Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Vlita pita with home-made pastry (Πίτα με βλήτα και σπιτικό φύλλο)

vlita amaranth pie

There's a sea of vlita in the garden. It's taken over the whole patch. I could sell it if I want to, but I have a feeling everyone's got a sea of seasonal vlita in their garden where I live. So I have to live with that fact. Let's call it cover crop for the soil, which receives nutrients from the green foliage through photosynthesis; even if we don't eat all the vlita (which we don't really want to, anyway), it's doing some good to the environment in general. If only I had some chickens; I'm sure they'd like some sweet amaranth, too.

vlita amaranth

vlita amaranth

I know I can make use of it in many ways, like I did with the zucchini (and still am doing). I started out by making a hortopita mixture with all the garden greens I could find: vlita, parsley, fennel, mint, onion, grated courgette strained of its juices; then added some cheese: local curd mizithra, some grated regato; and finally added a few herbs for seasoning: pepper and oregano (the salt was already in the courgette which was leached of liquids by salting it).

Now for the dreaded filo: I decided to make a pizza base that's always successful - Laurie's ladenia crust. It's been working for me for the last 6 months, so why can't it work for a spanakopita (that's got no spinach)? I spread it on the baking tin and poured in the greens and cheese mixture.

But what do I top it with? The children will eat only pizza with no cover pastry, not spanakopita (which I never tell them is my 100-mile vlitopita).

pastry making

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Milk cost me 1.5 euro a litre today (it's calcium-enriched and Grandma refuses to drink any other type); more expensive than petrol, which ranged from 1.328 to 1.375 euro per litre for the unleaded 95 quality which everyone uses (the super unleaded 100 cost between 1.360 and 1.399 euro a litre today). I don't think I can afford to buy pastry in the quantities I used to buy it from my filo pastry maker.

pie making amaranth vlita

I decided to make some myself. My most dreaded thought is how messy my kitchen will get, this is my worst nightmare. I got out the nicest ceramic bowl I own to turn my chore into a more pleasant one: pour some water in a bowl, add a little bit of olive oil, season with some salt, and now pour in the flour. Mix the dough, and keep adding flour until that mixture looks like, well, like dough. They say it isn't easy, but I'm going to see if my dough works when I roll it out.

Pastry making always attracts visitors. Let's call it a joint effort.

pie making

There was enough dough and greens mixture to cover the pie, and make 20 kalitsounia. A few were fried (they went to the grandmother and her live-in nurse), while the rest were baked. And they were delicious - vlita pita was a success, and so was the pastry. There are no quantities in this pie; it was all tourlou tourlou, made up as I went along, from garden to refrigerator to larder to oven. The kalitsounia are great for apres-swimming lessons. I hope I will be able to repeat this process when I need it again!

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Pam from Sidewalk Shoes.

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