It’s the feast of Lughnasadh and I am making our traditional meal; Potato Spinach Strudel. This recipe is one I have almost memorized from an amazing old vegetarian cookbook called Vegetariana by Nava Atlas. This is one of Missy’s cookbooks and we only have photocopied pages of our favorite recipes stuffed into an old binder. Another favorite from the book is a Tomato Apple Chuntey – the best ever.
This morning I did some quick shopping for my missing ingredients. I needed to get Filo Dough sheets, more potatoes (pity!), some buttermilk and feta cheese. I had everything else the recipe called for. Have you notice I never really give the whole recipe from any of these cookbooks? It’s because the author’s put so much time into testing them and getting their book published that it would be like taking something from them and giving it away from free. At least Missy paid for the book and I finally intend to buy myself a copy and should you!
The filling has me mashing up the potatoes and adding in a lot of wonderful things like steamed spinach. I didn’t use beet greens this time but stuck to the traditional recipe. I mash up my potatoes with one of those old-fashioned mashers but I use a newer fun little kitchen gadget for the tiny bit of nutmeg it calls for, It’s Microplane Spice Grater and is great (he he) for hard nuts and spices.
Vegetariana has some great tips for the layering of the filo dough and how to keep it from drying out as you work on buttering so many of the layers you put together. The final layers you feel like you are tucking the whole strudel in for a nice rest before it goes into the oven. We have enjoyed making different shapes out of the whole strudel, one year making a horned representation of Lugh. My son, Arron, and I would always have some filo odds and ends left over and would make some little sugar and cinnamon twists to go into the oven at the same time. Good times!
This year I was inspired by the shape of the heads of wheat from a project we did last year at this time. It was a Beginning Wheat Weaving, Mordiford. The instructions at the link are very complete and we had a lot of success. Today I cut out some extra Filo Dough pieces to represent the grains and put them together on the top of the strudel before one last coating of butter.