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Greek themed tasting

Last year everyone was so helpful when I did the tea party tasting for 100. It was a huge success. This year the show is involving a greek cruise being performed at the theater so I would like to do little tastings for 100 with that greek theme. Thus far, I have considered a chopped vegetable salad with Feta and Olives, perhaps hummus and tzatziki and pita, maybe baklava. Don't have any real recipes as of yet.
Would greatly appreciate your help. This is meant for theater patrons to enter our theater, have a taste or three from this table and then go into the theater for the show.

PLEASE HELP!!

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  1. Smilingal, this is my favorite recipe 'ever' for Spanakopita, and since Amy is an actress and not a professional cook I'm guessing it must be pretty close to a family recipe. I've made this countless times, and I highly recommend some fresh fennel (not too much) as well as a tad of fresh dill. This one will give you one that is firm with a nice height and she uses more spinach, I just make sure I squeeze every drop of moisture from it (cheesecloth is good for this also).

    http://erincooks.com/amy-sedariss-spa...

    I may have some other recipes, I'll double check in a bit but hope this will start you off.

    9 Replies
    1. re: lilgi

      lilgi - I know when I have worked with phyllo pastry the cutting into neat pieces becomes problematic - in fact, that is one of my hesitation with doing baklava. How do you find it with the spanakopita recipe - to present 120 neat pieces?

      1. re: smilingal

        This is going to sound weird but it works:
        Bake it once following the instructions. After it cools down completely, bake again and let it turn just a bit more golden (of course, don't overbrown). You should get perfect pieces and a nice flaky phyllo on top.

        One more trick (I don't do this all the time though): Bake the first half of phyllo until you see it crisp a little. This helps the bottom from being gummy.

        Also, I find that when I defrost the phyllo overnight in the fridge I have to take it out for an hour before working with it. This is the best way to get the phyllo completely defrosted.

        Please try at home if you're inclined; I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

        1. re: lilgi

          That prebaking the bottom is a great idea, thanks, lilgi.

          1. re: lilgi

            I'm a bit confused --- bake the first half until it crisps? --- you mean before you place the spinach on top?

            Also- can you bake this a day in advance then heat it again the next day? Would you suggest cutting it once cooled and heating up the individual pieces the next day?

            1. re: smilingal

              Yes, if you bake a day in advance, much better. And on the bottom half it helps to crisp before layering the spinach. Please let me know if you decide to try it or if you had problems. Just make sure you have one half of the phyllo in one pan under plastic, then let a damp towel fall over the sides of the pan covering it to keep the air in there moist. Same for the phyllo you're working with (without the towel, just saran but working diligently since the dough must be completely covered at all times).

              eta: one more thing, when brushing the butter on the phyllo don't skimp on the butter, brush generously and make sure you get the whole sheet on one side (you don't have to drown it but the phyllo benefits tremendously from the butter).

              1. re: lilgi

                lilgi - the recipe was DELICIOUS! thank you! The only thing I am wondering if the phyllo sheets can be decreased - or perhaps I needed to use even more butter than I did - and I think I added another 2 TBS to begin with! - because the phyllo on top all crisped away from the pieces when they were cut.

        2. re: lilgi

          lilgi - I am wondering about how many pieces this yields? It seems to be a lot given the 5 eggs and the 1 1/2 lbs of cheese with the 30 oz of spinach! It looks yummy. I am thinking of starting to experiment this weekend. I am referring to the Spanakopita recipe from Amy Sedaris that you linked.

        3. Spanakopita (as the other poster pointed out) is a safe bet (and those of us who are lazy often rely on the bite-size Costco version). Other great dip options are skordalia (heavy on the garlic) and taromasalata (fish roe spread).

          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret

            ferret - a favorite skordalia recipe??

          2. I have never made my own Spanakopita - thanks for passing along the recipe - and I do like Costco's very much - I would imagine that I would need to set up a sterno warming tray - baking them off at home and then warming them up on the table --- do you agree or have other thoughts?

            1 Reply
            1. re: smilingal

              While you're at Costco, you could get some stuffed grape leaves as well.

            2. Retsina...and lots of it!

              1. How about a salad comprised of cubed watermellon, feta cheese, a squirt of lime juice and either a little mint or basil on top?