Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dad's granola

Finding a few canisters of this delicious granola sitting in the pantry always makes Neil declare that I'm the best wife ever (thanks to my dad, who originated the recipe!)


Granola base
1 canister rolled oats
1 1/2 c. sugar
6-8 eggs
2 t. each cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
cooking oil to moisten (about 1/2 c.)

Other good stuff
Raisins, dates, sweetened flaked coconut, chopped nuts, Rice Krispies, corn flakes, bran flakes

Mix everything in the "granola base" section but oats together, then add mixture to oats and mix thoroughly. Preheat oven to 350 and spread mixture onto baking sheets (I use two). Bake for 20 minutes, stir, then bake another 10 minutes until browned (depending on your oven and preferences, you may want to bake it another 5-10 minutes). Note: you are NOT cooking the "other good stuff."

When the oats have finished cooking, add raisins, dates, sweetened flaked coconut, nuts, rice krispies, bran flakes, etc. to stretch out the granola mixture. I generally add enough of these so that I end up with about 2 and a half canisters of granola (with 1 canister of that being the original oats--so you're adding another 2 and a half canisters' worth).

Making this is also a good excuse to buy really huge bowls if you don't already own some. Check with restaurant supply stores for inexpensive yet tough stainless bowls--Neil picked up mine at a supply store in Salt Lake and I love them dearly (also excellent for popcorn!!) This particular bowl holds all 2.5 canisters worth.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chocolate-chip pumpkin muffins

These muffins are one of my very favorite "signs of fall." The recipe is my mom's; if you don't know her personally, rest assured that she is a fantastic cook. She does cool things like persuade ethnic grocers to give her cooking lessons; then we all reap the benefits (not that these are ethnic grocery muffins, but you get the idea). The point is, while I usually only post recipes here that I've made up or adjusted, these muffins are just dandy the way they are.

So here you go.
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. oil (I substitute applesauce)
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin (about half of a 15-oz can, although I generally use leftover sugar pumpkin puree)
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. flour (I do 100% whole-wheat but you could substitute in white flour for part)
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Combine wet ingredients, then add dry, then add chocolate chips. If you care about perfect;y rounded muffin tops, don't overmix; I prefer knowing that everything is well mixed, and (as you can see in the picture), I really don't care about peaked muffins. Except that one time when I was seven or eight and I had to make about four batches of muffins for the state fair in order to get twelve that were perfectly rounded. I think that's why peaks are fine with me now.

Spoon into muffin tins (I just grease the muffin tins and don't bother with wrappers, since I don't want to lose any goodness that's stuck on a wrapper) and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whipped sweet potatoes

Oooh, I just LOVE sweet potatoes. They're so redolent of the holidays! But I hate them with marshmallows on top, because I want to feel justified in eating them all the time (plus I really only like marshmallows in s'mores).

The recipe below is one I found in MS Living. I usually make it without the cream and with about 1/3 stick of butter rather than half a stick, and I add a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. Sometimes I just leave out the butter entirely. I also usually don't do the apple topping (because I like it to be a make-ahead thing that doesn't need attention while it's cooking). In the past I've cooked it without a topping entirely, or with a little bit of brown sugar sprinkled under flaked coconut, or with brown sugar underneath very thin sliced rings of apple. All are equally delicious. Whatever you do, just don't leave out the ginger--that's what elevates this to something really tasty and a little bit surprising (in a good way).

Anyway, here you go!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Carmelized Apples
from November 2006 Martha Stewart Living. Serves 6.

4 large sweet potatoes (yams), pierced with the tines of a fork
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 T. heavy cream
1/2 c. applesauce, preferably homemade
2 t. grated fresh peeled ginger
1 t. coarse salt freshly ground pepper

2 apples (1 lb) peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 T. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment (I use tin foil, but make sure you do this so you avoid sticky goo all over the oven).Bake until tender, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand until cool enough to handle.

2) Cut each potato lengthwise. Scoop flesh into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; discard skins. Add 2 T. butter and the cream; mix on medium speed until smooth. Mix in applesauce and ginger, season with salt and pepper.

3) Transfer potato mixture to an oven-proof dish. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, toss apples with sugar in a bowl. Melt remaining 2 T. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are golden and carmelized, about 10 minutes. (I ended up adding about 2 t. brown sugar while the apples were cooking.)

5) Remove potato mixture from oven, top with carmelized apples, and serve.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fresh strawberry pie

No time for witty comments; all you need to know is that this is quite possibly the best pie I've ever had in my life. I love the fact that the berries are unbaked, so they're still at that ecstatically fresh peak of heavenly taste.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
Baked pie crust
1 1/2 quarts strawberries
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
3 oz. cream cheese, softened

Prepare pie crust and bake as directed. Mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan, gradually stir in water and mashed berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir one minute; cool.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Spread in pie shell, and fill shell with remaining berries (slice them prior to filling the shell). Pour cooked strawberry mixture over top. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until set (refrigerate any remaining pie).

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Marie, the baguettes! (name that movie)

I don't know anyone who doesn't love baguettes (and if you don't, just be quiet about it). Honestly, that crisp crackly crust and meltingly soft insides--especially if you have some nice sharp cheese to go with it...just doesn't get any better than that. Plus there's only four ingredients, and there's something very magical about that. Flour, salt, yeast, and water. Alchemy, I tell you.

I've tried a number of baguette recipes, and this one (my own hodge-podge between Julia Child and Williams-Sonoma Breads) is a winner. You can have fresh baguettes in about 2 hours with a minimum of steps (and let me tell you, it takes all day to make it the way Julia describes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, although she cut it down considerably in subsequent years. Trust me, I've done it all). Although I recommend MTAOFC's description of how to fold and roll the dough (more on that later).

In theory, you should have baguette pans. But if you don't--like me--it works just fine. So I'm giving non-baguette pan instructions, which also means you don't have towels getting floury. Oh, and we're not going to hang them in floured sacks either. Or even use a rolling pin! And I'm assuming you're using an electric stand mixer (like a KitchenAid, and if you don't have one, it's worth the money. And I'm not just saying that because Neil interned there--although he did build ours himself on an intern field trip. Cool, eh?)
And yes, I know this is long, but Julia Child takes like 25 pages to explain it (I'm not exaggerating) so I think you're getting off easy, okay?

Ingredients (for four loaves. Can easily be cut in half)

5-5 1/2 c. flour
2 t. salt
2 1/4 t. quick-rise yeast
2 c. lukewarm water (110 F)
1 egg white beaten with pinch of salt, for glaze

In the mixer bowl, combine four cups of the flour with the salt, yeast, and water. Stir until blended, and allow dough to knead in the mixer for about ten minutes. Add flour as needed so that the end dough is elastic and doesn't stick to the sides, although it will still be soft.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for one minute. Form into a ball, and transfer into a clean (I use Pyrex so it doesn't flavor the dough) bowl. At this stage, I also lightly grease the bowl so the dough doesn't adhere. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (45-60 minutes).

Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and knead briefly (about 30 seconds). Return to bowl for second rise, 20-30 minutes (until doubled). Cover again with plastic wrap.

Punch dough down and divide into equal parts (4 for the whole recipe, 2 if you halved it). Roll into balls and let rest for five minutes. Grease a nonstick cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.

On your floured surface, take each ball of dough and flatten it into a rectangle. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Fold into thirds like a letter, and begin rolling the dough into a long rope about 16 inches long. Okay, now here's where Julia Child really comes in! Most cookbooks will just rope the dough at this stage, but I like to work it a bit more to really get some good gluten and bubble action going. In fact, as you flatten the dough you should be hearing teeny bubbles pop. In any case, as I am rolling the dough into a rope, I find that it tends to flatten out. This is good! Simply pinch up the sides, folding it over back into a rope. Continually flattening and then smashing back into a rope incorporates air back into the dough, which is really important for the formation of a light, airy interior. I find that as I am transitioning the dough from the "letter" to the "rope" I fold and smash about 3 times.

Once the dough is in a 16-inch snake, place it on the cookie sheet. Allow to rise for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450 F. When the oven is preheated, take your sharpest knife and make three 1/4 inch deep diagonal cuts on the top of the bread, allowing the dough to puff out from its gluten cloak as it bakes.

At this point, WS says to put a pan of boiling water on the floor of the preheated oven under the bread. This sounds dangerous to me, since I can imagine myself spilling boiling water everywhere, so I go with a modified Julia Child approach--I put the baguettes in, then quickly throw 1/4 c. of steaming water into the bottom of the oven, then slam the door shut. LEAVE THE DOOR SHUT while the bread bakes for about 20 minutes.

And then enjoy.

I'm going back to the kitchen. There's a baguette waiting for me. And some cheese. And grapes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cranapple Pie

I'm kind of failing on the Recipe Week front, especially in the area of balanced menus. However, I do have a fantastically delicious pie to share!

This was going to be an apple pie, until I realized I didn't have enough apples. It's a bit improvised, therefore, and could probably stand some more fine-tuning and improvisation. But if you don't feel comfortable playing around, this pie is pretty darn tasty--and fairly easy--as it is.

Pie Crust


2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening, chilled
8 - 10 Tbsp ice cold water


Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gently cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until pea-sized. Sprinkle 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) of the cold water over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork. Add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, and press to the side of the bowl until all is moistened.

Divide dough in half, and gently pat into 2 lightly flattened balls. (Don't overwork your dough at this point!) Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.



3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups baking apples (around 5 apples)
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
2 Tbsp margarine or butter, cut up

2-3 Tbsp milk


Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples.

In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add apples and toss to coat. Transfer apple mixture to a large pot over medium heat; simmer, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes, until apples are softening. Add granulated sugar and cranberries and mix thoroughly. Pre-cooking the filling will ensure that the filling and crust don't separate as the pie cooks.


On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball of pastry from the center ot the edges, to form a 12" circle. Fold in half or roll the pastry around the rolling pin. Unfold or unroll it over a 9" pie plate. Ease the pastry into the plate, and, using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim even with the rim.

Pour filling into the prepared pie crust. Cut margarine into small pieces and dot filling with margarine bits.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the second ball of pastry from center to edges, to form a 12" circle. Place the top crust on the filling, and cut slits or shapes to allow steam to escape. Using kitchen shears, trim the pastry 1/4" beyond the rim. Fold the top edge over the trimmed bottom edge, and flute the edge to seal.

Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with sugar.

Fold a 12" square of aluminum foil into quarters. Cut out the center section, making a 7 1/2" circle. Unfold the foil and place the square section over the pie. Loosely mold the foil over the edges to protect them from burning.

Bake for 35 minutes in the center rack of the oven, with a cookie sheet underneath to catch spills. Remove foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.

Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 hours before eating with a generous serving of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oven Fries

I love fries. Oh, how I love them. So does Abigail. So when I found this recipe in Cook's Illustrated (which btw is amazing--someday I'll get a subscription!!!) two years ago...oh joy. And seriously, these are amazing. Perfectly crisp on the outside, perfectly melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. And not nearly as much cruddy fat as you're going to get at a fast-food joint, especially because there's no deep fryer and you're only putting 5 T. of oil in for the whole thing (I generally use even less).

I've found the most important component to getting these just right is to use a baking sheet that is uniformly flat. In other words, one that you don't use much. If I use my regular cookie sheets, which have become somewhat bowed in the middle from years of use, the fries cook unevenly. If, however, I use a metal 9x13 pan (which I never use because I prefer glass)...you get perfection.

Oven Fries

3 russet potatoes (8 oz each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10-12 evenly sized wedges
5 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil (don’t substitute olive oil)
Salt and ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 475. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. (Don't be tempted to skip soaking, as this is what will give you the crisp crust and soft innards.) Meanwhile, coat 18 x 12 heavy-duty baking sheet with 4 T oil and sprinkle evening with ¾ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper.

Drain potatoes and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Toss potatoes in dry bowl with 1 T oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on baking sheet, cover tightly with foil (I just use a cookie sheet) and bake 5 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown (15-20 min), rotating the pan in the oven after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, flip potatoes to other side, keeping in single layer. Continue baking another 5-15 minutes until fries are golden and crisp, rotating pan as needed for even browning.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake

Given that strawberries are just coming into season (you can get a carton for $0.98 at Wal-Mart!) I thought I'd start off my contributions to Recipe Week, and to this blog, with a summer favorite: Strawberry Shortcake! Unfortunately, unlike Rachael, I am not a great improvisor. This recipe comes from "The All-American Dessert Book", by Nancy Baggett, but I've modified it slightly here.

Want this?

Try this:


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for shaping dough
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
Generous 1 cup buttermilk, plus more if desired. (You can make a substitute by pouring 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup, then pouring in enough milk to make 1 cup.)

1 carton strawberries (at least 3 cups, sliced)
at least 1/2 cup sugar

1 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Wash and slice the strawberries. Toss with sugar until all the sugar is absorbed; refrigerate for at least 1 hour, to allow juices to combine.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Generously grease an 8 to 8 1/2 inch round baking dish.

In a large bowl (I used the Kitchenaid) thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture and cut in until the butter is incorporated in very fine bits; scrape up the flour underneath to be sure it is evenly incorporated.

Being very careful not to overmix, gently stir the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture until the dough just comes together. Add more buttermilk, if necessary, to produce a soft, moist dough. Sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 tablespoons flour. Knead in the bowl 5 or 6 times to form a smooth mass, adding a little more flour to prevent stickiness, if necessary (I ended up adding about 2 more tablespoons). Let stand for 1 minute. With flour-dusted hands, shape and smooth the dough into a 6-inch disk. Brush any excess flour from the top. Place the disk in the pan. Press and pat out into an evenly thick round. If necessary, dust your hands with flour or lightly dust the dough with flour to prevent sticking.

Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, or until the top is puffy and browned. Let cool to warm, then tip out of the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

When biscuit is almost completely cool, whip the cream, adding vanilla and sugar when the cream forms soft peaks. Using a large serrated knife, split the biscuit round in half horizontally. Center the bottom half cut side up on a serving plate and top with half the strawberries and juice, and a generous half of the whipped cream. Top with the second round, cut side down. Spread with the remaining whipped cream, and then add the remaining berries and juice.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Enjoy with a glass of milk, and with plenty of friends or family around to share!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mushroom and Chile Carbonara

Continuing the parade of favorites...I have been known to make this more than once in the same week. Mmm, mmm. You really can't beat mushrooms cooked with chile flakes in a cream sauce.

One of the sad days of my life was when I realized that whipping cream isn't very good for you. But some days, like today, I just pretend I don't know that and run an extra few miles to compensate.

I admit, these pictures aren't the most attractive. Trust me, it tastes better than the poorly lit shot would seem to indicate.

Also, I sort of had to stop taking pictures because Abigail was eating Parmesan cheese straight out of the thingie (but I didn't stop until I'd taken a picture of her. Go figure).

Oh, and yes, I use canned Parmesan, because Neil shakes his head at me when I look pleadingly towards the $$$$$/lb chunks of real Parmesan at the grocery store. He's a wise and prudent man...what more can I say?

Mushroom and Chile Carbonara

8 oz thin spaghetti Parmesan cheese
2 T. butter 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed 1 t. dried oregano
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced 1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried red pepper flakes 1 t. dried chives
2 eggs 1 t. dried basil
1 ¼ c. light cream Salt and ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, drain and rinse.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the cream and herbs, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Chop the tomatoes and set them aside.

In a large saucepan heat the butter and oil together and lightly sauté the garlic for half a minute. Add the mushrooms and chile flakes to the pan of garlic and stir well so everything cooks evenly. The original recipe tells me to only cook the mushrooms for two minutes, but we like them to be more well-done, so cook them until you're happy.

At this point, theoretically you should add about half a cup of water. However, because I generally use half and half rather than cream (unless I've run about a hundred miles the preceding week, or more honestly, if cream was on sale), I skip the water.

Turn the cooked spaghetti into the mushroom sauce and then toss in the eggs and cream. Reheat the mixture, WITHOUT BOILING. Add the tomatoes, toss, and sprinkle each portion liberally with Parmesan to taste.

Abigail's favorites

Sweet potatoes--they're not just for Thanksgiving!!

We eat them a lot. Mostly because both Abigail and Juliet absolutely adore anything with sweet potatoes in them, like this soup:

which Abigail gobbled down in about two seconds.

But our hands-down favorite is the classic sweet potato casserole, except because we eat it so much we try to make it a little healthier. And simpler, so that it can be thrown together in about five minutes (not counting the roasting time).

Sweet Potato and Applesauce Casserole

3 lbs sweet potatoes
3-4 cups applesauce (I just use the stuff we canned in fall; if you buy it from the store make sure it's unsweetened)
1-2 t. each of ginger, cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
brown sugar
sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 c. butter, if you're feeling wild and crazy

Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until soft. Peel, then combine (I use my stand mixer) with applesauce and spices (add the butter at this point if you so desire). Spoon into a casserole dish and top LIGHTLY with brown sugar, then with flaked coconut. At this point you can refrigerate it for dinner later, or pop back in the oven to brown the coconut. If you refrigerate it, plan on warming again at 350 degrees until it's warmed through (20-30 minutes).

When combined with broccoli, and grilled dill-and-lemon salmon, this is Abigail's absolute favorite dinner in the world--it's one where she requests thirds (and getting her to finish her first serving is usually an enormous battle on a regular night).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sundays are always a really hard dinner day. We start church at 1 pm and get out at 4 (which means we get home around 4:30) and there are two tiny people who didn't nap, didn't really eat much lunch, and are now ravenous and want to EAT RIGHT NOW.

When we first switched to the afternoon block, we experimented for a few weeks with putting things in the oven and programming the oven to switch on. Except it didn't. Oh, it would switch on just fine when we programmed it and sat there watching it, but if we left the house...nada.
We'd come home to room-temperature lasagnas that were likely harboring pathogens by this point.

Four months into afternoon church, I'm starting to run out of crock pot and oven-for-three-hour recipes. So I'm cheating and making things that mostly come out of cans and jars and packets and can be on the table in about twenty minutes (which is how long it takes the girls to run around the house like crazy, be persuaded to change out of their dresses and finally find something else to wear).

Anyway. Now that I've gotten that whole not-cooking-from-scratch thing off my chest...let us proceed. But not before noting that I'm ashamed of my cans-and-packets dinner and I can't believe I'm posting this, but for the sake of truth...oh, and yeah, it's really tasty. Which is why I'm posting it.

Green Curry Chicken with Hot and Sour Soup

1-3 T. green curry paste, depending on how adventurous you are (I use the Thai Kitchen brand)
chicken, diced into bite-size pieces (I used two boneless skinless breasts, about a pound)
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
green peas
1 can bamboo shoots
2 T. oyster sauce (the recipe on the curry paste jar says fish sauce, which I think stinks too much to eat)
1/3 c. chicken stock
Jasmine rice
1 packet Sunbird hot and sour soup mix
1 egg

Start rice--generally I cook 1 c. dry rice with 1.5 c. water on the stove. It needs about 15-20 minutes; then let it sit for about 10 minutes off the heat.

Simmer curry paste and coconut milk together for about five minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another seven minutes, then add bamboo, peas, oyster sauce, and chicken stock.

Using egg, make soup according to package directions.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Spanakopita (spinach and feta phyllo triangles)

These are my very favorite appetizers in the world. My family ravenously consumes mounds of these at our annual New Year's Eve appetizer extravaganza. In fact, when I was looking for the recipe, I found it not in the appetizer section of our family cookbook, but in the main dishes section. Hmm...

In any case, this is a super yummy appetizer that takes a bit of work, but is quite impressive and aesthetically pleasing. You'll need the following ingredients:

3 pkgs 10-oz frozen chopped spinach
¼ cup olive oil
4 eggs, beaten
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ lb feta cheese, crumbled
½ lb cottage cheese (we substitute another 1/2 feta)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (use 2/3 less if using dried)
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 med. onion, chopped fine
1 cup butter, melted
½ lb phyllo pastry (one box)

I did have pictures of the intermediate steps, but they somehow disappeared, along with all our Christmas pictures and those sort of things. I'm extremely upset at my camera over this. Anyway.

Step 1: Choppin'

Thaw (microwave is fine), drain, and squeeze dry the spinach. If it's too chunky, chop it up so it will mix nicely.

Chop your onion finely. You want it to sort of meld into the rest of the flavors.

Step 2: Cookin'

Saute the onion in olive oil. When it's nicely yellowed and translucent, add the spinach and cook until the moisture is gone (be careful not to burn it!) Remove from heat.

Step 3: Mixin'

Beat the eggs, then add them to the spinach and onion. At this point, you'll need a fairly large bowl to make sure everything gets well mixed. (I'm not sure how many quarts the ideal bowl is--I just use one of the ones that's big enough to bathe a newborn baby. How's that for a standard of measurement?) Add cheeses, parsley, dill, and bread crumbs.

Step 4: Trianglin'

Here comes the exciting part. This is easiest to do if you have either a) a friend or b) a wet towel. Depending on the friend, they might be equivalent. Heh heh. In any case, you need to work quickly enough so that the phyllo dough doesn't dry out, hence the friend. If you're doing it by yourself, then place a damp towel over the dough to prevent drying.

Before you unroll the dough, brush a 9x13 pan with melted butter. Don't skimp.

Phyllo dough is tricky. Be VERY careful when you unroll it. It will probably be sticky.

You may have to use a sharp knife (very gently) or your fingernails to separate the sheets of dough from the plastic wrapper. Don't worry, after the initial separation it's easy.

Oh yeah! I actually recruited three friends (well, relatives: my mom, Elise, and Mary Beth) for this, because phyllo dough scares me sometimes. Okay, that's not true. The real story is that my sisters and I had this idea to make a cooking show out of it. We made up a dorky theme song that we sang and we followed each other around with a camera demonstrating chopping, dicing, choux-making (for the cream puffs), etc. We thought it was really cool. Actually, my sisters got kind of mad at me because we set everything up in tiny little ingredients bowls of pre-diced ingredients and then I forgot and dumped everything in and cooked it up while my sister was putting new batteries in the camera. Oops.

Back to the recipe. Look at that sneer on my face. I'm totally whipping the phyllo dough into shape.

Gently lift up one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on the buttered pan. Don't be put off by the fact that the dough may or may not resemble a tattered shroud.

Once you've plopped it on the buttered pan, liberally butter the dough. Basically, you want to butter it until it's translucent. Yum.

Repeat the process with another sheet of dough--lift, layer, and butter. Now that you have two sheets of butter-coated dough, it's time for my favorite part.

Cut the dough layers into five or six (depending on how big you want your little triangles) long strips (make the cuts running vertically where the top/bottom are the short sides of the cookie sheet).

Now plop about a tablespoon and a half (or more) of filling down on each little strip at the top.

Fold the dough in a sort of triangle over the filling. Fold it up exactly as if you were folding a flag.

See this picture here? This shows the right and wrong way to do it. The top example is a FLAG. The bottom example is a TRIANGLE. TRIANGLE BAD. FLAG GOOD.

Mary Beth had a little trouble grasping this concept. Fortunately, Elise was there to straighten her out and make fun of her lack of flag-folding skills. What a good pal.

When you get to the end, fold up the corners of your flag. Not a triangle, remember?

When you get a whole cookie sheet full of these little beauties, pop them in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Oh yum.

Then you might want to go for a good long run, and come back hungry, cause we're making chicken wontons next.

EASIER NO-FOLD METHOD: Layer 7-10 layers of phyllo in pan, brushing each layer with butter. Spread spinach mix over phyllo and add another 7-10 layers of phyllo, butter each layer. Bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees.