In The Kitchen: Spanikopita as the Main Attraction

Lately I have been trying to explore new recipes from my vast amount of cookbooks I have lovingly collected over the years. I get stuck in ruts and tend to make the same things over and over because I don't need a recipe. I am all for experimenting ad-lib in the kitchen, but sometimes trying a new recipe inspires new adventures and pairings of food you otherwise wouldn't have dared to try on your own.

I am a huge fan of Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa. And little does she know we are on a first name basis :) I have all but one of her cookbooks and 9 times out of 10 think her recipes are fantastic. She makes the simplest of ingredients and dishes seem somehow elegant and party worthy. So I set out to try her dinner party spanikopita from her Back to Basics.

My husband is greek, and with that comes a spoilage of spanikopita. My mother-in-law makes THE BEST spanikopita and I am lucky enough to now have it as a staple with our holiday celebrations. So I was skeptical in trying Ina's version, but decided to give it a shot. I spent Saturday afternoon making them and I have to say they were a bit labor intensive, but after trying them, they were well deserving of the wait and the recipe makes enough to put aside some in the freezer to bring out for some last minute dinner guests. Instead of making them in the traditional sheet pan, these were made in to large triangles and that small change made them elegant to serve as a main dish. My mother-in law's version is still the best, but I certainly will make Ina's version again, and it's a nice change to the traditional. She adds a touch of nutmeg and toasted pine nuts...in the words of Ina, "How bad can that be?"

Oh, and I tried out my new cutting board from Epicurean. Definitely reccommend it if you are looking for a lightweight and eco friendly cutting board. They come in several sizes, but I love the large one for even more surface area to make a mess!

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