A Mark-Approved Experiment
(AKA--"you should make this again")
Being a teacher at an urban school comes with interesting benefits. We have all sorts of grant money being poured into the school. One of these programs is a daily "fresh fruit & vegetable" snack--an attempt to expose low-income kids to healthy snacks. Generally the kids love the snacks--especially the fruit. However, 2-3 times a month, there will be plenty of left-overs from kids who just don't like plain cauliflower or raw zucchini (go figure). These left-overs go home with me. Last week's leftovers were especially exciting--red peppers. YUM! Luckily for me, many of the kids didn't feel excited to eat these sweet delicacies, so I got quite a few snack size portions to work with for dinner.
My creativity river was roaring that night, and I danced around the kitchen creating a masterpiece of an experiment. Usually I try to find a recipe online--similar to the one in my head, but not this time. So if it is patented to another experimenter--great! But I swear I made it up :) While I was making it, I had so much fun, I decided if it was a flop, I would still post it on the blog--b/c it was SUCH a blast to make!
Mark always comes with an open mind to the dinner table, but especially if it's an experiment. He's a fairly good audience, but I can REaLLY tell if he likes something by how many portions he dishes out to himself. We had this dish with Barley and a grape-fruit lettuce salad. He took a small amount of barely, plenty of salad, and came back for more of "the experiment"... probably 4 times. I deem that a ringer for sure.
Anyway, here's to:
20 sheets Filo dough
1 sliced onion
1 sliced red bell pepper
1-2 Handfulls of spinach
1 can garbanzo beans
Handful of nuts (almonds or pecans)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Cheese (I used pepper jack, but any normal block cheese would work)
1 fresh tomato, sliced
1) Let your filo dough de-thaw (if it's frozen); pre-heat oven to 400
2) Saute onion until browned (5 min), add pepper and beans. Cook for 5-ish min--until beans start to soften, add spinach and the juice of 1/2 the lemon. Stir and cook until spinach is wilted, season with plenty of salt and fresh pepper.
3) Chop the sauted stuff in a food processor with the nuts or mash it up really well and add chopped nuts. If it needs more juice, add chicken broth or plain yogurt to help the mixing.
**Taste it at this point. Add lemon as needed or seasoning. Fresh Parmesan would also be delightful.
4) Grease a casserole dish (9x9 or a basic cornel).
5) Layer half of your filo dough on the bottom, brushing a bit of olive oil on the layers to help them stick together (I think I used about 8 pieces). I let my pieces fold over the sides, but I don't think that really matters.
6) Spread the cooked stuff on the top of the filo, and layer the rest of the filo dough on the top.
7) Cover with cheese, and bake for 20 min. Add the tomato slices during the last 5 min of baking or at the end--depending on your taste.
**Disclaimer. I have never written a recipe for my own experiments. Let me know where I can improve for clarity sake:)**