Alaska-style spanakopita includes salmon with the traditional spinach and feta. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska-style spanakopita includes salmon with the traditional spinach and feta. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the Strawberry Patch: Spanakopita — Alaska style

I have been deep cleaning, organizing, rearranging and generally revitalizing our home these last couple weeks

It seems the fairies have finally convinced winter to release the sun from its blue prison.

The warmth has returned, and the misty blue tint to its light has been replaced by fire. Its warmth streams into my house now late into the afternoon, illuminating the dark corners and chasing away the shadows who have nestled there these long dark months.

With each passing day, the glowing tendrils reach farther, revealing those spaces at the edges of the lamplight, where the dust has been allowed to settle, and lost toys have patiently waited to be found. Now is the time to rip out the dusty stacks that have piled up and sweep out the remnants of winter darkness, and maybe even the last few spruce needles from this year’s Christmas tree.

I have been deep cleaning, organizing, rearranging and generally revitalizing our home these last couple weeks.

Finally exposing those neglected corners prompts me to reimagine the space and think creatively about how our home could be more functional, beautiful and enjoyable. This process has been quite empowering, all except for the dreaded pantry, which I still have yet to tackle.

I have the unfortunate habit of quickly abandoning my organizational strategies in that one particular space. The return from the grocery store is often a hectic jumble of snacks for rumbling tummies and cats swerving underfoot, so grocery bags are evacuated with irritation and haste, and often with a doomed declaration that I will circle back to restore order to the madness.

I’ll get to it someday soon, but for now, simply reaching to the back of the shelves to plan my weekly menu will help to start the process.

I had a few jars of home-canned salmon left (a thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law) which I must not allow to expire, and two more boxes of that phyllo dough that deserves to be enjoyed, so I used some of each to make spanakopita — Alaska style.

Ingredients:

One box phyllo

Two cans salmon

One large bag frozen spinach

One 16-ounce block feta cheese

2 sticks unsalted butter — clarified

¼ cup fresh minced dill

Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Allow the spinach to thaw completely, then squeeze as much liquid out as possible before adding to a large mixing bowl.

Crumble the feta into very small pieces. You can use your hands or your knife held flat and scraped against the block.

Mix the spinach, feta and fresh dill until thoroughly combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Drain as much of the liquid off the salmon as possible before adding to the bowl.

Very gently mix. Try not to overmix and make a paste — the final texture will be unpleasant. You want some solid chunks in there, so mix carefully with your hands.

Grease the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan and layer buttered phyllo sheets down, one at a time, until half the box is gone.

Spread your filling in an even layer across the whole pan. Press down slightly and smooth until as flat as possible.

Continue layering buttered phyllo until all but about 10 sheets are left.

Gently crumple those last sheets and arrange them on the top to create a pretty, crunchy topping. You do not need to butter those topping sheets — just place them on top as is.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, dollop of Greek yogurt, and a salad.

More in Life

John Messick’s “Compass Lines” is displayed at the Kenai Peninsula College Bookstore in Soldotna, Alaska on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Messick reflects on path forward in ‘Compass Lines’

“Compass Lines,” a new book by John Messick, a local writer and… Continue reading

Keanu Reeves portrays John Wick in "John Wick: Chapter 4." (Photo courtesy Lionsgate)
On the Screen: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ goes out on top

In the showstopping, approximately 40-minute long, third-act action sequence of “John Wick:… Continue reading

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Springing ahead

I’m not ready to spring ahead

Murder suspect William Dempsey is pictured shortly after he was captured on the outskirts of Seward in early September 1919. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives)
A Nexus of Lives and Lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 8

Dempsey spent more than a decade attempting to persuade a judge to recommend him for executive clemency

Promotional image via the Performing Arts Society
Saturday concert puts jazz, attitude on stage

Lohmeyer is a former local music teacher

The author holds a copy of Greta Thunberg’s, “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference,” inside the Peninsula Clarion building on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Thunberg speeches pack a punch

“No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference” is a compilation of 16 essays given by the climate activist

White chocolate cranberry cake is served with fresh cranberries. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Hard-to-ruin cranberry cake

This white chocolate cranberry cake is easy to make and hard to ruin — perfect for my students aged 3, 6, 7 and 7.

After Pres. Woodrow Wilson commuted his death sentence to life in prison, William Dempsey (inmate #3572) was delivered from Alaska to the federal penitentiary on McNeil Island, Wash. These were his intake photos. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives)
A Nexus of Lives and Lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 7

The opening line of Dempsey’s first letter to Bunnell — dated March 19, 1926 — got right to the point

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: It’s March

March is the trickster month, probably why we see so much raven activity these days

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in “The Last of Us.” (Photo courtesy HBO)
On the Screen: ‘The Last of Us’ perfectly adapts a masterpiece

HBO unquestionably knew they had a hit on their hands

Chocolate cake is topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A cake topped with love (and white chocolate cream cheese)

He loved the frosting so much he said he never wants anything else on his cake

In 1914, Pres. Woodrow Wilson appointed Charles Bunnell to be the judge of the Federal District Court for the Third and Fourth divisions of the Alaska Territory. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives)
A Nexus of Lives and Lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 6

Prosecution lawyers were fortunate to have a fallback plan: witnesses to the crime.