Christos Sourligas is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, writer, director and producer from Canada — who admits that he is not a “famous cook nor a celebrity chef.”
But when doctors recently told him that beloved his mother Evdokia had only 12-18 months to live, he took it upon himself to release a cookbook documenting her culinary masterpieces.
Sourligas told The Pappas Post that “My Big Fat Greek Cookbook” was therefore “born out of necessity,” as he put his mind into “overdrive” to compile his mother’s prized recipes into a thoughtfully arranged, styled and photographed cookbook.
While he could not reveal all of the recipes, the Canadian native generously provided the Post with the recipe for one of his favorite dishes — spanakopitakia, or little spinach pie triangles.
“Hands down, there is no better vegetarian pie (and I’m not biased because of my Greek heritage),” he says. “Spanakopita is healthy, rich and savory — and just one bite simply reminds me of home.”
“Enjoy spanakopitakia (baby cousins of the spinach pie) on the go as a mid-morning or midday snack. Combine it with any Greek dip — tzatziki, skordalia, tarama, tirokafteri or melitzanosalata — for a colorful rainbow of delights.”
“My Big Fat Greek Cookbook” includes 65 authentic recipes, photographs, traditional meals, memories and tidbits of information that draw family and friends to Greek tables time and again.
The book has received widespread praise from various personalities within the food industry and beyond.
“Christos has captured the essence of Greek home cooking through this collection of his mother’s recipes,” fellow Canadian author Peter Minaki said. [This is] an easy-to-read cookbook, emphasizing the simplistic beauty of Greek cuisine.”
Read the ingredients and follow the instructions for his mother’s spanakopitakia recipe below.
Prep: 1 hour | Bake: 30 min | Ready in: 1 h 30 min | Serves: 8
For the filling:
- 10 oz (284g) spinach
- 10 scallion shoots
- 2 cups freshly chopped dill
- 1 cup freshly crumbled feta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
For the phyllo pastry:
- 16 oz (454g) phyllo dough sheets
- Olive oil
1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a hard boil.
2. Wash the spinach, scallions, and dill. Do not cut the spinach. Chop the scallions into 1/3-inch bits. Rinse the feta through a strainer to wash off the brine and set aside.
3. Toss the scallions and dill into the boiling pot of water. Boil for 2 minutes before adding in the spinach. Stir and boil for another 2 minutes. Thoroughly strain the greens through a colander, and let stand before placing into a large mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs, and toss in the crumbled feta. Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix.
4. Lay out the phyllo dough sheets onto a large cutting board and slice 3-inch-wide strips. Cover the strips with a towel so they don’t dry up. Brush each strip with olive oil, piling 3 strips for use per triangle. Drop a tablespoonful of spinach filling onto the bottom edge of the strips and fold the phyllo over like folding a flag. Repeat with remaining spinach filling and phyllo, and arrange the triangles onto a well-buttered baking sheet. Brush the triangles with olive oil.
5.Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) on the convection setting. Bake the spanakopitakia for 15 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Cool and serve with a dip
Photos credit / Alison Slattery
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