Unboxing: VioLife Cheese

I’ve been saving this bit of happy news for so long, I thought I was going to explode! But now that Cheesefare Week is upon us (and therefore, PIZZA WEEK!!!! Starting tomorrow, March 7), I can finally share. A few weeks ago I posted some tracking information on my facebook page and asked people to guess what was being delivered. You can bet I was checking the tracking multiple times a day, I was so excited…because…I was getting samples of VioLife vegan cheese, all the way from Greece! I made another silly little unboxing video so you can experience my joy.


This time I just completely drowned out my voice with the music, I really don’t add anything :p

VioLife Vegan Cheese
Originally I was going to save all this glorious cheese for Cheesefare week, but then I realized…this is a LOT of cheese! I don’t think I can eat it all by myself in one week. So I’ve already sampled some and have a few things to share. But I’ll also be trying it out on pizza all week long.

I hope you are all prepared for Pizza Week, and I hope some of you will join me in enjoying at least one piece of pizza every day until (Orthodox) Lent begins. I’m going to get my dough rising for pizza crust right now. See you tomorrow, for the first day of Pizza Week!

Unboxing: VioLife Cheese

I’ve been saving this bit of happy news for so long, I thought I was going to explode! But now that Cheesefare Week is upon us (and therefore, PIZZA WEEK!!!! Starting tomorrow, March 7), I can finally share. A few weeks ago I posted some tracking information on my facebook page and asked people to guess what was being delivered. You can bet I was checking the tracking multiple times a day, I was so excited…because…I was getting samples of VioLife vegan cheese, all the way from Greece! I made another silly little unboxing video so you can experience my joy.


This time I just completely drowned out my voice with the music, I really don’t add anything :p

VioLife Vegan Cheese
Originally I was going to save all this glorious cheese for Cheesefare week, but then I realized…this is a LOT of cheese! I don’t think I can eat it all by myself in one week. So I’ve already sampled some and have a few things to share. But I’ll also be trying it out on pizza all week long.

I hope you are all prepared for Pizza Week, and I hope some of you will join me in enjoying at least one piece of pizza every day until (Orthodox) Lent begins. I’m going to get my dough rising for pizza crust right now. See you tomorrow, for the first day of Pizza Week!

Week of Greek: Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

For our third course today, we’re making a classic Greek dish I bet nearly all of you have heard of and probably tried. Although I’m more accustomed to the Syrian spinach pie – a triangle-shaped soft bread filled with spinach and onions, seasoned with plenty of salt and lemon juice – I’m sure I had spanakopita at least a few times before going vegan. And I was happily surprised when I flipped through my cookbook and saw a recipe that doesn’t even mention feta! Of course you would traditionally brush the phyllo dough with butter, but I veganized that part easily enough.

2015-7-15 Spinach Pie Spanakopita
You can make your own phyllo dough from scratch, but I found mine at the Mediterranean market. They had three different kinds, and each of them were vegan! You may even be able to find it ready-made at your local grocery store.

2015-7-15 Spinach Pie Spanakopita2
Now, this very basic recipe doesn’t make much, and that’s a shame because when you taste the flaky phyllo together with the spinach and dill you are going to want more, more, more.

2015-7-15 Spinach Pie Spanakopita3
So when we get to the end here, we’ll talk about bulking it up.

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
1 lb spinach*
6 green/spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 teacup dill, finely chopped
1 1/2 teacup olive oil*
salt & pepper
1 pkg phyllo dough

Note: A teacup equals approximately 1 C, but you’ll have so much fun using a teacup instead of a regular measuring cup!
Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 9×9″ pan.
Clean spinach and drain well (or buy triple washed spinach that’s ready for use).
Saute green onions in the oil over medium heat until tender. Shred spinach and add to onions, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook spinach over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked out of the pan. Stir in the dill. Remove from heat.

Line the oiled pan with one pastry sheet. Brush it with olive oil (or margarine, or refined coconut oil) and add another layer, repeating until you’ve done five layers total. Spread the spinach mixture over the layers of phyllo dough.
Now top spinach with another pastry sheet, brush with oil, and repeat until you’ve done five layers.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut into squares or triangles. Can be served hot or cold, cold is my preference.

*Now about bulking it up. One pound of spinach really cooks down and leaves you with just a thin layer. At the same time, there seemed to be too much oil – I drained it because I didn’t want to wait forever for it to cook out while meanwhile my spinach shrank and shrank (I used that excess oil to brush my pastry dough).

I recommend cooking two pounds of spinach in 1/2 cup of oil, and adding more as needed. You could also double the amount of green onions while you’re at it.
Cheese is really not necessary, but if you miss it, find a vegan feta or ricotta to mix in after you’ve finished cooking the spinach and onions. You can also make your own using this Vegan Feta Cheese recipe from 2 Broke Vegans!