Spanakopita has always been one of my favorite Greek dishes. Unfortunately, since I have developed a sensitivity to spinach (of all things, right?), I can no longer have a traditional spanakopita. However, making spanakopita with alternate ingredients has been in my bucket list of cooking.
|Served with a quick Greek-style salad|
Kale actually gave the ultimate substitute. It gives me the green look of spinach and great nutritional value. It is also good that I love kale and it has become one of our staples, particularly the curly kale. In fact, if I eat more kale! My hair may turn curly and green.
The docs also gave me specific orders to avoid feta cheese (ugh), something about it being a soft cheese. As a result, I have another challenge in my hands. I can have cream cheese, so that gives me a start, but it would not give me that distinct feta taste.
Since I have some of the basics, I have been sleeping with and meditating on the cookbook that we bought at our favorite Greek Festival in Oakland. I also have been researching recipes on the web. It is classic me: I went into my usual analysis-paralysis.
Then I procrastinated since I did not want to bake in the summer: 90 degree temperatures, you know. But now that it's winter, I don't mind a hot oven (in fact, I welcome it). It is time to pursue it.
|Preparing the parcels|
I decided that Christmas week would be the perfect time to try this recipe out. I have a lot of time and I can get what I have been visualizing into reality. Besides, I should complete my goals before year-end.
And to make it more difficult for me, I decided to use the parcel technique that I learned from Giada and initially used in my baklava. I figured this will make my kale-o-kopita more portable.
This time I was well-prepared for working with phyllo. I have a small kitchen, so I cleared my counter space. I needed to hang the cook book from a hanger to create more room!
Here's what I have so far. Please note, this was only tested once... let me know what you think.
Mad Gourmet’s Cheesy Kale Phyllo Parchments (or Kale-o-kopita)
Based on several Spanakopita recipes from Kali Orexi!
A collection of recipes by the Philoptochos Society of the Ascension Cathedral
In Oakland, California
- 1 bunch of kale, about 10 cups of kale
- 1 leek (about a cup)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz cream cheese (I used light)
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp of Italian seasoning, divided
- 15 sheets of phyllo
- About a stick of butter, melted
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- Cut kale in fine pieces and squeeze the water out. Set aside.
- Cook leeks in olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add kale, cream cheese and Parmesian cheese to the leeks (I microwaved the cream cheese for about 30 seconds to soften before adding to the mixture). Mix well. Set aside.
- Melt butter and let cool. Mix olive oil in the butter.
- On a dry work surface place 1 sheet of phyllo. Using a pastry brush and the remaining melted butter, lightly cover the entire sheet of phyllo with melted butter and olive oil.
- Cover the first sheet with a second sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter mixture. Continue until there is a stack of 5 sheets of phyllo.
- Cut the stacked phyllo rectangle into 4 equal pieces (Cut lengthwise into 2 pieces and widthwise into 2 pieces. This will end up into a rectangular shape).
- Carefully press each cut piece of phyllo into greased muffin tin cups. Press 2 tablespoons of the kale mixture into each of the phyllo cups.
- Gather the ends of each of the phyllo squares and tuck to make a sachet shape.
- Continue shaping the remaining sachets in the other mini-muffin tin.
- Bake until the edges of the phyllo are golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.
|Yummy! Looks just like spanakopita!|
One bite brought my husband and I back to Greece, strolling through Plaka or exploring the alleys and streets in Mykonos or just relaxing in Santorini. It was great.
Although, I thought it can use a bit more tweaking, my husband thought it is perfect as it is. I think it can use more Italian seasoning to make the cream cheese taste more like feta, maybe another half teaspoon or a full one. I could try to use fresh herbs too, but that would require more.
My other dilemma when I was planning this was what to do with the extra phyllo. I remember the last time I used phyllo, when I made bastilla, I ended up with a bunch of extras. This time by accident, I bought a packet that has two separate phyllo rolls (YES!) which means I will can have another phyllo adventure mid-January.
|Bonus! Phyllo cups!|
I still ended up with had some extra phyllo, about six sheets. So, I made myself some phyllo cups! It’s cheaper than buying a packet. Then, I can use it to get a pre-taste of my creation or for some cheesy sundried tomato scrambled egg cups the next morning.
In my curiousity, I asked Google translate what kale is in Greek. Google says that Kale in Greek is λάχανο or lachano. So, does this make this Lachanokopita?