“maybe, just one more half?”
“no, you old fatso.”
“maybe, just one more fourth?”
“no. I am going to save that other one for you for tomorrow, and the last one goes in her backpack for her hiking trip.” (she is going to climb a 14er with some of her schoolmates.)
“if you eat it tonight, you will cry tomorrow.”
“I will not cry.”
“You will cry. ok, I’ll make them again tomorrow.” (tears of joy)
Ok, normally I don’t see this much emotion at dinner (well, actually he did not drive the tractor home until 8:45, which in my book is past dinnertime) but then again, I have never made Spanakopita before.
I have been in a funk, daze, what-in-the-hell am I going to cook? mode for quite a while, after getting burned out this summer. Whenever I ask the man what he would like me to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner, he always says the exact same thing, “Oh, something easy.”
hmmm. I need to look that up in the dictionary. At least he is a good customer.
Anyway, my sweet friend loaned me her cookbook, The Boreal Gourmet, Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest, which has lots of farm recipes from Canada, and I dug into it this morning.
So this morning I was helping him forever switching tractors from baler, tedder, rake… and which one was out of fuel, dead, broken… and going down valley for him to rake the last bit of hay he mowed day before yesterday, and I picked rose hips and looked for shaggy mane mushrooms. We then had to go to our neighbor who had mowed and raked mostly broam and weeds and the man wanted me to square bale it. So he and the man neighbor were on the ground, yelling all sorts of instructions at me, and giving me all sorts of conflicting hand motions, and the weeds were definitely not going in the baler like I am used to.
I get nervous with an audience, especially from the testosterone section. The windrows of “hay” were so skimpy and the turns were so sharp that I had to stop and back up the baler too many times. I am not very good at backing up a trailer. One too many hand motions and instructions from the testosterone section caused me to turn off the tractor right there and immediately walk to the POS and drive home.
(side note: Personally, I would appreciate the decline of any snide and snarky comments about how women/girls do not know the universal heavy equipment hand motions, which of course we have never been taught. What we are bombarded with, (besides the fact that we are stupid because we are girls), in the heat of the moment when there is about to be a major catastrophe, is, let’s say, conflicting hand motions. Is the universal, heavy equipment hand motion for STOP, a raised hand with a closed fist? I thought it was, after trial (TRIAL!) and error (ERROR!). But for some mysterious reason, many of the instructing hand motions for STOP, slow, just a little bit, perhaps slow down, shut up… are: hands flat- waving back and forth which means: “no more, or hold it right there, or don’t move until I give another hand motion”, right hand with the thumb and finger about two inches apart which means: “just a little bit longer, maybe 5 or 30 minutes, because I think it is going to rain” or could mean: “make an outer round with the tractor, for a little bit, and then stop because it might rain” or “just keep the chain tight while you are pulling me up a steep hill, as fast as you can, so I can pop the clutch and get this POS started, but do not change speed and yank the chain.” ugh.
I do have a convenient, universal, hand motion to reply to all of his hand motions. Works every time.
The man finished baling.
I was itching to try one of the recipes in that book.
Spanakopita. I didn’t care that I did not have, or even want to use, exactly what the recipe called for, but the thought of actually making phyllo dough? easily? now that was intriguing.
(this is what I used tonight, adapted from her recipe)
2 cups organic white flour
1 tsp salt
make a well and add one tablespoon olive oil
add 1/4 cup very hot water and incorporate with fork
add 1/4 cup hot water and keep stirring
add one more 1/4 cup hot water and stir well.
Form into rough ball, turn out and knead for at least 10 min until smooth. No need to flour board.
Cover dough in bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for half hour to an hour.
So I go into the garden to see what I have to put in this pastry.
I have some very tall spinach stalks that are bolting, and some swiss chard. I also cut lots of rosemary and sweet marjoram. You can use kale or any type of greens, and any herbs you like.
Wash and chop the greens and herbs into small pieces.
Dice one onion. (you could also use green onions, which I did not have.)
The total volume was about 8 cups.
Add three tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 heaping teaspoon of herbal salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried chile powder.
Divide all the greens into four equal bowls, which will make it easier when you are making these.
After the dough has rested, divide it into four equal parts.
Roll one part out into a 14 to 16 inch circle. You will have to roll it out as far as you can, wait a bit for the dough to rest, and then you can stretch it further.
Sprinkle on one spoon full of olive oil onto the dough and rub it all over. Spread out the greens all over the dough. The real recipe calls for feta cheese, which I did not have, so I dotted on goat cheese and parmesan cheese.
Fold in both sides to one fourth, then fold them again to one half.
Pinch and fold in the ends.
Coil it around and press the ends together. I found that it cooks better if you smoosh it all down as a flat circle.
Heat coconut oil hot in a cast iron pan and cook for about 3 to 4 min on each side.
Her recipe said 5 to 8 min per side, but mine were getting too dark way before that.
Roll out the dough and fill the other ones as they are cooking.
The man was still not home from his piddly square baling, but I was pretty sure his arm would be sore from heaving all those beer bottles to his face.
I had hoped he might drive up while at least one of the spanakopitas was still hot. I rushed through the room where Non was on her computer, brandishing a large spatula screaming, “Spanakopita!”, going outside to see if the man was in sight. Thank goodness she was not on skype with her friends from across the pond, who would have said, “Hey, I did not know you were Greek? Who is the fat lady with the spatula screaming Spanakopita?”
As the last one was on the stove, he pulls up. Coming into the kitchen, he swoons a little bit, and nervously says, “Did you write the recipe down?” Even looking at these things, you can tell.
Crispy, crunchy, melty. hmmm. Something to make again.
So, Non and I had already shared one, at normal dinner time, and I wanted him to have one, and one tomorrow, and save one for her hiking trip. He scarfed his down in no time flat.
Looking around like a barnyard pig, he says that he really does not care if he has that other one tomorrow, and could he not just have it now?
I tell him that I know he will cry tomorrow if he eats it now.
Reason prevails, and I guess I’ll be making these again tomorrow. 😉
Pingback: Made-Up Lamb Momos | grassfood.
Jamie, you are an incredible writer. Your imagery and humor made my day. I love you very much, and please give hugs all around.
Haha! Well, I do have to crack myself up sometimes, as he gives me enough to cry about. 😉 xoxo