I’m a happy girl. As much as I love Bend, one thing we don’t get is a ton of great concert opportunities like we did when we lived in Chicago. So, I’m super excited because I just got tickets to see Alison Krauss and Union Station with Willie Nelson this summer AND we get to see The English Beat in May. Kind of funny because in my English Beat/General Public days when I considered myself very cool and “mod” I wouldn’t be caught dead at a Willie Nelson concert but I’m happy to say I’ve evolved to appreciate genius in all genres. I also remember hating Alison Krauss when she covered “When You Say Nothing at All” in the mid-nineties but I’ve since realized the error of my ways. Now she’s one of my favorite artists and her band, Union Station is brilliant. So there you have it. And no, it has nothing to do with baklava but I’m bored and alone so I’m sharing.
See – aren’t I cool? This is me in 1986 or 87. I love that I still had my dresser with the baby bunny on it and that’s Bono peeking in on the other side. And of course the extremely baggy sweater and the cigarette in hand. Because I was so cool. So glad I’m not cool anymore… I get to breathe easier and enjoy any kind of music I want :).
I made this baklava for my cooking club a couple weeks ago and it was a hit! The theme was Mediterranean so I took the opportunity to make it for the first time. I hesitate to say it was easy because that’s sort of a relative term. I sometimes get eye rolls and the occasional “Well, it was easy for you maybe!” from those who are not quite as fond of cooking/baking as I am. What I will say then is that it is fairly simple and forgiving as it needn’t be followed as precisely as many baked goods recipes, but it is definitely time consuming and requires some patience with the very thin phyllo dough. It is worth it though if you or someone you love is a fan of baklava. I have to admit I’d never been a huge fan before but after looking at several different recipes I came up with this one using a bit less honey syrup than many I found (in one case half the amount!) and I added a bit of salt and some cardamom to make the flavor slightly less sweet and more complex in flavor. The result was such that my cooking club friends were very happy and Bob and I couldn’t stop eating what was leftover at home.
Just so you know… Be sure and follow the thawing instructions for the phyllo dough on the box and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Having never worked with phyllo dough before I went ahead and thawed about twice the amount I thought I’d need (the whole 16oz package instead of half). I was very glad I did because when this happened (see the stuck together mess below), I was able to pull from the second package and have plenty for my recipe. I could have probably used the stuck together dough for something else but I didn’t, I just tossed it. I felt slightly guilty for a minute then got over it. It’s not expensive and it was worth the waste to be able to peacefully completely my task. I was a lot nicer to my family as a result. Also, the baklava needs to sit and soak up the honey syrup for at least 6 – 8 hours before serving so take that into account before you start.