Whether or not you like eating beets, you have to admit that they are some of the most beautiful looking vegetables out there…or actually, under there; beets are root vegetables whose bulbs grow underground. In any case, although the most common type of beet is the deep red variety, there are a number of other vibrant colours, such as orange, yellow and red candy-cane striped beets called chiogga beets. Nature is truly marvelous.
Although it is true that beets are beauties, there is so much more to them than meets the eye, and all of it is delicious. The bulbous portion of the beet plant is the beetroot (or the taproot) and the stems and leaves form the beet greens. Beet greens are often discarded, which is a shame because they are packed with flavour and nutrition. Our parents know this and would never dream of tossing these lovely greens into the compost or trash. In keeping with their philosophy of waste nothing, this salad incorporates both beetroots and beet greens, and is as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.
In Greece, this week marks the last week of a festive carnival season, before the start of Great Lent, which precedes Orthodox Easter. It is a week where many abstain from meat, but happily over indulge in cheese and dairy products in anticipation of the upcoming period of fast, which for many, typically prohibits most animal products. Even those who will not follow a strict fast enjoy the opportunity to celebrate and feast on cheese and things made with cheese. These tyropites, with homemade phyllo dough, are our nod to this carnival week of Tyrini (cheese week).
There are so many ways to make tyropites, and every family certainly has their favourite recipe. This is ours. Although making tyropites using store-bought phyllo dough (similar in technique to the spanakopitakia we have shared with you) is another delicious option, making your own phyllo adds another level of deliciousness. In this particular recipe the phyllo is made with yogourt (let’s get as much dairy in here as we can) and the filling is a mixture of ricotta cheese and Greek feta; a combination which is flavourful and light. The result are small packets of creamy, cheese filling wrapped in a flaky, but light, dough. Lovely.