Are cookbooks an endangered species? Given the ready availability of hundreds of thousands of free recipes on the internet, does it make more sense to use Google to find a recipe than it does to thumb through a dozen cookbooks? As much as I love cookbooks, even I find myself sourcing recipes on the internet a lot more than I ever thought I would.
Consider, for example, a recent search for a recipe for a butternut squash soup made with apple cider. I’d seen an interesting recipe, but I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it. For some reason, I was convinced the soup was made in a slow cooker, and I spent a half hour searching through all of my slow cooker cookbooks. Gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetic, kosher- there are slow cooker cookbooks for virtually every niche market.
I typically thumb through a new book, marking the recipes that look interesting. So when I didn’t find an appealing recipe in any of the slow cooker books, I checked out the markers in my soup books, most of them irregular scraps of paper. Someday I’ll remember to get those nifty markers well-organized people use when they’re leading a book-based discussion at a meeting or book club. Anyway, I couldn’t find a recipe. So I switched gears and headed to the internet.
The last time I did an internet search for a recipe, I was thinking about making spanakopita, the phyllo-wrapped spinach pies that are one of my favorite Greek dishes. I checked out my Greek cookbooks and found some interesting options. But when I thought about trekking to Greek town if I couldn’t get find frozen phyllo at Treasure Island or Whole Foods, I started to have misgivings.
Working with phyllo requires patience and a certain amount of manual dexterity. Each one of the paper thin sheets of phyllo has to be brushed with melted butter, a task requiring a light touch and a heavy dose of the aforementioned patience, qualities I’m sorely lacking. It was time to find a simpler format.
So I started looking at recipes for spinach quiche. There were a lot to choose from, but I couldn’t find a filling that appealed to me. In the end, I wound up with a casserole made with cottage cheese, eggs, frozen spinach, and feta cheese. No phyllo. No melted butter. This was a simple casserole that could be made ahead of time. That’s the beauty of the internet. It gives you an opportunity to fine tune your ideas, all with a click of the mouse.
Greek Spinach Bake Recipe
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1.In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, spinach and feta cheese. Stir in the flour, pepper and salt. Add eggs and mix well.
2.Spoon into a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350-degrees for 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 160-degrees.
Note: Credited to Sharon Olney of Galt, California, the recipe is from tasteofhome.com/recipes/greek-spinach-bake.