Recently we opened our cottage for the summer. It was a busy weekend made even busier by someone’s hair-brained idea to redecorate (paint the wood paneling, new flooring, update kitchen upper cupboards, etc)! And that doesn’t stop me from complicating things by making an entire menu for the weekend home-made.
I’ve mentioned that our cottage is remote, so everything has to be brought in because even a 45 minute trip to the closest largest city doesn’t guarantee that one can find what one is looking for. So preparing a Menu Plan is essential as is the List of what needs to be brought up to execute said Menu Plan.
The list is key, here’s how I organize the list:
Menu Plan, Shopping List; things to be brought from home: the Pantry, the Freezer and the Refrigerator. As we pack for the weekend, things get checked off The List. The Menu Plan is followed to a T. If I bring four eggs, it means I’ll use four eggs. The trick is to end up with less than what we came up with, which usually works well. The Menu Plan also allows for left overs to be utilized in some sort of wrap for our return drive home, guaranteeing a healthier lunch than the truck stops on the road. Over the last twenty years I’ve only forgotten one thing and that was before The List was implemented, we were young and lived dangerously. If you’d like to download my template, feel free to use this one May 24 2013 Cottage Menu. The other essential thing is the running list once we get to the cottage — things that need to be brought the next time (toilet paper, paper towel, hand soap etc, you get the picture!)
JTs sister uses my FIL’s cottage about 15 metres (50 feet) from our place, so we generally get together at least once for cocktails during the weekend. I usually make something for cocktails because I like to cook! I came up with the idea of spinach and feta tartlets using my friend Zsuzsa’s cottage cheese pastry after seeing Sawsan’s post of Fatayer. They can be baked and then reheated to serve. I like them because they are full of flavour and small (portion control or eat them ALL!). This recipe makes 36 mini tarts using mini muffin tins with lots of pastry left over which can be frozen for future use. My lovely niece Laura (soon to be a full-fledged Lawyer) made Spanakopita, a delicious Weight Watchers recipe…great minds! This recipe isn’t for the dieter even though the serving is small, there is a lot of butter in the pastry. An alternative to the buttery pastry would be using wonton shells like my lovely friend Sissi has done here!
Makes 36 mini 2.5 cm or 1″ tarts
- 1/3 Zsuzsa’s cottage cheese pastry dough
- 200 g (7 oz) baby spinach
- 50 g (2 oz) finely chopped sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dill weed100 g (3.5 oz) crumbled Greek Feta
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Sweat the onions until translucent.
- Add garlic and sauté until you can smell its aroma, add the spinach and cook down until spinach has wilted.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Add to a food processor and pulse a few times, you don’t want paste, just smaller bits.
- Add the oregano, dill and the crumbled Greek Feta and stir well.
- Roll the dough to about 2mm (a hair more than 1/8th inch) thick and cut with a 5 cm (2 inch) scalloped cookie cutter.
- Press each round into the bottom of an ungreased mini muffin tin.
- Fill with about 1 tbsp of the spinach filling.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serve warm. Can be frozen and reheated for 10-12 minutes at 350F.