This week we celebrated Shavuot (yet another Jewish holiday which involves eating lots of delicious food, amongst other things). There is a tradition on Shavuot to eat dairy products, and so holiday foods usually include a variety of cheesecakes, blintzes and other rich dairy delights. In the supermarkets all hell breaks loose in the dairy aisles as representatives of each company try to push their brand of cottage cheese upon you.
This year we spent the holiday with Ninja’s brother Rafi and his wife Avital, and their two yummy children. Rafi made a dazzling array of desserts including David Leovitz’s cheesecake on a chocolate base, cheesecake brownies, fruit cake, lemon meringue pie, chocolate tart, and banana cake. It was impossible not to taste everything, a few times, and everything was DELICIOUS. Their fridge is now full of left-over desserts from which I am relieved to have escaped. After this serious indulgence I am looking forward to what I hope will be a healthy week ahead.
Seeing as the desserts were more than covered, I contributed to the savoury part of the meal, using a new recipe, adapted from “Food from the Family Tree” by Pat Bell and Bonnie Rasmussen. These squares were very tasty and perfect for summer, just the right combination of salty and fresh, light yet filling.
SPINACH AND FETA SQUARES
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour (I used Whole Wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon crumbled dried
½ teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
350g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used 5% fat ‘Bulgarit’ cheese)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno (I used parmesan instead)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small saucepan cook the onion and garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened.
3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with the milk until the mixture is well blended, stir in the flour, baking powder, thyme, basil and nutmeg, then fold in the onion mixture, spinach and cheeses.
4. Spread the mixture in a 9-by-12-inch baking dish, well coated with cooking spray, and bake it for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the mixture pulls away slightly for the sides of the dish.
5. Let the mixture cool in the dish on a rack for a few minutes and then cut it into bite-size squares for hors d’oeuvres or larger squares for brunch.
Serve the squares hot, at room temperature or chilled. Serves 12 as an hors d’oeuvre or 6 as a brunch dish.