Banitsa

Yesterday was a brutal fifth day after brutal four before it. First one kid was super sick, then the next and then worst nightmare, the baby caught it, too. We had tried to keep them all quarantined throughout the weekend and I cancelled most of my work so I could rock and soothe and hold the sick babies. By Monday we were all stir crazy but the boys were still so sick, and then Tuesday hit and our poor tiny girl woke up so sick and weak and sad.

I am going to digress a tad here and share that I love and kind of hate the interweb, too. I love how much information is accessible. I love that we can connect with people across miles and busy schedules and demographics. I love that it’s shrunk the world. I hate that I am not always good with personal boundaries and sometimes I engage in different areas because it’s a topic that resonates with me, but sometimes that means that the topic is in my face, all the time. If that topic is triggering, it exhausts me emotionally to feel like I can never step away from it. Yesterday felt that way with adoption groups. Well, it had actually been a long time coming, but yesterday was the tipping point. I reached for what always soothes my soul: baking, and before I laid out the sheets of phyllo dough for Banitsa, which is basically Bulgarian feta pie, I left every last group that was weighing on me.

It’s not the first time I’ve done so, and I am sure months down the line I will forget how sensitive I am and the cycle will repeat. I think people forget when they pick up causes they care about, especially when it’s something they are involved in peripherally, that at the center of it are real people with deep and profound hurts and both the problems and the solutions aren’t black and white and successfully overcoming hard things isn’t linear. Yesterday was definitely a nose dive day for me. So I rewrote it’s ending with cheese, butter, eggs and a favorite from my beautiful daughter’s home country.

 

Banitsa is super easy. You can also just throw it all in a pan, square style but I find things that are repetitive calming, so I rolled mine, which is how you will see it in Bulgaria.

 

Bulgarian Banitsa:

2 cups good quality feta, drained well, crumbled

1 small container good greek yogurt, plain (the single serving size)

2 large eggs, beaten

half a carton of phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions

1 cup melted butter

sea salt and/or chopped green onions for the top

good quality honey, for drizzling over the top.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the cheese, yogurt and beaten eggs. Take your first sheet of dough and fold in half so you have a sheet that is 12×8. If, like me, your dough is already 12×8 then stack two sheets. Brush lightly with butter and starting at the 12″ end closest to you, scoop a small line of the filling across the long end and roll away from you until you get to the other end. I used a large pie plate, though the recipe recommends a springform pan. Continue working in this fashion until you’ve used all dough and filling, squishing the dough in nice and tightly into the pan. Pour any remaining butter over the top and sprinkle with sea salt (and onions, if you’d like). Bake for 20-25 minutes until flaky and golden. Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before eating. It’s delicious warm, and equally delicious room temperature. Topping with a drizzle of quality honey takes it into naughty delectable territory.

I served ours with falafel and a simple greek salad. And wine. Duh. PERFECT spring or summer meal for playing with the kids outside, or wiping feverish brows and daydreaming that you are in Europe đŸ˜‰

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