When I was 16 I got my first passport and I loved it! I think I loved the passport more than the actual trip I was going to take! It was exciting just to think of the places that little blue book could (and would) take me. My amazing parents let me go with a high school group to Greece for 2 weeks in the summer. Boarding that first international flight, clenching my blue passport was such a rush. I loved everything about that first trip and knew that it would never be my last.
That trip was also my first real foray into international cuisine and as you maybe guessed I fell in love with that too. I can still remember a fantastic meal of a delicious, fresh Greek salad, lamb and orzo pasta with a red sauce, followed by a huge bowl of watermelon. It was 10 years ago but I can taste it today!
Another dish was a cheese pie full of creamy, salty, whole milk feta cheese and crunch filo outside. Heaven, pure heaven for this Wisconsin girl. A few weeks ago I was remembering that tasty meal and stumbled on a recipe in Arabesque by Claudia Roden.
7 oz feta
8 oz cottage cheese
2 free range or organic eggs
1 tsp white pepper
handful of chopped Italian parsley
1/2 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup vegetable oil mixed together
1 package thawed filo sheets
1 egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350F.
If the feta cheese that you are using is in a brick mash it first. Combine the feta, cottage cheese, and eggs. Next add the pepper and chopped parsley.
Using a round pie pan, brush the bottom with butter. Add 1 sheet of filo at a time, brushing each layer with the butter/oil mixture. When placing layers, set each one slight angled from the next, so that when you are finished the entire pan will be covered with the filo. After the 6th sheet, stop and place the filling inside, spreading evenly. Cover with 5-6 more sheets of filo, again brushing each layer with the butter/oil.
When placing the top sheets gently tuck them around the edges of the filling. When complete use a sharp knife and cut off any excess overhang. Then using a pastry brush, brush the filo sheets down on the top of the pie.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes until the top is brown and crisp. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then use a sharp knife to cut.
This is a great appetizer, or it can be served as a main dish with a Greek or mixed salad. It also could be a great savory dessert, served with a mixed fruit salad or apples dusted with cinnamon.