most people, I suck at phyllo dough.  The first time I made these, I pulled the box out of the freezer ready to make these yummy little guys and realized you had to wait two hours for it to thaw.  Two hours?  I want to eat now.  So much for planning this one.  I set it out and tried to warm it with my hands.  After about 15 minutes, I got sick of waiting and basically broke off the strips as it was rolled up.  I divided the pieces in half bulk wise (if there are 20 sheets, make two piles of 10 each) and then cut them into double bite-sized pieces so that when I folded them, they'd be bite-sized.  Doing all of this made them quite crumbly but as I worked with it more and more, it softened and only the first few looked horrible.  I had varying shapes and sizes and dabbled on some olive oil over them to keep them together in some cases.  While I continued to crank out the monstrosities, I heated the oven to 350 degrees.  I set them all on a cookie sheet lined with a Sil Pat and made sure they all were painted with olive oil.  In they went.  It was maybe 15 minutes until they were golden brown and the filling a tiny bit oozy.  I had about 20 of them so I ate 10 and shared the other 10.  It was a hefty appetizer but not horribly so because some of the creations were smaller than bite-sized and others maybe two-bite-sized.  It all worked out and didn't ruin my dinner.  Oh, and they were quite yummy although not all that attractive.  I ended up doing the same thing again with the leftover cheese a few days later when my herbs grew in again.  I have them in the freezer.  Hopefully they'll work out from the freezer.  I'll post an update.  And the second time, I let the remaining phyllo dough thaw first.  Much easier to work with!

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