Salwa is an excellent cook. Interviewing Salwa and other church members was the highlight of writing Tastes Like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. Tastes Like Home is a fundraiser for Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, a pan-orthodox parish in Anchorage, Alaska.
We are working hard to raise money for a new church building, necessary because we now hold services in a converted house far too small for our congregation. Weddings and funerals overwhelm our current building and must be held elsewhere. All proceeds from the sale of Tastes Like Home go directly into the Holy Transfiguration Building Fund.
Last month, we sold Tastes Like Home at the Anchorage Museum’s Book Fair. I staffed the booth with help from other church volunteers.
Salwa spent several hours helping out at the Book Fair. When we weren’t talking to customers, we were chatting about food. Salwa said she’d been thinking about bringing Palestinian Spinach Triangles to church the next day for coffee hour.
Palestinian Spinach Pies? My ears perked up. I asked if they were similar to Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pies). Salwa said they were the same shape, but used pita bread dough instead of filo for the wrapping, so weren’t loaded with butter. She said the filling was spiced with sumac and did not include cheese, so was suitable for religious fasting days or vegans.
I grabbed a pen and started taking notes.
I brought the Palestinian Spinach Pies to a New Year’s Eve party, where they disappeared before 9 pm. I will happily make this recipe again and again.
Palestinian Spinach Pies (Παλαιστινιακή Σπανακόπιτα)
Makes 80 2 1/2” spinach pies
Adapted from recipe by Salwa Abuamsha
The spinach pies can be made with 2 1/2” up to 5” circles. Smaller spinach pies are typically made at home, and larger pies are more often seen in bakeries and street stalls. The pies can be made ahead, baked, and refrigerated (or frozen and thawed), and rewarmed for 15 minutes at 350°F.
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