ΣΠΑΝΑΚΟΡΙΖΟ / SPINACH AND RICE

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1/4 cup olive oil

2 sweet vidalia onions, chopped

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Cavenders Greek Seasoning

1 teaspoon oregano

2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed

1 can tomato paste

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 to 1 cup uncooked Uncle Ben’s rice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place onions in the skillet. Add sugar, Cavenders, oregano, salt and pepper to the onions and sauté until translucent. Add spinach, and cook stirring for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, and adjust seasonings. Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add more water if necessary.

Serve with fresh lemon juice, a Greek salad, crusty bread and, if you’re lucky, keftethes.

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.