Feet Off The Table! We Have A Guest!

Question: How excited am I today to be sharing this space one of my favoritest people in the whole wide blogging world?

Answer: I am extremely excited! This woman has to be one of the most scathingly, screamingly funny people in the universe.  Don’t visit her blog if you’re somewhere laughing out loud isn’t deemed acceptable.  Because you will most definitely laugh out loud when she starts talking about her feelings for Gwyneth Paltrow, her triumph over both Ben AND Jerry, or good times at the opera.  Many’s the time I’ve had to put my head down on the desk to hide the laughter.

PS? In case you were wondering? I just visited those posts and laughed out loud all over again.

Check out the recipe she shared with us, y’all.  It’s on my master list of recipes I need to try.  Tomorrow.  Or tonight if I can get Rob to go to the store for me.  We’ll see.  I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

She’s foul-mouthed, she’s crazy smart, she’s a terrific friend who I value enormously.  Here she is, in all her anonymous glory: Suniverse.  Enjoy!

It’s not Greek to me. It’s just so damn tasty.

There are things that I love to eat that my family makes that I can’t eat elsewhere because it’s always such a disappointment when I do.  Like my mouth gets all pissed off – Who the f**k do you think you are, Suniverse, putting this inferior product on my taste buds?  UNCOOL. [As we all know, my mouth is a potty-mouth.]

One of those delicious taste sensations is Byrek – a spinach pie without the spinach.  I mean, you could add the spinach, and sometimes I do, but a lot of times you just want the deliciousness of a mouthful of cheesy goodness and greenery would just get in the way.

Byrek is very simple, but has many variations. It can be more complex, if you want to make your own phyllo dough.  I do not, because that is an art form I haven’t the patience for.  You see those tissue-thin layers of dough? PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY MAKE THOSE BY HAND.  Well, they use a stick to roll the layers out, but you know what I mean.  I choose Option B, which is to purchase premade phyllo.  Or, more to the point, I ask my mom if she’s picked up any from the Arabic grocery store and happens to have any extra because the girl really wants some byrek.  She can’t get it to me fast enough then.

Byrek [Boo-rake]

1 Large Container of Large Curd Cottage Cheese [I’m sure you could use small curd, but I don’t like it – it seems so mealy]

2 Eggs

Feta Cheese – as much as you’d like; I used probably a cup, a cup and a half – crumbled

All Purpose Flour

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

1 Cup Butter [Not margarine. BUTTER.], melted

1 Package, premade phyllo dough.  Or you could make your own. But you’re on your own there.

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Pour the cottage cheese into a mesh strainer and DO NOT SHAKE IT like some people did.  Those mesh strainers? NOT SOLID.  Strain the cottage cheese to remove most of the liquid. Give it up and figure you’ll just add extra flour.

3.  Put [semi-] strained cheese into a large bowl.  Add the eggs, the flour and the crumbled feta. Mix it up. Add a bit of salt [maybe ¼ tsp.] and some black pepper.  Mix some more.  It should look like filling for manicotti or lasagna, but a bit drier.

4.  Get your melted butter, a pastry brush, if you have one [you can be old school and use a teaspoon], and the filling and set them next to the baking sheet.

5.  Try to keep the parchment paper from rolling up.

6.  Swear at the parchment paper and wonder why it never acts up for Martha Stewart.  Stupid parchment paper.

7.  Stare at the package of phyllo.  Realize it’s now or never.  Open the package.

8.  IMMEDIATELY COVER THE PACKAGE WITH A DAMP TEA TOWEL.  Well, don’t freak out about it, or anything, but the pastry is so thin that it crumbles when it dries.  And it dries fast.  So keep the dough covered when you’re not using it.

9.  Decide if you have the patience to make triangles of byrek.  Realize you don’t, because there is no way you’re slicing the paper thin phyllo dough layers into strips.  That way heartbreak lies.

10.  Debate rolling the phyllo layers into ropes and coiling them, like some people in your family do.   Realize that you haven’t the dexterity.

11.  Take about ½ the package of phyllo dough and lay it out on the parchment paper.  [You’ll lay down now, won’t you, you bastard?]

12.   Now here is where it gets tricky, and by tricky, I mean repetitive.  You’ll have a rectangle of phyllo dough layers.  I start by folding it in half.  Then I peel off two sheets at a time and lay them flat again and then butter the layer.  Butter the hell out of it.  Seriously.  You will use A LOT of butter.  But you have to, otherwise the byrek will be dry and people will cry.

13.  Peel off two more sheets, butter the layer, and continue until you have a rectangle again, one half buttered, the other half not.

14.  Spread about ½ the cheese mix out on the buttered half of the dough.  Leave about an inch space around the edges.

15.  Peel off two more sheets of the dry dough and lay them on top of the cheese mix.  Butter. Peel. Butter. Peel. You get the drill.

16.  When you have completed all the layers, butter the edges and then fold them up to form a seal.

17.  Repeat with the rest of the package of phyllo dough and filling.

18.  Put the byrek in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.  Maybe a bit longer. You want it a good golden brown on top, like this:

19.  Cut into squares or in half or however many servings you want to get out of it.  I usually end up cutting it into small pieces and then snarfing up a bunch of them, because they’re small.  These freeze well and you can reheat in the microwave.

So delicious and tasty, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made this before.  And then you’ll get pissed that you’ve wasted so much time NOT making this that you’ll eat the whole thing.  Totally worth it, though.  Seriously.


Happy sigh.

I have no words for this.  Other than “Yes, please”.

How much do you love this woman? Surely not as much as I do.  So visit herTweet her.  Stalk her.  Your life will be much richer for it, believe me.

 

 

 

19 Comments

THANK YOU FOR BEING SO SWEET!

I’m so thrilled to be here. Truly.

And you will NOT be sorry when you make this.

XOXOXOXOXOXO

S

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Just like this recipe here, Suniverse is the perfect light and heavenly crust with the real deal inside.
I love her, her posts, her tweets, her kindness.

She has been just about the find of the century for me on twitter.

So happy to see her here.

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I love that this recipe isn’t sullied with spinach. Not enough to make it myself, but I’d totally eat it at your house if you served it to me. I’ll make the martinis.

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I didn’t think that I could love you any more than I already do, but oh yes. It’s possible.

This? Is one of my favoritests foods in the whole wide world.

FAB guest post you, too!

I’m hungry already!

XO

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Alexandra – YOU MAKE ME SO HAPPY!

MommaKiss – Totally drool worthy, and you’re welcome.

Alison – Thanks! It’s so great to be here!

Missy – Thanks! I’ll see you at my place. And your place. And behind the garage.

Poppy – Done and done. Let’s check our calendars.

Galit – THANK YOU!!! And isn’t it sooooo gooooood? Yum.

Renee – It’s great. I could probably get you a good baklava recipe. I’ll get on that.

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A stick? I 100% believe that they use an actual stick and now I desperately want to watch how phyllo dough is made.

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Mrs. Jen B

I watched it being made once on “No Reservations” – it was amazing. Almost transparent. Talk about craftsmanship. In other news, I can make a loaf of bread that looks sorta like actual bread. I mean come on.

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I like the sound of the recipe and think I will give it a try… thank you for sharing x PS Dont know suniverse yet, but will also give her a squizz!

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Suniverse is my newest love in blog world. We just discovered each other a few weeks ago and she is so outrageously funny that I have big-time girl love for her.

I don’t know why, but that last sentence sounded Asian. I think it’s cause I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning.

My mother in law is Italian and a gourmet chef, double whammy of cooking, there. She makes this with and without the spinach and it is heaven in the mouth. she also makes the most phenomenal baklava and once when I was feeling ambitious and also insane, I decided to make her baklava. She too makes the homemade phyllo. But I wasn’t that insane, so I bought the ready made dough. It was terrible. I cried. That crap’s crazy hard to work with. Now, I BUY my baklava and anything else made from phyllo dough from the Greek bakery.

Now I’m even more girl crushing on her because she can handle phyllo dough. Thanks for sharing!

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Reply

Hey there! This post could not be written any better!
Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!

He always kept talking about this. I will forward this
post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

Reply

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