Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Revisiting An Old Favorite

I am keenly aware of the fact that this blog needs some new content.  I'll get there, I promise!  But, in the meantime, I wanted to bring attention to an old favorite that I revisited and edited recently, which is Theo the Greek's Spinach Pie (October 2010).  I had a group of friends over for a Ladies' Night In, and made two.  My goodness, I had forgotten how much I love it!  If you haven't read about it or tried it yet (for shame!  You really should!) I'll fill you in:  it's essentially a quiche loaded with "Greek" flavors: lots of spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and feta.  And because it has so many veggies it requires relatively few eggs and uses no cream, so I like to think of it as a modestly healthier quiche alternative.  When I made it for my girlfriends I made a these adaptations:

First, to fancy it up, I used two tart pans measuring 10-inches by 1-inch, instead of disposable pie tins, which are usually my go-to (usually with premade pie crusts in them, straight from my grocery store's freezer section).  Now, my geometry skills are a little bit rusty, but I was quite an ace back in the day.  I dug into the crevices of my brain, and using a little pi r2 action determined that the volume of each tart pan is about 78 cubic inches, or about 5 cups.  As a comparison, I figured out that a disposable pie tin, which is what my original recipe was scaled for, holds about 3 ¼ cups.  Of course, I did all this math after the fact--when I was actually cooking I poured the filling into the pans, realized it was too little, beat an extra couple of eggs and poured them on top and smushed it all around.  Long story short: using 10-inch tart pans, this recipe requires 6 jumbo eggs instead of 4.  

The rest of the volume discrepancy was accounted for by the other ingredients, which I also played with.  For convenience I used 8 ounces of feta instead of the 9 I originally wrote (a 1 pound block divided between 2 pies).  Despite the larger size of the pie, I thought it was abundantly cheesy and salty, so I'm thinking that in the future I will always use 7 or 8 ounces of feta.  I also had 35 ounce cans of tomatoes on hand, so I used those instead of 28 ounce cans, so these pies were slightly heavier on the tomato.  Lastly, I had a couple of partially used onions kicking around in the fridge, so I diced those and sauteed them first, before adding the garlic--it was probably about half a cup of onion in each one.

The moral of this story is that with such a stellar flavor combination, it's easy to add a little more or less of each of the ingredients, or add a complimentary one, and the result is still fantastic.  And if you're motivated to make your own pie crust, as I was, the result is even tastier.  (I will post my recipe for a single savory pie crust soon, promise!)  The one thing I didn't account for when baking this slightly larger version is that it will take longer to bake--nearly an hour--so plan accordingly!  

If this is the first time you've stumbled upon this recipe, or if you saw it before and still haven't tried it, I really can't sing its praises enough.  New stuff in the works, so stay tuned.

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