The recipe for Savory Squash and Feta Cheese Crostata is a great way to use up leftover summer squash you might have hanging around your garden. And with regards to cheese… let’s be frank: who needs an excuse to use feta cheese as an ingredient?!
In a previous post, I mentioned that I always have stocked in my refrigerator and cupboard the necessary ingredients for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, including the irreplaceable Ion Chocolate. In addition, I always have baklava in my freezer. Yup- freezer. First of all, frozen baklava is Delicious with a capital D. Second, it is actually an amazingly delicious ingredient.
There are two things I have a hard time shaking: Cookies and Cake (Ok, three things: Ice Cream, too). If you were to mention the word ‘cake’ in a sentence I would obsess about it until I ate a piece. For example: years ago my son and I needed to leave a kid’s birthday party early. Unfortunately, we left before cake was served. That night, after putting my then 2 year-old son to bed, I made a cake in order to scratch the itch. I then proceeded to eat two (large) pieces. The same is true with cookies. Talk of cookies = me making a batch of my favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Greek Chocolate without hesitation.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Kellogg Pop Tart. To join in the celebration, I thought how fun would it be to create a homemade pop tart. Then, I thought it would be fun to “Greek-ify” it by creating a Baklava flavored pop tart. And then, I thought it would be fun to create a Greek-ified Baklava flavored pop tart with lots of icing on the top, simply because I’m a sucker for frosting and icing. And so, the homemade Baklava Pop Tart with Maple Icing was born.
Off a highway in Antirrio, Greece, there is a small rest stop that boasts they have the best and largest selection of “pita” or “pie” (and I’m not referring to a New York pie, a.k.a. pizza, or a dessert pie such as apple – I’m talking savory pies made with handmade filo dough!). I’ve frequented this particular rest stop, and can confirm their boast is justified. On any given day they serve up about 20 different pitas – cheese, spinach, leek, sausage, egg, grilled peppers… you get the picture.
The basic and official butter cookie of Greece is called “Koulourakia” (prounced Koo-loo-RA-keya). There are many different variations to the basic butter cookie. This particular recipe is a family one dating back to the 1950’s. My Yiayia Salidas ran a catering business in Jamaica Plain Massachusetts and this is the recipe she used for her clients. This secret recipe also became her in-law’s (my maternal grandmother’s) go-to recipe, my mom’s and now mine.
Introduce me to a Greek who doesn’t like potatoes, and I will call that person a liar! Greeks love to enjoy potatoes with practically every dish. A typical Greek potato is peeled, cut, slowly baked and dressed in oregano, olive oil and lemon juice. They are in a word, delicious. Today, I did not make a typical Greek potato- but a spiced-up, tasty and flavorful version of an oven-baked French fry.
Butter and Filo are BFF’s. They always get along and rarely do you see them separated. Pair those two with the likes of the even-more-buttery Brie cheese and the sweet flavors of apples and figs and we have a party. This is Greek-meets-French and because we’re wrapping and baking this tasty and popular French soft cheese in Filo, it’s Greek to me.
I have to admit, as a child I was not a fan of Baklava. Although my mother makes the best, I preferred other Greek sweets over this one. As I grew older, however, I began to acquire a taste for this buttery, syrupy, sophisticated treat in all forms and variations- walnuts, almonds, even cashews. It especially tastes great frozen, which incidentally inspired my Cinnamon Honey Baklava Ice Cream (coming soon!)- but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.