In a few weeks we will be celebrating Greek Easter with the people who won a free week at Odyssey! Today we start with showing you the winning stories. First up is the story of American Elisabeth Bitros, who won the number two position. Spanakopitakia spinach triangles is one of her favorite Greek dishes, so you will find the recipe for it after her story! Thank you Elisabeth for you wonderful words and see you soon!
COOKING WITH KATERINA
My fondest memory of Katerina and the Odyssey is from my first visit back in the spring of 2013, when I was there for a week of Greek cooking classes. I scheduled my trip during Easter Week as I had learned that Easter in Greece is a very special time. It was a celebration filled with wonderful tradition and family. I also found a video on YouTube from Easter in Poros and I knew that I had to go during that week as it looked like such an amazing experience.
Greek cooking lessons
I spent that week with Katerina and her staff getting one on one Greek cooking lessons. Most days were filled with fascinating stories of how she was taught to cook, the history behind the dishes, why certain dishes were served during Easter, her love of food, for her family and her island Poros.
It wasn’t until several days into the week when I was down at Askeli beach journaling that I had a realization about my time with Katerina. For the first time in about eight years I felt as though I was cooking with my beloved Mother again. All throughout my life I had been my Mother’s helper in the kitchen. Every holiday, special occasion, or simple meal I was in the kitchen cooking with her.
Food and travel
My mother was an amazing cook. She was always trying new and different recipes. She was Italian by heritage and she by far made the best Avgolemono soup! My mother loved food and loved travel. She shared with me both of her passions and they became mine. Travel and learning about food makes me feel close to my Mother.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of and miss her. My Mother had passed away about seven years before I visited Poros and it had been about eight years since we were able to cook a meal together. I felt very connected to my Mother during those days in the kitchen with Katerina. A connection I hadn’t felt in such a long time.
Cooking with my mother
I had forgotten how much I missed cooking with my mother. Later that day I shared my realization with Katerina as I wanted her to know how special our time together was and what it felt like to me. I felt a little funny telling her at first since she is only one year older than me, but she understood my feelings. Katerina knew what I was experiencing. As a mother and daughter herself she knows how special the times in the kitchen are with her Mother and daughter.
My special connection to Katerina was born that day. A connection that I will have forever. We call each other cousins now. We are family. I had many other memorable experiences during that week and the following year when I came back to Poros and to The Odyssey to harvest olives. By far my time in the kitchen with Katerina is the most special and one that will stay with me forever. I can never thank her enough.
Spanakopitakia spinach triangles
We asked Elisabeth what Greek recipe she really loves: “My favorite dish is Spanakopitakia spinach triangles. It’s a great way to get your vegetables since it’s filled with spinach and everything tastes good with feta and filo!”
So especially for Elisabeth and all of you: here is the recipe! We start by chopping the ingredients, like the spinach.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, except the filo and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Feta is the most important cheese, kefalotiri and kasseri cheese are optional.
Making Spanakopitakia spinach triangles
Cut the layered filo pastry into long strips about 5 cm wide. Lay out one strip of filo at a time on your work surface with one of the narrow ends close to you. Place a tablespoon of filling on the end nearest to you. Fold the bottom right corner over the filling to the left edge to form a triangle.
Fold the triangle up, bringing the point at the bottom left up to rest along the left edge. Turn the lower left corner over to touch the right edge – like folding up a flag. Continue turning the triangle over in this manner until you reach the end of the filo. Repeat this with the remaining filling and filo pastry strips.
Place the Spanakopitakia spinach triangles on a large baking tray and brush them with the remaining olive oil. Bake them in a preheated oven until they are golden brown, around 20 minutes.
Don’t the Spanakopitakia spinach triangles look delicious! Goodluck making them!