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May 28, 2006 01:40 AM

WW Challenge!: My first Phyllo and Photo!!

  • d

Well after a Macaroni and Cheese post it makes sense that I follow it up with another post about my WW Challenge! Since my first post, I’m happy to report that all the recipes we’ve tried since have, with a little creativity and smart substitutions, the recipes have turned out great! I’m especially proud of these two….

The first is Sausage and Spinach Phyllo Rolls. I was especially eager to try this recipe because I’d never worked with Phyllo before! And as an added bonus, it allowed me chance to check out a few great gourmet stores.

I got the Phyllo at Surfas and was just blown away by their selection, all by Pegasus! Regular, Country, Whole Wheat, even Chocolate!! I ended up picking up the country because it said it was for casseroles and meat dishes, since I knew how delicate the sheets were going to be so I wanted something that would be more forgiving until I learned to handle the dough properly.

I got the turkey sausage at Bob’s Market, a Santa Monica market with the most amazing, delicious and best of all, well priced fresh made sausages! They have Bangers, Choritzo and Lamb Sausages, which we picked up along with our ½ pound of Sweet Italian Turkey ones. :)

After picking up these goodies, we went straight to work…

In a skillet we sautéed some a chopped large sweet onion in a bit of olive oil. After they reached a proper sweat we added the sausage with a bit more fennel to kick up the spicing. Once all browned, we folded in about a ½ lb of baby spinach. The recipe originally called for frozen... BLEH! But the baby spinach tasted and looked so much better. We waited for the mixture to cool a bit before adding one beaten egg to act as a kinds glue so it would all stick together.

And now you maybe wondering… exactly how is this a low fat ingredient since Phyllo is usually put together using butter? Well… use PAM. Actually, we used Spectrum Naturals Canola Oil Spray. What the procedure was: spray one sheet and then place on top and spray that one. Fold the pasted sheets in half and spray both sides and then place the filling and roll. I made a total of four rolls and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment in a 375 oven for 25 minutes.

And what came out were beautiful and really tasty!! We severed the sausage rolls with baby string beans. But I have to admit, while the dish did indeed taste great, the Phyllo was a bit bland and a couple of days later when we used up the remaining sheets and used butter, it tasted WORLDS better. Nevertheless, we were willing to make the sacrifice since a healthy serving of two rolls were 6 points.

Our next recipe, was Eggplant and Ricotta Rolls with Red Pepper Pesto. I am also proud about this recipe because I was finally smart enough to actually snap a picture of it! I just got my digital camera so I hope to snap more of my experiments! :)
But first, the recipe…

We made the Red Pepper Pesto first. Once again, using fresh ingredients really made a difference. The recipe called for jarred red peppers, but instead I broiled 1 fresh red pepper. After they sweated properly and I peeled them, I added two Tbs of chopped pesto, 1 garlic clove, 2 Tsp. of Balsamic and a pinch of salt into a food processor and the pesto was made. The pesto was mostly the red pepper and it reflected it in color and taste. It was slightly sweet but had a wonderful charred taste. I originally had forgotten that this recipe had a sauce to go with it, so I bough SO his favorite sauce, Bruchetta, he liked this topping just as much!

Then we made the eggplant rolls. Which were amazingly simple. We sliced a large eggplant into 8 Slices with out monster mandolin. Then also sprayed them with the Canola oil spray and placed them under the broiler for about 3 minutes each side.

Once out of the broiler we laid fresh basil leaves on top of them and then spread on a mixture made of 1 ½ cup low fat ricotta, ¼ parmesan, 2 ounces of chopped procuitto, 2 Tsp of rosemary, ¼ Tsp Nutmeg and pepper. We rolled them, spooned the sauce on top and placed a tiny basil leaf on each. We served with Warm Pita bread and Hummus. And it was absolutely my favorite dish we made so far. A serving of two rolls was also 6 points.

After dinner, I packed up the remaining two rolls to take to lunch for me… I saw how cute they looked in the little container and I decided to snap a picture! So here is it is! My Chowhound Picture Debut!! Hope you like it and now you know how you can make it yourself! :)



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  1. Wow! After weeks of work travel and little time to visit this site, what a great post to come back to. :-)
    Both of the recipes sound delicious. I'll bet you found that working with phyllo is not as difficult as it first sounds. And I love the eggplant pic -- will definitely be trying that recipe. A question for you: did you use standard globe eggplants, and if so, did you have to salt the eggplant slices before using?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dev

      Yup! A large purple globe one. Using the Mandoline really made the difference (We have the large XO one).

      And no, the recipe did not call for it to be salted. I think because it was cooked just by being broiled, so it gets a bit dried out that way... I do salt it if it's cooked in a 'wet' method (Like in a pot or in a lasagne. :))


      1. re: Dev

        i think the trick with eggplant is to slice it very, very thin. i read an article recently by a fine old italian home cook who said she never salts eggplant.

      2. Dommy-

        I formerly used the commercially available cans of spray oils, but I did not like what the propellants might be doing to my cookware, let alone, my own plumbing. I found this cool spray cannister with a pump at Williams-Sonoma, you just pour what ever oil you like in to the cannister, then you presurize the cannister with the air pump which is built in to the cover, and spray.



        4 Replies
        1. re: Chino Wayne

          No need to pay WS prices. TJ Maxx and the like have these deeply discounted. I do replace mine about once a year. The canister is easy to clean but I find the sprayer gets clogged and the oil residue turns rancid so i pitch it nad buy another.

          1. re: Candy

            Yeah, I have one of those Misto things and it also got clogged and instead of a spray does a stream... :P I guess, what originally kept from using your idea Candy is the fact that I hate to create trash and pitching it every year would have bothered me. But I guess I'm kinda doing the same thing by using those canola oil sprays...


            1. re: Dommy!

              Plus you get all of those propellants and you are still throwing away a can. It would be great if Misto sold the sprayers so that you could replace them.

          2. re: Chino Wayne

            Is this the sprayer where you have to violently pump the thing continually just to get an impotent little squirt or two out of it and then start pumpimg furiously again to get another feeble spritz, over and over, until you want to kill or be killed and finally throw the thing through the closest window? I had one that looked just like your illustration. I killed it. Now, I just trust Trader Joe's that the "non-fluorocarbon propellant" in their olive oil spray won't kill me - It doesn't have any other non-natural ingredients.

            But, as long as you're raising the sprayer issue, we had a post here about that not too long ago and somebody suggested taking an ordinary pump spray bottle - such as Windex comes in, and using it for oil. So, I thank you, Chino Wayne, for reminding me that I need to head over to Cliff's Hardware on Castro and buy a simple all-pupose household spray bottle - you don't have to pump it up at all and I see no reason why it would not be the perfect tool for the job. Since those TJ's evoo spray cans cost a couple of bucks for 5 oz. of oil, I'll probably save a lot of money in the long run that way too.

          3. I just got a couple of cans of "Buttermist" ("pizza and bakery pan spray"), which is a Canola spray with natural butter flavor. I've been using it for everything, including fried eggs, as it is 0 calories (for .25 grams). I made quesadillas on the Geo Foreman that were out of this world, so buttery.
            All I know is what's on the can: Cumberland Packing Co, Racine Wisconsin. But I'm already dreading running out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll

              Hi Coll!
              Would you please do me a favor and check your spray & post what are the non-oil ingredients? I want to avoid eating weird chemicals or contributing to global warming with fluorocarbon propellants, if I possibly can. Also, if all is well - what's the contact info. for that product?

              1. re: Niki Rothman

                Hi Niki!

                Here is a copy of the label, I got mine at a restaurant supply place but I see lots of on-line places selling it.

                I LOVE this stuff.


            2. Great post, Dommy! I've got to try that eggplant rolls recipe.

              About the phyllo dough and fats issue: I've tried it every which way from brushing all butter on every sheet(it takes a whole pound for one box of dough!) to all olive oil spray (phooey on Pam), to alternating, to laying down two sheets at a time/ oiling every other sheet - and finally decided that the best balance of cutting down on the work, and taste and nutrition for a recipe using a whole box of 20 sheets of dough is to melt 1/2# butter with about a cup of evoo and mix. Also have on hand a full can of aerosol spray olive oil (Trader Joe's). Spray your pan. Lay in your first 2 sheets of dough and brush with the butter/oil mix. Then lay down the next single sheet and spray it, and alternate spraying and brushing. Lay down one sheet and spray, then lay down 2 sheets and brush. The 2 sheets absorb the greater volume of butter/oil, and the one sheet gets the more delicate spray job - so you can see the work goes quicker, and there's less chance of tearing the dough this way too. Do use salted butter - it's important for the taste.

              Also, as you're new to phyllo - never allow it to get really golden brown - tastes bitter. Remove from the oven when light brown. Also very important - if there is a bottom layer of dough, unless you are going to eat your creation immediately, remove it from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack (I put down newspaper under it) before storing, or as it cools moisture will condense and you'll have soggy instead of crispy.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Niki Rothman

                Thanks so much for the hints Niki!! I will keep them in mind as I am now brave enough to try other Phyllo recipes! Perhaps even a Bisteeya!! :)


                1. re: Niki Rothman

                  I've had good results using oil spray (usually a neutral oil) and sprinkling either bread crumbs or amaretti crumbs in between layers, depending on whether it's a sweet or savoury recipe.

                2. You inspired me to buy an eggplant today. I will give your recipe a try. I have some leftover home roasted red bell peppers from making Pimento Cheese on Friday. Tomorrow or Wed. when I can get to a store that sells whole milk ricotta I will give it a try. I can't stand that part skim milk ricotta. It is just too chalky.