Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday---Opa!

More than once, Bret and I have discussed the many ways that Sweet Bean has changed our lives. And while it's true that we get a whole lot less sleep these days and hardly have a moment to call our own, our quality of life has improved immeasurably. Since Gillian Grace was born, we have really made an effort to get out and expose her to all sorts of new experiences. If there's a special event in town, you can usually count us in, and this past weekend was no exception. On Saturday, a day that couldn't have been better for an outdoor festival, we loaded up and headed to the Annual Greek Fest just minutes from our home.

Having grown up attending the local Greek Festival almost yearly, this is something that I was excited to now be able to share with my daughter. Not only was I looking forward to the fantastic Mediterranean cuisine, but thinking about how Gillian Grace would react to the music and dancing had me practically giddy!

And let me tell you what---Sweet Bean's reaction definitely didn't disappoint! GG proved once again that she's no stranger to the spotlight and was quick to show off her moves in front of an encouraging crowd. An adorable little guy even took a quick liking to our Lil' Miss Priss, trying to impress her with his fancy footwork and infectious grin. While Bean was entertained for a bit, she was far more impressed with the five inch stilettos of the band's lead singer, confirming my suspicion that she's a fashionista in the making!

Getting ready to go, GG was all smiles!


Here we are with one of my former, and favorite, students!  She and her mother were kind enough to give us complimentary tickets to Greek Fest! Efxaristo, y'all! (That's thank you in Greek!)

And with all the great food from this weekend's Festival still fresh on my mind and palate, I can't wait to try my hand at recreating a few of my favorite Greek inspired dishes!

Spanikopita (Spinach Triangles or Pie)
Courtesy of the Food Network

60 triangles (or a 9 x 13 dish)


* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
* 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
* 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
* 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
* 1 pound filo pastry sheets


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil. Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the filo, then cover with 6 more sheets of filo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes, Courtesy of Rachael Ray


* 1/2 pound orzo
* Salt
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
* A handful of parsley leaves, chopped
* 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* Freshly ground black pepper


Heat water in large sauce pot to boil and add pasta, cook to al dente.

Melt butter in the pot while still hot and combine with feta. Add cooked pasta to feta butter and toss with parsley and tomatoes, season with a little pepper.


Kristin @ Ellie-Town said...

Wedid Greekfest over the summer and it was delicious!

Wade & Melissa said...

I have never been to a Greek Festival. Looks like ya'll had a fabulous time! I just love the pics of GG dancing. Too cute!

Greek food just happens to be high on the list as one of my faves, so I think I may try the Spanikopita recipe. Maybe I won't pull my hair out...looks intimidating!

Heather said...

She is such a cutie!!

Those recipe look, and sound amazing! Gonna have to check them out.

Aly @ Analyze This said...

Being Greek, this post is one of my absolute FAVORITES!! GG has got some moves! Auntie Aly use to dance with my Greek Church when I was younger. I wore all the clothes, the shoes, etc! I can teach her some moves!

The video is precious! I love that she's all about it, then just sits down and does that butt hump, move my arms dance moves! So, so cute!! Opa!

I Do Declare said...

I love orzo!

Once again, GG has THE CUTEST outfit! Love it!!!

The new blog looks fantastic, too!

Jennifer said...

I am telling you, GG is headed for the spotlight. She isall around talented with her modeling, cheerleading, and now dancing. I think you can count on a good retirement with a famous daughter! I love that at this age they are have not fear and are not shy. Looks like she was having a grand oold time. And it is great that you guys are exposing her to as many things as possible at such a young age. And what is with those 5 inch heels??

Jumping Jack said...

Gillian's hair is getting so long! She's too cute! Love the outfit!

Kelly @ Blessed Mommy, Blessed Wife said...

I love GG's outfit! It looks like she thoroughly enjoyed herself :) Kudos to you for exposing GG to lots of different experiences!

Stephanie M. Page said...

I just love greek food. So so cute and yummy!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

Love Love Love the pics and her dress is so freaking cute! Ummm. speaking of coming over to eat food- can i come over and you can make me those spinach triangles! That look divine!

Sarah Ann said...

Oh my goodness! She's just darling! And that recipe looks really yummy!

Mama K said...

We used to go to the Greek fest growing up..so fun! GG is adorable...love the dancing!

And that food looks delicious!! I love Spanikopita and I will definitely have to try the Orzo dish! Yum!

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

She is just adorable! She's always smiling and having fun!

Emily said...

yummmy!! I want to make both those !! soo yummy! I love the pictures! so cute:) How do you write in your pics like that? Photoshop?

blueviolet said...

She took over the dance floor!

The recipes look divine, by the way!

Meant to be a mom said...

That is such a cute video. What a little performer. I love the little foot stomp and the spin and sit move. TOO CUTE!
You have a little performer on your hands :)

Susan said...

That lady best not be lookin' at little miss with that scowl. She's just jealous that she could never look as great as GG and she doesn't have the moves that Lil' Miss has.

Ella's Mom said...

Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog! Your daughter is adorable - and i LOVE your nickname for her! We call our daughter Bean too!

Ashley said...

We did Greek Fest in our town this weekend, too!
My daughter LOVED all the music and dancing! :)