Spinach banitsa

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Everything just like the original, but with spinach and a little green onion — 1 pound, and 3: More of both wouldn’t hurt — the veggies give it a nice body.  This is the only way to make a pita/pie/burek/banitsa…  Two leaves work fine, though, obviously, don’t always hold back the bursts.  Note that — three (3) — is probably the optimal number to use per roll.

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3 easy pieces

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After vowing to steer clear of indian dishes for a while…  Well, there we were at Patel Bros. with papdi in our hands.  So it goes, but rather simply this time, reverting to a favored few, and fortunately, fairly easy dishes.

Methi malai, finally done right — how does the mud adhere to the fenugreek so firmly?  Other than the forty rinses, a fairly straightforward preparation.

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Likewise palak paneer, though, blender failure continues to be an issue:  What sort of blender is unable to blend tomatoes?  Or, onion?  Spinach?  Future purchase should be considered.

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Lastly, the papdi chaat.  The only fussiness with this is making fresh chutneys.  No black salt, so not quite right — but quite alright!

A terribly tasty trio.

Veg. recipes of India

Tried and true, stick with whatcha doMom’s birthday feast: Onion pakora, samosa, lauki kofta, palak paneer, and methi mushroom – served with naan, of course.

All but the pakora from VegrecipesofIndia, one of the finest, best documented and extensive collections of recipes around.

The methi was somewhat lost in the mushrooms, though, still good. Her palak and the samosas are the best version we’ve had, and the often raved Lauki Kofta is one of the most outstanding dishes ever tried. Made this time with butternut squash – absolutely, ridiculous match for the spices and the sauce. Outstanding.

Birthday desert was a mound of Ari’s famous chocolate cookies – Grandma’s favorite! Presented with aflame candle atop!

Fantastic feast if photo failed – parents pleasantly surprised by the least peculiar meal they’ve ever had ahome.

spinach and sun-dried tomato burek

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The alphabet continues to make a course around the Mediterranean, and as it goes, it becomes clear that the gastranomic delineations by segmented land-mass are predominantly titular. Bureka down between borek, byrek and burek – undefined and juxtaposed. Claims are made for each in several forms, equally by those skipping stones across the Adriatic with winsome muse to hit the Apennine heel, and those descending Tell Atlas heights and abandoning sights of the sea to seek Barbary Monkeys on a pass through the Chiffa Gorge .

The former fortuitously fomented phyllo folly – the dough of a myriad names: yufka, gollash, pete, jufka, kori za benitsa, and on the Balkan Peninsula, the leaves of such are spoke as kore – though never here, the coincidence of letters evoking chills at thought of the last of the Greyhill Paladins, cursed scourge of the realm.

Names, shapes, places and preparations aplenty and long loved, springing memories of mom’s and always – albeit brief – morose reflection on one cool school night, long ago, the Pyrex vessel in which the pastry baked, exploded! Disheartened eyes reflected many minutes on that shattered vessel, contemplating the risk of internal injury until Mom stated the obvious, and it was ditched. Pity, though it led to a rare weekday night out and to Xoci’s, which is always festive, always fun.  And, it felt like a bit of adventure that night: The news excitedly blurted at dad the moment he stepped over the threshold — bewildered by the incoherent, fervid chirping of the short mammals that persisted in occupying his home.

There is one manner of borek preparation – or, some similar composition – that is more scarcely seen, but when done with mastery produces a truly wonderful comestible. It is quite likely this is not even considered the same dough, or dish, or, that it is the origin of the tradition, stacking buttered or oiled leaves. Withal, it is remarkable to watch the development, a ball of dough — well, well kneaded dough — pulled from a large bowl of oil and stretched so thin as nearly transparent, then folded in layers around the filling. The result is not the shattering flakiness, or, sometimes unfortunately grease-sodden cube of accustom — rather a dough with a slight resistance, or chewiness to the bite, that carries a gentle sweetness. When done well, it is outstanding. Otherwise, the result is demonstrably unpracticed, unlearned and results an unpleasant sliminess, overt greasiness, yet, nonetheless is nearly palatable and rarely finished.

As considering a Shqiperian aggregation, the thought to this method intrigued and imagined fantastic expedition to the arid Korab highland kitchen of an overfastidious cuisinier, idled with time, grown an obsessive occupation for the thinnest pane that yet could hold its own – and further, still, its foraged filling. Clever! But so likely lost to failure the first fling, though not acquiesce – and further folds were overlayed until, in time, a remarkably clever, and delectable success.

Those ideals drained like the Dlaboka Reka when fished instructions from a moments search bore tutelage on methods of rolling out the dough, with near exclusion. The speed and uniformity of the dough produced by those skilled at using a dowel is nearly as impressive as the oiled arms of the legendary dough benders. Fortune for the famished that either method demands time acquired skills, deferring reiteratively to Athens, worn acquaintance holding shine to the skinny – a shortcut that paid off in multiple, coincidently.

Winding through the sheds across the cut where Buzzfeed fabled deer and foxes frolic with impunity, a Yoder double deal on spinach brought thought to the balance of that dough quite opportunely, as a series of setbacks sank Sunday’s scheduled tamales – a head-slap realization that the husks weren’t pre-soaked that faded to failure just a moment later, recognizing there weren’t any to begin with, but, at least the filling’s ready…

There, but bore the burek. The classic spinach and feta, sometimes with leaks, never tires, the long time family favorite – as why the sadness that night the Pyrex powerfully perished. Leeks and eggplant, too, make fine fillings, and this modification as well, subtler than the classic but sublime, more nuanced and intricate than the others, the flavors continuing to develop as each bite is chewed, and gave surprise to how well the flavors adjoined. Slight savory from Raclette, a pinch of pungency from the sun-dried tomatoes, nicely rounded with the spices.

A carmalized onion, easily a pound of spinach, 1/4c S-D tomatoes, 1/3 c crushed or slivered toasted almonds, dill, mint, allspice (1,1,1/2 t?) seasoning and amusing reverie of furry creatures skipping furiously, skillfully ahead of racing locomotives on the ties between the rails overlaid upon the sunken passage there in mind’s eye only, now, taking care, avoiding the sharp, shattered glass-strewn, weed-overgrown gravel between.  Somewhere overhead on an overpass that now, too, exists alone in memory, a frail, young boy hops a tall fence to defend a puny pigeon in peril from the salivating eye of a hungry hawk.