Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Funday

Its Sunday. Easily my favorite day of the week. Today also happens to be the first Sunday where I have not had to worry about a quiz, an exam, readings, studying, or discussion board posts in FOUR MONTHS; this calls for the a celebration... or the standard Sunday Funday.

Typically I like to spend my Sundays in the close company of good friends, family, food and wine, but based upon this dreary weather and my ransacked house I think my day will be devoted to tidying up and cooking a lovely dinner for the man [local pork chops stuffed with sausage, celery, apple & arugula, brussel sprouts, and I really need to do something with the eggplant that is dying a slow death in my refrigerator]... oh, and enjoying some vino of course. I would also like to spend part of today wrapping up the ongoing "tea party" of blog entries, so let's just get that did right away.

First: Spinach, Parmesan & Pecorino Phyllo Cups

You will need:
1 package of Phyllo Cups [typically 15 per package. usually found in the "desserts" area of the freezer section, hidden amongst various puff pastries & pie shells]
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1- 10 ounce package of frozen, chopped Spinach. thawed and excess moisture squeezed out.
1 small onion, small dice
1/4 Cup non-fat Greek style yogurt
1/3 Cup grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheese blend [typically ambiguously labeled "Italian cheese blend"], plus 3 Tbsp or so for finishing touches.
1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
dash of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper, as needed

Cooking & Assembly:
1. Add the oil to a saute pan that has been pre-heated over medium heat. Once the oil is hot [no more than 15-20 seconds], add your onions, chili flake and pinch of salt to the pan.
2. Allow the onions to cook until translucent and slightly golden, stirring often to avoid burning.
3. Once the onions are softened, add the spinach and a pinch of salt and saute with the onions. Let the spinach cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Mix in the 1/3 Cup grated cheese and yogurt. Finish with the White Balsamic Vinegar.
5. Give the mixture a taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
6. Transfer mixture to a plate and allow to cool.
7. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
8. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the phyllo cups on top.
9. Fill each cup with the spinach mixture [any leftover filling is awesome in scrambled eggs or tossed with hot pasta for dinner].
10. Sprinkled the reserved grated cheese over the tops of the filled phyllo cups and transfer to your preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes or so, or until just golden. These can be served immediately or at room temperature.


Last: Bacon, Avocado & Tomato Sandwiches
because really- who needs the lettuce?

Soft Wheat Bread, 16 slices
2 packages of bacon, cooked and cut into thirds [only cut them if making tea sandwiches]
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 ripe Haas Avocados
1/4 Cup loosely packed fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1 ripe Lemon, juiced
Salt & Pepper, as needed
*if making tea sandwiches you will only need 1 package of bacon, 2 tomatoes, 1 avocado, and a pinch less basil.

1. Slice the avocados. Remove the pit. Cut each side of the avocado in half, then gently remove the thick skin.
2. Put the avocado meat in a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the chopped basil- mash it all together. Taste & adjust the seasoning as necessary, but remember that the bacon will be somewhat salty so a mild avocado mash is just perfect.
3. Line up 8 slices of bread. Spread a layer of avocado on each, if making tea sandwiches this should be a thinner layer. 
4a. Follow the avocado with 2 thin slices of tomato, arranged to cover most of the sandwich.
4b. If making tea sandwiches: place one slice of tomato in the middle of each slice, and top the tomato with 4 pieces of cut bacon. Be sure to arrange it so that when you cut the sandwich you do not have to go through the trouble of cutting through the bacon and squishing your beautiful sandwich.
5a. Top the tomato with 2 to 2.5 slices of bacon. Finish the sandwiches by topping them with the remaining bread. Serve or wrap up for lunch or a picnic!
5b. If making B.A.T. tea sandwiches- cut off the crusts and cut each sandwich down the middle. Arrange on a platter and serve!

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