This week I attended a brilliant food swap hosted by Jess, it was called Take It, Bake It and it was adapted from the Soup Swap. The guidelines for this swap were a little different, the idea starting with having a freezer full of food that would serve well as instant dinner party fare. So each participant brought six batches of something that would serve six people, as well as a hot (or ready to be cooked) batch so that everybody could have a taste of the offerings.
I don’t have a lot of experience cooking, let alone figuring out how to unfreeze and bake something so I played it safe and went to the “Freeze It” sections of my old Everyday Food magazines. I was considering making lots of bolognese sauce and including bags of my new favorite pasta, but the freezer-to-oven cooking instructions for this Spinach Pie won me over. Also, that recipe makes two pies that serve six each, so I would only be making three batches of the recipe which sounded easy. I needn’t have worried, despite a minor incident involving spinach juice spilling inside my fridge I had a lot of fun cooking. I listed to This American Life, To the Best of Our Knowledge and then old episodes of Smodcast and the evening passed quickly. The only thing that took a lot of time was chopping all the onions for the recipe as I had to keep stopping and pacing the hallway to get onion fumes out of my eyes (I regret not getting those onion goggles now).
A few things if you should want to make the Spinach Pie – I used disposable 10″ pie plates and they needed a little more phyllo to cover the tops than is called for in the recipe. The phyllo is the best part anyhow so use 12 ounces instead of 8. It’s easier to separate the phyllo before tossing it with the olive oil, otherwise you’ll never get it to unroll. They phyllo will deflate when tossed with the oil, there isn’t much to be done.
The gathering was lots of fun, and I came home with quite a haul:
That pile includes: Chicken Marbella made by Lulife (it’s like grown up chicken wings), strawberry-rhubarab-apple crisp with creme anglaise made by Jess, some luscious macaroni and cheese made by Sarah, an asparagus-leek soup made by Noah, potato phyllo samosas made by Justin and Laura, and chocolate cookie, strawberry ice cream sandwiches made by Alex and Clair. I’m thrilled to have a freezer bursting with excellent food.
I even came home with a few gifts!
The spice packets were a party favor and the incredible rhubarb marmalade was a prize for having the first dish to disappear from the selection table (thank you Everyday Food).
In her entry Jess give this recipe for Vinegared Beet Salad which she served at the gathering, and which was incredible. I wish I had thought to ask if I could purchase the leftovers!