Debbie Matenopoulos' Prasopita Leek and Cheese Pie & Cauliflower Garlic "Mashed Potatoes"

Debbie Matenopoulos' Prasopita Leek and Cheese Pie & Cauliflower Garlic "Mashed Potatoes"

"This is a great substitution for Mashed Potatoes. It's lighter and just as tasty. I started making this about 6 years ago when I decided that we didn't really need another heavy carb on the table at Thanksgiving. Now I know that there are some die hard mashed potato fans out there that would never forego their decadent whipped potato pudding, however, I say give it shot. Even my brother in law who could eat mashed potatoes for every meal liked it. Happy eating!!!"
- Debbie

Cauliflower Garlic Mash

• 2-3 medium heads of Cauliflower • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese • 2 cloves minced garlic • ½ cup heavy cream, milk, or skim milk (whatever you prefer in your mashed potato recipe) • ½ stick Land O'Lakes butter • ¼ cup of vegetable broth or chicken broth • salt and pepper to taste Recipe:

  1. Boil the Cauliflower until very tender.
  2. Strain in a colander and let cool a bit.
  3. Put all of the cauliflower florets (no stem or green leaves) in the blender.
  4. Add garlic, milk or cream, and broth.
  5. Cover and blend until creamy like mashed potatoes.
  6. Taste, add salt and pepper and blend quickly again.
  7. Serve immediately.

Prasopita "prah-soh-pee-tah" - Leek and Cheese Pie
"Leeks are harvested and eaten in the wintertime in Greece, and so this pita is served during the colder months. If you've never had leeks before, they are like very mildly flavored onions. They also have a prominent place in Greek mythology. It is said that leeks were included in ritual offerings to Leto, the mother of the twin Greek gods Apollo and Artemis, because she craved them during her pregnancy. Today, when the winter months roll around, I also crave this leek-stuffed phyllo pie. It has light and airy texture with a very sophisticated and delicate flavor. This was my father's very favorite of all the Pita dishes and therefore I wanted to share it with my family at Home and Family in his honor. I love you and miss you everyday Baba!!"
- Debbie

Ingredients: (Serves 8)

• ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil, divided • 2 pounds leeks, halved, white and soft green parts thinly sliced, washed well, and dried • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint • 4 large eggs • ½ pound Greek mizithra cheese (or ricotta) • ½ teaspoon sea salt • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper • ½ pound brine-packed Greek feta, crumbled • 1 (1-pound) package phyllo dough sheets (13 x 18 inches), thawed Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Set 2 large sauté pans over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to each pan. Add the white parts of the leeks to one pan, and the green parts to the other pan, cooking the white parts for 6 minutes, or until translucent, and the green parts for 8 minutes, or until tender, stirring both frequently. After 6 minutes, add the parsley to the pan with the white parts of the leeks, and cook 1 more minute. Transfer both the white and greens parts of the leeks to a large mixing bowl, and add the mint.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together with the mizithra (or ricotta) cheese. Add the egg and cheese mixture to the leeks, along with the salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Gently fold in the feta crumbles so that they keep a relatively chunky texture. Set aside.
  4. Roll the phyllo dough out on a flat surface, working quickly to prevent it from drying out. Place two phyllo sheets into the pan at a time, centering them in the pan and letting the edges hang over the sides. Brush the top sheet of each two-sheet layer with a little of the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil, but do not brush the overhanging edges. Continue in this manner until you have used 10 of the phyllo dough sheets. Spread the leek mixture evenly over the phyllo dough layers in the prepared dish. Fold in the overhanging phyllo dough over the filling, then continue to layer the phyllo dough, brushing each two-sheet layer with olive oil, until you have used all of the dough. Trim the top layers of phyllo to fit the pan. Slowly and evenly pour the remaining olive oil on top, and spread evenly.
  5. Before baking, using a large knife, very carefully score the prasopita into 8 to 10 pieces, cutting through the top layers just until you reach the filling. Pre-cutting makes it much easier to serve, as the phyllo dough becomes crisp and very fragile after baking.
  6. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and flaky, watching carefully. Cool for 10 minutes, slice the pre-cut pieces all the way through, and serve.

These recipes are from the forthcoming book: "It's All Greek To Me: Transform Your Health the Mediterranean Way with My Family's Century-Old Recipes" by Debbie Matenopoulos.

All recipes ©2013 by Debbie Matenopoulos and PCA Creative LLC. All rights reserved. And make sure you follow Debbie on twitter @iamdebbiem.