Most of the jobs I held before graduating from college were in restaurants.

I started as a waitress in a diner not too far from my high school, where at the end of our shift the bus boys poured watered down bleach on the kitchen floor and mopped. The bottom of my black stretchy dress pants quickly formed a white ring around them, as did every other employee’s. It was part of our uniform.

Spanakopita Pie | Things I Made TodayCollege summers I worked at a low key place in Lincoln Park, where the food was so good but so inexpensive compared to the rest of the neighborhood, sometimes we’d get 50% tips. During the school year, I was over at the Orpheum on State Street here in Madison, sipping on martinis with my coworkers those long and boring Tuesday nights where the crowds after happy hour were minimal, but come Sunday, we were running around like mad on the brunch shift. There were a few short stints at other places, but the names and details seemed to have slipped from memory.

Spanakopita Pie | Things I Made Today

While each place was unique and had it’s own quirks, there was one thing that I remember from each: the food that the waitstaff would order after the shift was done, when our feet were tired, and we wanted to fill up for free before heading home. In Chicago, that was always the spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie that the restaurant perfected.

Spanakopita Pie | Things I Made Today

I had a total craving for it this week. It’s been years since I’ve made it, and this time I simplified it into a pie rather than an individually wrapped little pocket, because it’s way less fussy this way. It hit the spot too, and gave me that dose of greens that I’ve clearly been missing over the last couple of weeks.

Spanakopita Pie | Things I Made Today

Spanakopita Pie
Recipe type: Main Dish, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 pounds baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces feta, crumbled
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • ½ - ¾ stick butter, melted
  • 10 sheets of phyllo dough, defrosted
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add spinach, working in batches, and blanch for 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible, working in batches if needed. Transfer to bowl.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add cooked onions, feta, Parmesan, oregano, and salt to bowl with spinach. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and add salt to taste. Stir in eggs.
  5. Brush the sides of a 9 inch springform pan with butter. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough to cover the bottom, with extra dough sticking out one side. Brush dough with butter. Lay a second sheet of phyllo dough on top, with extra dough sticking out in the opposite direction. Brush with butter, and repeat until you've used all 10 sheets of phyllo dough. Pour spinach mixture into the center and drape phyllo dough over the center, leaving the middle exposed. If phyllo is dry, brush with a bit more butter.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until dough is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before unmolding from springform. Cut into large wedges to serve.


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