Τυρόπιτα / Tiropita

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6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound feta cheese
3 ounces grated Greek Kefalotiri cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup melted butter for brushing

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Gradually pour in the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Add the salt and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until mixture is bubbly and thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Mash the feta cheese with a fork in a bowl and stir in the grated kefalotiri, beaten eggs, and parsley.

Pour in the hot white sauce slowly while whisking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Line the buttered baking dish with a sheet of phyllo dough and brush it with melted butter; keep the remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap while you work.

Repeat with half of the phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter, and letting them come up the sides of the baking dish. Pour in the cheese filling.

Lay the remaining pastry sheets on top of the filling, brushing each with butter.

Brush the top of the last sheet with butter and, with a sharp knife, score the top sheets into strips about 3 inches wide from one end of the baking dish to the other.

Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve hot.

Παστίτσιο / Pastitsio

Pasta:
1 pound dry ziti pasta or elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 dash ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 stick butter

Meat Sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Melt 1/2 stick butter. Add salt to pan and cook until scorched. Add pasta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper and toss well; allow to cool. Add eggs and toss again; set aside.

To make meat sauce: Gently fry onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet until onion is soft. Increase heat and add ground beef, Oregano and Cavendars, stir well. Cook until meat begins to brown. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

To make bechamel sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Pour in milk all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and cool slightly before stirring in beaten eggs. Transfer 1/2 cup of this sauce to the meat sauce.
To assemble pastitsio: Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spoon a very thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom. Add half of the prepared pasta and spread evenly over the meat. Top with remaining a meat sauce. Top that with remaining pasta. Pour on cream sauce and spread to completely cover pasta. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Μπακλαβά / Baklava

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I’m told that my baklava recipe is the best ever. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed in this delectable pastry.

1-16 ounce package of frozen phyllo dough
1 1/2 pounds pecans
1/2 pound almonds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds melted butter

Syrup Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

Finely chop nuts in a food processor with 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Let phyllo dough come to room temperature in its plastic bag. Carefully unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a slightly dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan. Brush thoroughly with melted butter. Repeat until you have 10 sheets layered. Sprinkle nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 8 – 10 sheets deep and brushed with butter.

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows and then make the diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Make honey syrup while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water with a stick of cinnamon, ten whole cloves, lemon juice and lemon zest until sugar is melted. Add honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately pour syrup over it, distributing evenly over the pan. Let cool.

Σπανακόπιτα / Spanakopita

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Σπανακόπιτα / Spanakopita

Yield: 60 triangles or 1 (9 by 13inch pan)

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Seasoning
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 pound filo pastry sheets

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan.

Sauté onions and garlic until wilted. Add sugar and Cavendars Greek seasoning

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 the parsley, salt and pepper, and nutmeg

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.

Recipe by Opie.