438: Spanakopita

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:03

I'm Matthew.

Molly 0:04

And I'm Molly.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:05

And this is spelled mouth, the show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all, and you can't have any today

Molly 0:11

we are talking about, well, wow, we're about to get a big agenda point, you know, out of the way right now, when I say this spanakopita

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:21

Yeah, spanakopita

Molly 0:22

or do you say spanakopita?

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:25

Well, that seems that seems like a classic like American way to say it. So I watched several, well, no, I didn't watch several videos, I watched the same intro to the same video several times from Dimitris dishes on YouTube, who's very Greek. And so I rewound the pronunciation part many times that my big question was, is it COPPA or kaput? And the answer is it's kind of in between but a little closer to Copa than cop. So like spanakopita Spanish cook spanakopita Yeah, I think we got it. Yeah.

Molly 0:58

I was definitely doing like an American span. I cope better.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:01

Yeah, no, I think I think for the pronunciation that we just did, we're getting the key to Athens, which probably now immediately we're gonna hear from someone and say spotted COVID is not from Athens. Everyone knows it's from you know, creed.

Molly 1:13

They right or hos hostile. Or,

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:17

yeah, what was the last thing anyway?

Molly 1:19

But Lesbos? Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:21

yes, I was reading a neat Anita Lowe's books solo, which is about, like, kind of high at elevated cooking for one. And in the, in the intro to the book she talks about, or maybe in the head note of one of the recipes, she talks about going with her partner to Lesbos, and like staying at it in runned by actual lesbian lesbians, and that it was like, Oh, I just think ever.

Molly 1:44

Oh, that is really, really exciting. Let's

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:47

go down memory lane. I don't really Okay, so actually, no, I do have some because this was a favorite of wife of the show, Laurie, like during her vegetarian years, which overlapped a little bit with when I knew her. And so she would make this occasionally, and I don't remember it being one of my favorite things. And so when we talked about doing this episode, I was worried that this was going to be yet another episode about a thing I don't like. And well, stay tuned.

Molly 2:16

Okay. As for me, I remember encountering it. I don't know. It's like one of those things that I remember hearing about as a child that I think might have been a bit trendy in the 80s. Right, wasn't there? Oh, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:30

think so. Yeah.

Molly 2:32

What's the soup? I've go live? No, yeah, yes. I think of the two of these things going hand in hand as being like sort of hovering near my childhood, but never actually appearing in my childhood. Like

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:48

you had a mobile over your crab. soup and spinach pie. Right. Anyway, Joe, in general, I feel like had a real moment in the 80s. I think, yes, that was used a lot.

Molly 3:06

A piano pays me in mini muffin tins. So I remember hearing about spanakopita as a kid, but I don't remember ever eating it. And I think that I probably tasted it. At some point. During my vegetarian phase. It seems like the kind of thing that would have showed up like when I was in college or newly graduated from college, if somebody had like, a potluck, or something it would have shown up there.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:33

Sure. It was, it was one of the more popular recipes from the moosewood cookbook. So that makes sense.

Molly 3:38

Which is it's interesting, because I didn't even think to open up my moosewood cookbook to look at this. But you're right. I mean, it would have been a handwritten and Molly catsynth handwriting. Right. Yeah, I think that my adult relationship with spanakopita began. relationships. I know, I know. It began a couple years ago when I went Yeah, we went to Greece for a really our first big vacation together, and it still it remains our only big vacation to go.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:11

So you went to Greece, but like on this vacation with your partner, you ran into an old flame and rekindle that relationship. And the old flame was a spinach pie.

Molly 4:21

And a little thing that was dangling from my infant, years mobile, mobile,

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:27

I guess that's what I mean. But now I'm very uncomfortable with it.

Unknown Speaker 4:33


Matthew Amster-Burton 4:35

it First of all, is it how do you say that word because like every time I want to say, oh, by OBO, Mo Mo bl if that sounds like Alabama, every every way of saying that word now feels wrong to me.

Molly 4:48

Well, and when I say mobiel I feel like the way I'm pronouncing it It should end in y u l like Moby yo you know me Moby Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:58

wow. This is this is where we've been ended up in life.

Molly 5:01

Welcome to spilled milk without pronunciation. Yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:05

think I think I don't think things are gonna get better. Like in terms of Oh, my shows mental state over over the next year. So stay tuned.

Molly 5:14

So anyway, yeah, Ash and I went to Greece in mid September of 2018. And this was, you know, it was one of those things where we were going far away, it cost money. And so we decided to go for two weeks. So we were in Greece for two weeks. And we spent by far the majority of the time on this island called Milos, and we actually got stuck there. Because the ferry system shut down because of a storm. It was a great place to get stuck. So

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:45

then there was a murder on the island. And you and ash had to solve this murder when everyone else was trying to cover it up. Right? It was some movie. It's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Oh, I've

Molly 5:55

never seen it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:57

I haven't seen the movie. I read the book. I don't recommend the book. Okay. This one? No, that is what it's about only not increase.

Molly 6:03

Okay, Ash, and I got into a little very pleasant routine. While we were on Milos, we would get up in the morning. And we would have coffee and yogurt in our hotel room. We had bought these things. And we just keep them in our little dorm size fridge

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:19

was a Greek yogurt. It was Greek

Molly 6:21

yogurt, and we had some honey and we also had bought some almonds. And and yeah, we had like a little tiny coffeemaker in the room. And so we would, we would just eat our yogurt and almonds and honey and drink our coffee. It was the most civilized I think we've ever been. Isn't that the best

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:40

when you like and can establish a routine on vacation? Because like, I feel like yeah, at this point in my life. I never want to go on another vacation where you're just like moving from one thing to the next all the time or trying to hit all the fucking museums or whatever. I just want to go and like not do stuff.

Molly 6:57

Yeah, Ash. And I actually are we want to go back to Greece and sort of have a belated honeymoon there. And I think this time, we might be totally unadventurous and just only plan to go to Milos

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:10

Yeah, honey and yogurt moon,

Molly 7:13

we can have a honey and yogurt and coffee and almonds moon anyway, so we would get up we would have this breakfast, we would put on our swimsuits and whatever sort of cover up we wanted. And then we would head out and I told you there was a cover up, and then we would head out in our like tin can have a rental car. This rental car was so cheap, and it was wonderful. It you could hear us coming down the road at rattled. So we would take the car, we would go down into town and we would stop at a bakery and pick up a spanakopita a couple of them actually, they were cut into sort of like oh pieces like a little bit bigger than the palm of my hand. So like a pretty good size slab.

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:02

So a hand pie,

Molly 8:03

a hand pie. However, this was a hot commodity. And if we had gotten up too late, we would miss the spanakopita. And that was always quite sad, then we would have to get something else. But on the best possible day, we would each get a spanakopita in like a little wax paper bag. And we would get each like a big bottle of water and this little like plastic wrapped slab of chocolate cake. And we would go to the bakery and you would pay I think six euro apiece. 12 euros total for two lounge chairs under an umbrella and you can stay there as long as you wanted.

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:43

I thought you were still talking about the price the food. He said he's paid 600 for two lounge chairs. Oh, like, did they put those in a little paper bag also?

Unknown Speaker 8:50


Molly 8:51

no, we're at the beach now. Okay, so anyway, we would go and yeah, they would have all of these lounge chairs and umbrellas set up, you would pay 12 euros for two of them. You could sit there all day. So we had our books. We had our lunch. That was the spanakopita we had our giant bottles of water and our chocolate cake for the afternoon snack and we would stay at the beach until we got tired of it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:17

How big is this island like is it's like a little teeny tiny island or like a big like Sicily size Island.

Molly 9:23

No, it's much smaller than Sicily. It is not the smallest of the Greek islands, but it's big enough that it would take us easily it could take us 20 minutes to drive to one of the various beaches. We weren't going to okay and we and I should add that like fully like a third of the island is closed off and you can even access it because it's very sort of Rocky on Anwar because

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:49

that's where the murder happened. And they put up police tape.

Molly 9:51

Yes. And and and the cover ups.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:54

Yes, exactly.

Molly 9:55

Anyway, so Um, so yeah. spanakopita became the You know, this thing that we would try to try to get each day and if we could manage to get it, it was gonna be a great day.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:07

And what do you think the flavorings were? Like in addition to spinach and Fattah? Because it seems like there is significant controversy about this, as you might expect for any sort of popular traditional food.

Molly 10:18

Well, so you know, there is the Greek, Greek cuisine uses a lot of herbs, because, well, I mean, these things are just growing wild there, or at least a lot of time and oregano. So I don't know, it was hard to say what herbs were going on in there, but I'm almost certain there was some oregano. I think there was probably some dill. I don't know about the rest. It was just I think the thing for me with with spanakopita Is it the filling the the fetta, the spinach, it all just like blends into this harmonious whole that is spanakopita flip.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:56

Yeah, that makes sense. Do you think in Greece, there's like some old guy who's still like, worships Zeus?

Molly 11:02

I'm gonna say yes. And kind of like, I'm gonna go Yes, yes. Yes. So, yeah, Ash and I both feel very nostalgic about this trip, because it was a very, like, it was a very easy trip. You know, how like a lot of trips, even trips with people you really like, don't feel easy sometimes. You know, this felt like a very easy trip. And God. Yeah, it was just, it was so relaxing. I didn't learn how to relax until I was maybe like, 35 years old. Oh, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:31

totally. I don't think I've really learned that yet. Yeah, so I just I can't wait to go back and eat more spanakopita and relax again. As I recall, the least relaxing thing about this trip was when you got back and I kept would not stop joking that you had gone to me post the island from the show. Perfect Strangers.

Molly 11:50

Yes. It was from

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:52

Yeah, so that may come up. Later on this episode. I've been like trying to hold it back.

Molly 11:56

I'm amazed that we are what maybe 10 minutes into taping this and you have not had not yet mentioned?

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:04

Yeah, no, I mean, really, that whole trip you were if you were standing tall on the wings of your dreams. Alright, so Santa COVID spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie made with Philo and fed cheese and some kind of Allium. Although there is considerable, considerable debate about whether it should be leeks or scallion. Or whether whether like a yellow onion has any place in Spanish spanakopita I think it does. Yeah, and yeah, sometimes ricotta and various herbs. Oh, I've never heard of ricotta going in there. So or Yeah, or like, like Americanized versions are often made with like cottage cheese or something called pot cheese which Laurie mentioned but I don't know what it is

Molly 12:44

never heard of it. I hold on. Also spanakopita often has egg in it. Yes, definitely.

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:51

So that's some recipes like I don't really have an opinion on this one where the other Laurie put one egg in the whole pie. But some some recipes have like the same size call for like seven eggs.

Molly 13:01

Are you serious? Yes. Wow. My cold for mine called for two eggs.

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:06

Yeah. Which which like at some point would get kind of Kishi?

Molly 13:08

Yes. Yeah. I think that you would wind up having like a quiche and feeling a certain

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:13

point. Ke TC. And my gosh, wait a minute.

Molly 13:17

Hold on. I have another I have another Greece memory to share. Yeah, yeah. But this one doesn't involve spanakopita.

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:23

Like, gooey greasy.

Molly 13:25

No. When I was growing up, so did you like Did your dad wear suits or like, you know, nice pants and shirts to work shirt it? Did he have a particular person who he went to to like, get his like pants, Hamed? Or like,

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:42

family Taylor and not that I recall.

Molly 13:45

Okay. Well, we had a family Taylor. And I remember spending a lot of my childhood going to the family. Taylor. I don't know. Whoa, a lot.

Unknown Speaker 13:55


Molly 13:57

Like a member of the family. I don't know what was going on. Family.

Unknown Speaker 14:01

What was his name? His name was Stavros Stavros Okay, he

Molly 14:04

was Greek and his wife's name was keetsa.

Unknown Speaker 14:07

Stavros the Taylor Sounds Sounds like a character from perfect.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:13

Yeah, like a like Sophocles or something.

Molly 14:16

It really does anyway, Stavros and God now I'm blanking on whether it was keetsa or kisa. Shoot anyway, they had like a little storefront. And I was always I remember as a child, I was terrified to walk around in there, because I was afraid that there were pins.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:35

Oh, no, I remember having to get something like pants hemmed or something. Oh, I was so scared. They were gonna poke me.

Molly 14:43

Oh, absolutely are then trying to get the article of clothing off after I had the worst. Ah, anyway. So yeah, Stavros and his wife. I wish I could remember her name. Anyway.

Unknown Speaker 14:56

I mean, I like patia.

Molly 14:58

I like it too. I can see They'll picture their faces. And I can still hear his voice. And every year at Easter, they would give us like a Greek Easter bread, which was kind of like a like a braided type bread with like candy eggs nestled in the top. Oh, that is so sweet. And I remember I never liked it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:19

Good, but it's a nice gesture.

Molly 15:21

My mom taught me that I had to be polite and say that I liked it. And they would always give me candy. Anyway, I wish I knew where Stavros was from. I mean, he's probably been gone a long time now. Anyway, I think that my i think i was i was fated to go to Greece because of my childhood growing up in the workshop of Stavros the Taylor

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:44

Yeah, God, I wish I had grown up in a in a village full of quaint ethnic characters like you did. I think that I turned out so differently for me with all of the folk wisdom that they would have imparted me.

Molly 15:58

Yeah, well, that's what happens when you grow up in Oklahoma

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:02

fair. Yeah. Okay. So um, spanakopita is similar to and possibly derived from Turkish burek, which is a similar flaky pie, which can also be doesn't have to be in PI form and spanakopita doesn't really have to be in PI form either because it can be made with like, you know, finger shapes or other shapes. And it is part of a family of pies of which the big three are. Yes.

Molly 16:27

Is this turning into like the Goldilocks story? It is? Yes. Okay, family pies, which is big three,

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:34

Big Three. Pie. Like mama pie, Papa pie and baby pie. Wait, this implies that there's like a dark alternate version of the Goldilocks story where she just goes into the house and eats the bears. Baby Yeah, wait, is it baby bears? That was just right or Wait, what? What happens in that story?

Molly 16:58

So remember, I think it was baby bears that was just right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:01

Okay, cuz like like, because one porridge was too hot and one was too cold and one was just right, but it doesn't seem like baby bear should be the midpoint between mama bear and I guess I guess yeah.

Molly 17:11

What is the mom always having to eat cold porridge?

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:14

Yeah, it's man. Mama Bear said the shaft in the stir anyway, so so Goldilocks came into the house and ate the big three pies which responded Copa to Europa, which is like a creamy cheese pie. And Korea Topeka, which I don't know if I'm pronouncing correctly because I did not look up a video and that's a ground meat pie.

Molly 17:33

Yes, I've never eaten that one

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:34

I've ever had any of them other than spawn a COVID.

Molly 17:37

I have had the cheese pie that sometimes would be available if the spanakopita had sold out.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:43

And according to Wikipedia, the pastry is similar the pastry meeting the pie not just the dough is similar to torta pasqualina traditional dish from Italy's Liguria region that is very common in Argentina and Uruguay, and to pita Zell yanaka, sometimes considered a kind of borik popular in Serbia and Bosnia. It's also a commendation Gibraltar where the cheddar or etom may replace the Fattah and I looked up some recipes for this. And because we're gonna have a little section later, where I have a whole bunch of probably offensive, sacrilegious thoughts about ways that I would like to improve upon spanakopita and definitely can't wait like, substituting monterey jack cheese. It was at the top of my list. Really? Yeah, I didn't dislike the fetta. But I was like, Oh, I want some like, like kind of cheap ass jack cheese oozing out of this.

Molly 18:29

That's so interesting. Wow. Okay, well,

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:32

don't worry, there's more.

Molly 18:34

Okay. Apparently garlic is a controversial ingredient. My my recipe does not call for any garlic.

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:41

So I think the moosewood recipe and the and the moosewood adjacent recipe that Laurie made do call for garlic. And I was I was in charge of chopping the onion and garlic. So I did do my part. I'm not letting mama bear do all the work. But there is this spanakopita recipe very popular on the New York Times recipe site that has some incredible user comments on it. And I would just like to read a few please. No self respecting Greek would put garlic and spanakopita or in many other recipes for that matter. Likewise, parsley has no place in a proper spanakopita recipe says someone in New York Times comment. zing. Yes. Here's another comment. We only use Greek fetish sheep goat bland and not the well known brand. It is imported from Greece and sold at a local market chain. My husband Demetrius is the son of several generations of Greek shepherds in pheebs Holstein prodromos. He worked with the family through his childhood and adolescence. He knows his fetta

Molly 19:35

Wow, I love this.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:37

Yeah, isn't that great?

Molly 19:38

I love this. I love the way that that comment so perfectly captures everything that one learns from reading Greek myths like that people were always have a certain place they were somehow related to shepherds. Yep. All these things. I felt like when I was when I was a kid growing upbraiding delayers Greek myths of course, yes, yes. I feel like everyone was you know a shepherd and everyone was from so and so with so and so and related to so and so and stuff rose I mean, the other

Unknown Speaker 20:13

the other

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:16

the I use Tavares should be back. I mean, he's become a mythical figure in his own right at this point, I think. I imagine that the writer of this comment that like, you know, her husband, Demetrius comes back after a hard day of sheep herding and and like she has been sitting at the computer all day. And he's like, are you like having flame wars with people that Greek food on the internet again, like, you know, this has to stop?

Molly 20:40

Yes. Dimitris does now. Oh, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:43

think he works in it.

Molly 20:45


Matthew Amster-Burton 20:48

one more comment that you're gonna ask me for explanation on what this means and I will not be able to help you. Okay, just look this up to suggest getting rid of moisture. My mom put it in a pillowcase and put it on the spin cycle in the washing machine cannot have soggy spanakopita also never put garlic in this recipe. What the fuck was Bob doing with the pillowcase? Wow, have

Molly 21:14

you know this reminds me of. So my friend Ben who didn't have a salad spinner but really

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:20

liked. The main thing he was known for in your port bad no salad spinner, like probably fallen on hard times.

Molly 21:31

Anyway, but he really liked salads. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:36

this sounds like the beginning of a Greek myth or an Aesop's fable or Once there was a man named Ben who loved salad but didn't have a salad spinner. So we set off to make his fortune.

Molly 21:50

Okay, anyway, but no. been really like, Ben really, is a wonderful home cook. And so

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:03

it's fine. I'm not I'm not about to interrupt. I just still laughing about this.

Molly 22:07

I mean, I just think of Ben as a, you know, Ben was like always cooking something and inevitably would always have like a green salad at some point during the meal. Okay, so it was very strange that Ben did not have a salad spinner. But I remember, he would always put the salad in. He would lay out like a large dish towel, pile the washed lettuce leaves in the middle of it and then kind of close it up like a like a Hershey's kiss with all the fabric Gallo. And then he would go swing it around over his head. Oh, this is interesting, because I was doing this like, a couple days ago. Like I got lettuce in my produce box. And I don't have a salad spinner. Like you know, Ben and I are like the salt of the earth. This is so fascinating to me that two of the people I know who are like the best, most avid home cooks do not have salad spinner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:02

Should I have a salad spinner? I was thinking about this because like I didn't know about the swinging method. I mean, I know a lot about swinging but not salad wise. But so I just like laid it out on a dish towel and then put another dish towel on top and kind of pressed it dry. And I was thinking the whole time like should I have a salad spinner? Like it takes up a lot of space.

Molly 23:20

So I don't you know, I have always had a salad spinner like seriously since my first kitchen after college. Sure. This was something that my parents had. And to me it always seemed like a basic kitchen appliance. The salad spinner I have right now is fine. It's one of the ones it's got like a pull cord at the top. Sure. However, I'm here to say that even moments when I'm like, Oh, my salad spinner doesn't work that well. It works so much better than than the old dish towel. Okay, yeah, summers come in. I

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:51

think I think I'm gonna order a salad spinner.

Molly 24:01

So whenever I am prepping like a leafy green like chard or s girl or kale, you know you can like slice it up, then put it in the salad spinner fill the bowl with water, and you know, oh, that's how

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:16

I wash. Oh, okay, this is getting better and better. Do you ever get the washing the clothes washer involved?

Molly 24:23

I don't get the clothes washer involved and I just I wonder Okay, so yesterday when I made my spanakopita you know, I let the spinach mixture cool. I had used fresh spinach and like sauteed it when I let it cool so that it was cool enough to handle and then I picked up handfuls and squeeze them but here's the thing I mean squeezing handfuls of spinach, you it doesn't work very well unless you have like a micro handful. Have

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:52

you ever noticed that like micro hand?

Molly 24:55

Well, I always picked up a too big a handful of spin. Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, I know. Yeah. And then then like the greens are like threatening to come out between my finger. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 25:07

No, you should have used a washing machine.

Molly 25:10

Yes, the pillowcase in the spin cycle is

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:12

one of two things I'm wondering. I'm wondering many things but like, first of all, wouldn't that ruin the pillowcase but I guess you can have a pillowcase devoted to spinach like yeah,

Molly 25:21

maybe you just have your spawn a kobita pillowcase.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:24

But then the next time you do laundry, it's all going to turn green unless you like run the machine after squeezing the spinach in it and squeezing the spinach definitely sounds like something right.

Molly 25:37

I'm also wondering now what would happen if I took my my cooked spinach and put it in my salad spinner? Yeah, I don't know if it has enough torque. It also might be too heavy. Yeah, to really

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:47

try it and let us know on a future episode. Okay,

Molly 25:51

I mean, so I gotta say yesterday, I got lazy. And after squeezing out a couple handfuls and just feeling like not that much liquid was coming out. I just went ahead and used my spinach without squeezing any more of it. And it was fine. It was

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:06

actually dimitra in her recipe. She says that like the key to her spanakopita is that you don't cook pre cook the spinach at all what you like make you make a an uncooked filling. And it cooks in the oven along with the pie. Which sounds so wet, right? But then she I mean, she did it. And then when she cut into it, it was not soggy.

Molly 26:28

Wait a minute. Is this the woman you listened to for pronunciation? Or did you make her

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:33

pronunciation? We didn't make her recipe?

Molly 26:34

Well, was she using frozen spinach?

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:37

I knew she was using like bagged baby spinach.

Molly 26:39

Really? Yeah. That is fascinating. To me. I mean, also like, That stuff is going to really cook down and if I put so I used like 10 ounces of baby spinach. And if I had tried to put 10 ounces of baby spinach in between my sheets of Filo, I'm right. You know what? I would have had like a pillow. I know. Yeah. Spinach. Okay,

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:04

we got to post a link to this video. It's It's surprising. Wow. So I will tell you more about the one that you made first, okay, and I'll tell you what we ate.

Molly 27:14

So the one that I made for some reason I did not go to the internet to to find recipes. A couple of weeks ago, actually, I saw. So Louisa Weiss, who used to do the blog, the Wednesday chef. She has been posting on Instagram since the beginning of the lockdown where she is which is in Berlin. She's been posting in her Instagram stories, what she's been making for lunch and dinner pretty much every day. And there was one day when she made I think it was a charred pie like charred hand pies using Philo and she made this for lunch. I never do anything this complicated for lunch, but I was inspired and I was like, Oh my gosh, I never I don't think I had ever worked with Philo. Yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:57

think I just never bothered it seems seem too fuzzy to me teenager the show I haven't worked with feel in a very long time possibly ever myself actually. Laurie Laurie's the fellow master in the family. But teenager the show Iris had like never really seen Philo in action until the other day and was fascinated like, you know, because it looks like it doesn't really look like like a food product necessarily, if you haven't seen it before, because it's so weirdly perfect.

Molly 28:24

Yes. It's very strange and delicious. Yeah. But anyway, so after seeing Louisa has like charred pies, I went out and I just thought to myself, I'm gonna make spanakopita. And so I went to my bookshelf instead of the internet and wound up taking out my, my old joy of cooking from 1997. That 1997 edition. It was one of the first cookbooks I ever got. Was that the controversial edition? I think it was. Yeah, it came out when I was like 1819. And anyway, so it was right around the time that I was heading off to college and sort of getting really interested in cooking. And yeah, so I started out my joy of cooking career with the controversial one, I think was controversial

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:10

just because like it updated a bunch of recipes and like took out a bunch of old recipes for like squirrel.

Molly 29:16

Yes. Anyway, so I wound up doing a sort of modified version of the one that I found in there. And I have to say I didn't really look any further. However, this one which I've now made twice, my sort of modified joy of cooking one is it tastes like Greece to me, okay, like the country of Greece, not just pure fat

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:39

has the real taste of stavos

Molly 29:41

it has the real taste of stubbornness, and it uses melted butter to brush on the Filo layers recipe seems sort of split between using olive oil or butter. I would think olive oil would be more traditional since you know, lots of olive trees in Greece, but I don't really know and then my is supposed to use some fresh dill, but I pretty much I buy fresh herbs and let them rot. Yeah, one of my specialties. Uh huh. So I used a little bit of dried dill. Just a little shake of it. And I gotta say, I'm thrilled with it. I think so I sent you and Laurie a copy of the recipe. Yeah. The only thing that I think I'm going to change in the future is I tend to run out of melted butter. By the time I'm getting to the end of the Filo, who I have an idea. And so the first time I made it, I just used a little bit of olive oil. I think I would just upped the amount of butter that I'm melting.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:38

That was gonna be my suggestion. Melt more butter.

Molly 30:40

Yeah, I think I'm gonna melt more butter in the future. But what I really like about it is the filling is it's just fetta eggs. It's got like a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. I don't Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:50

I've seen that in a number of recipes. I don't think that was in ours.

Molly 30:53

It has some added salt. Some people say that you get enough salt from the cheese. I don't buy that. I

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:58

think that's true.

Molly 30:59

So yeah, mine's got Fattah. It's got two eggs. That's for like an eight by eight square baking dish. A little bit of parm salt, pepper, tiny bit of grated nutmeg, some dill, and then yeah, the Philo and and melted butter, and I'm really happy with it. I'm really happy with it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:17

Yeah, that sounds great. So Laurie made a version that was derived from the moosewood version, and it appeared on the blog Scarpetta dolcetto. And we'll link to it in the show notes. I requested one made without dill or cottage cheese, things I don't like. Laurie use a mixture of butter and olive oil to brush on the field with a bailiff steeped in it as the butter was melting. And that was a tip that she got from our friends at the site the kitchen.

Molly 31:40

Do you think that you could taste any difference in flavor or any any Bay?

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:44

Like dude, does a bait has a bailiff ever really made a difference?

Molly 31:48

Oh my gosh, I

Unknown Speaker 31:48

think that I think somebody had this conversation. I

Molly 31:51

think I think somebody was recently talking about this on Instagram. Yes, they were anyway. Yeah, I don't really know. I always use bayleaf when it's called. Oh, yeah, me

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:01

too. And she added one egg to the filling. So I went in thinking like I just don't know if I'm gonna like this. I think a fetta is something I dislike. Like it has some sort of funk that doesn't agree with me. And like I don't I don't know if I if I've bought like a big spinach pie for dinner. And surprisingly, teenager the show Iris who is not a spinach fan was like yeah, I want to try it for dinner. And and we're like, why? And they said, Oh, it sounds like the filling sounds like the filling of Costco, spinach and cheese ravioli. And like, Oh, that makes sense. And then we ate it and the filling was a lot like the filling of Costco, spinach and cheese ravioli and I enjoyed it very much.

Molly 32:39

Wow, I'm shocked. I'm truly shocked.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:42

Do you cut the spanakopita before after baking,

Molly 32:46

I cut it before baking but I'm careful not to cut all the way through the bottom layer if

Unknown Speaker 32:51


Matthew Amster-Burton 32:52

ours was not scored before baking and it was messy, but really fun to cut into slices after baking because just like shards fly everywhere is dramatic.

Molly 33:02

I was so impressed looking at the photograph of yours, which we've got up on our website at spilled milk podcast.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:08

Yeah, and I posted it on our Instagram at spilled milk podcast. Also,

Molly 33:11

I was so impressed because I think that I'm kind of lazy when it comes to dealing with the Philo. I do what the you know what the package says in terms of thawing right, I thought overnight in the fridge and then I let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or two before I try to use it. And then I put a clean towel on top of it once I've unrolled it, and then I put a damp towel on top of the dry towel. Sure, but you know, when I am working with it, I've got the part that I'm working with uncovered. Maybe I'm trying to move too fast. And I'm leaving it uncovered like I'm not taking I'm not pulling the towels back taking a sheet replacing the towel. Like I'm not that careful about keeping it covered. I sort of uncover the whole stack that I'm working with. Yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:01

mean, since I since I didn't make it like I don't have an opinion on this because I like I don't think I've ever personally worked with Philo but so yeah, I don't know. I

Molly 34:10

well so I was noticing when I saw the photo of yours that yours looked really beautiful. Like before you cut into it. It didn't look at all messy like the Philo looked really even and golden and smooth. Whereas mine, I kind of just go for it. And as my fellow starts tearing, I just don't care. And I keep laying it down and brushing it with butter and so by the end you know it definitely looks messy on it looks quite restless and I ash I'm fine with that. But I just and I think that that's totally fine and most people who work with yellow would tell you don't worry about it if it tears because it's going to tear.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:53

No. But others will tell you you should feel really bad about it.

Molly 34:57

Yeah, I love those people who tell me I feel bad about my cooking love that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:01

Oh, how do you think, Demetrius, his wife feels about it.

Molly 35:06

I think that she would definitely tell me that I'm doing it wrong, that I need to slow down and probably keep the Filo covered except for when I'm removing that one sheet.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:18

So when I was eating the spanakopita, which again, I liked very much and I had two servings, I kept having thoughts about ways that I would improve upon it. So I already mentioned that I thought some some jack cheese and there would be great maybe even pepper jack, I thought this would be great with bacon in the filling. I thought this would be great. made more like a lasagna with like multiple layers of pastry and Spanish mixture. And finally that I really wanted to put some oven arrow hot sauce on it. So I am not welcoming Greece

Molly 35:53

is no you are not. So I think it's perfect just as it is.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:58

I have the murder on the island of Milos and everybody knows what the motive was. There's no mystery about that.

Molly 36:07

Did you eat yours with with a fork? Or did you pick it up and eat it like out of hand

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:11

fork? Oh, okay.

Molly 36:12

I love picking mine up and I can see that for sure. could could you have picked yours up was it was the bottom like sturdy enough?

Unknown Speaker 36:20

I think so like

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:20

I cut it into like kind of like big lasagna sized rectangles. That would have been a little a little challenging to pick up. But if I'd cut it into more like finger size slices, I think it would have worked. I'm gonna have some leftovers for lunch. shortly.

Molly 36:34

I cut mine into triangles for an eight by eight pan. I cut it into eight triangles. Oh, yeah.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:41

triangle shaped things are definitely a real Greek tradition. Right?

Molly 36:46

I really like it that way. Oh, really?

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:49

I wasn't joking. Like, like, bah, bah, bah. Right?

Molly 36:51

Well, I mean, balaclavas, often diamond shaped though.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:55

Oh, you're right. I said try that. I was thinking diamond.

Molly 36:58

Yeah, you geometry. Another thing I was going to say well, people do often make like individual like actual hand pie.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:08

Yeah, out of these seems like a really nice would be a really satisfying format.

Molly 37:12

I Oh, I was gonna say how do you plan to reheat yours today before?

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:15

Oh, I was just thinking about that. Like, like, Is it too late? No, I think it's I think now would be a good time to turn the oven on. Like, I feel like microwaving it is would not be a no that's

Molly 37:24

a bad idea. This is one time when I love having a toaster oven.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:27

Oh, that makes sense.

Molly 37:29

I do it in the toaster oven and the top sheet of Filo gets a little scorched by the end. But it crisps up beautifully. It's delicious. Oh man. I'm

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:39

so into it. Okay, now, Laurie already warned me that it never gets quite as crisp and flaky as the first time when you reheat it?

Unknown Speaker 37:47


Molly 37:48

Yeah, probably. But I'm fine with that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:50

Okay, well, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm gonna I'm gonna put a little hot sauce on it,

Molly 37:53

you know? Oh, so you were texting me last night. And we were texting about what one eats with spanakopita? Because it doesn't seem like a full meal. Right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:03

Yeah. But I mean, we did eat it as a full meal. And it was good. And then we there were cookies. I think

Molly 38:07

that my perspective on it is definitely shaped by the fact that the way I think of eating this is out of hand. Like on the go like, ah, like the ultimate like, you know, it's like it's like the, my version of like, a sandwich. Yes. Okay. Right, my version of a sandwich.

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:33

I yeah, I will give you credit for this.

Molly 38:37

But what I was gonna say is, um, so I have a hard time thinking of what to pair it with for dinner, because to me, it seems like such a wonderful, like lunch thing or thing that you would throw in your tote bag when you're going so it's Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:52

it's definitely like, I think I would throw out my tote bag. I was gonna say exactly anyway. Yeah, yeah, I think about it. Like we've got like, like every every modern human, we have a big, big pile of tote bags in the corner of our closet bag. I wonder how many of those have a little pie in like a long, long forgotten tie.

Molly 39:12

I think that we definitely have some listeners who know more than we do about the appropriate pairings for like, what

Unknown Speaker 39:19

do you think so

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:20

What wine would you drink with it? For example, we definitely don't know.

Molly 39:24

I drink a rosae with it. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:26

that's good to me,

Molly 39:27

licious. That was delicious. And yeah, we wound up we had kind of a mishmash dinner sort of eating stuff out of the fridge salami pickles. spanakopita that was delightful. Oh, that

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:39

sounds great. Yeah, I'm

Molly 39:40

super into that with Rosa. I mean, like hello.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:43

Yeah, I mean, like you said that like you thought like, like additional vegetables seemed sort of redundant, but I feel like like a very tart salad with it would be good.

Unknown Speaker 39:52

I think you're right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:54

You know, not not like Ben and I would be at a real disadvantage there because we don't have salad spinners, but Sounds like if you're, if you're like moving up in the world and you've got your own salad spinner, go for it. Yeah, so

Molly 40:06

i i agree with you there I think especially if you are Yeah, if you're serving it for dinner. Oh, it would be really really nice with with a nice crunchy salad next to it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:18

Alright, so you can find us online at spilled milk podcast calm on Instagram at spilled milk podcast on facebook@facebook.com slash spilled milk podcast. Let us know like have you have you ever had an argument with with a Greek Shepherd about about what to put in a spanakopita? Have you? That's the only thing we want to know don't weigh in on anything else

Molly 40:40

was his name Stavros

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:42

was it Stavros was it Demetrius was it dimitra?

Molly 40:45

Do we have any listeners who maybe grew up in Oklahoma and remember stavos the Taylor okay. He was I think he was on May Avenue. May Avenue. It was near Penn Square Mall.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:59

Alright, yeah, let us know.

Molly 41:00

Maybe Maybe he was on Pennsylvania maybe that's the street I'm thinking that's

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:03

that's Pennsylvania, maybe he was a Cassidy square,

Molly 41:06

Pennsylvania. Anyway, I also want to know from our listeners who actually, you know, have more experience with spanakopita than we do which is probably most of our listeners, I want to know what they serve it with like or do you serve it for dinner? Do you think if it is a brunch dish think it could be a really nice brunch dish.

Unknown Speaker 41:25

And if you are if you

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:26

are Greek or of Greek descent and have like family memories of Spanish Copa died like there where you are someone in your family have strong opinions on how it should be made like this is this is my new favorite thing that I love, like extremely vehement dogma about about this particular Greek pie.

Molly 41:43

Great. Hey, everyone, don't let Matthew down. Please send him all your Spanish coping with one more thing.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:49

If you've ever put something weird in your washing machine for culinary or sexual purposes, please let us know. Okay, cool. Our producer, as always is the long suffering Abby circuit Ella and until next time, thank you for listening to spilled milk. Other podcasts are too loud or too quiet, but this one's just right. Hi, Molly. weissenberg. Matthew Amster-Burton.

I yeah, I was thinking maybe it was water but that's blue. Now that I think about it so I can ask Vincent. Asked Vincent. Okay, well