Saturday, September 22, 2012

Spinach Borek

I probably could eat nothing but borek all day long and feel entirely okay with it. Typically when I want them, I run down to a bakery and buy a few. But given how easy they are to make (expecially the spinach kind), there's no real reason for me to not make them. There're a bunch of ways to make borek, but I invariably will choose the one that takes the least amount of time. Enter puff pastry. Since I actually had puff pastry in the house, I was excited because I didn't need to make a dough for the borek. These are shockingly simple to make, and have a wonderful, light flavor to them that makes you want to eat more and more. Hope you enjoy!

2 sheets puff pastry
1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
2 small lemons
1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)
1/2 tablespoon salt, divided
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg 

Put oil, onions, sumac and a third of the salt in a saute pan. Cook over medium heat until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Add the juice of a half a lemon and turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start dissolving. Squeeze your spinach (I put the water in stock leavings or stock so it doesn't go to waste) and add it, plus the remaining salt and lemon juice, to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-low and stir well. Cook until it's almost dry looking.

Sprinkle a very light coating of flour on your board and rolling pin, and roll out your puff pastry. Cut into 6-8 pieces (depending on how small you want them), and turn your oven onto 400F. Put a spoonful of filling on one side of each of your rectangles of puff pastry. Whisk your egg and brush egg onto the pastry not covered in spinach mixture (make sure you leave enough room so the filling doesn't go all the way to the sides of the pastry) and fold over into a smaller rectangle. Push the pastry closed, removing as much air as possible in the process (basically like you're making turnovers is how you do this). Put each borek on a cookie sheet and when they're all done, refrigerate the cookie sheet while your oven heats. Once the oven is hot, put egg wash on the outside of the pastries and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until flaky looking and golden brown. Makes 12-16.

No picture, because I forgot where I'd put the camera again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bulghur Stuffed Eggplants

I've been waiting a while to give you my news (which also will explain the oddity of my cooking lately). So here we are, arrived at that time. I am pregnant. I'm at fifteen fetal weeks, and now that the genetic testing has indicated there are no abnormalities with the fetus, I figured it was time to let y'all know. The fetus also was blood tested as female, so her name will be Ilana Alex. 

I originally intended to make these using soujouk, but that didn't work out because the smell of the sausage nauseated me. So instead, we decided to make this dish (mostly) vegan and generally preserve the overarching idea for this eggplant dish. I say "we" because a lot of of the cooking at the house lately has been me coming up with ideas and procedural information, and Ross doing the actual cooking while I run away to avoid smells I don't like, or lay down because I'm tired a lot. It works out well for us, since we enjoy working together in the kitchen (or for the kitchen, from spots across the apartment from one another). He's been pretty amazing at helping to get the food on the table, despite the 12 hour work days he's been doing.

Anyway, this recipe is really, really easy (as with most of them). It's all pretty much assemble and bake, which I like a lot. Hope you enjoy!

8 baby Indian eggplants, or 1 globe eggplant (your call)
1/4 cup bulghur wheat
1/2 - 3/4 cup broth (I used veggie with a little chicken broth tossed in that was leftover from risotto making)
generous pinches of salt
1 celery stalk, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
juice of half lemon

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
generous amount of salt
juice of half lemon

feta if you like it

Cut the tops off the eggplant(s). Hollow them out so there is still at least a half inch of unaltered eggplant at the bottom of the fruit, and a good "wall" left behind to hold in the contents*. Soak the bulghur wheat in the broth (I actually did this in the fridge overnight). Mix together the soaked bulghur, celery, salt, onion and lemon juice. Stuff it into the eggplants. Put the eggplants into a container that most closely fits them, and make your sauce.

Mix together the tomato sauce, salt and lemon juice. Pour over the eggplants. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. If you like, you may sprinkle some feta cheese over everything about 10 minutes before it comes out of the oven. Serves 2.

*You have two options (well, three, but I'm discounting throwing away the innards of the eggplant as a viable option) for the core of the eggplants. You can chop them up finely and add them to your filling, or you can stick them in your stock leavings bag. I suppose you could set them aside for another use too. I put mine in the stock leavings bag, since a little eggplant is nice in a veggie broth sometimes. But when you core your eggplants, do find something fun to do with the meat that isn't in the eggplant anymore.

No picture, because I forgot to take one.