When we moved back from Australia, it took us a year to buy our first house. Over that year, we put in offer after offer on houses in a market that we could not keep up with. Houses literally doubled in price. When we found what was to be our home, we were so disheartened that we left the open house thinking it was nice, but we didn’t have it in us to be rejected yet again. We were shocked when the listing agent called us to see if we were interested in putting an offer on the house. We had assumed there were already numerous offers, outbidding one another and definitely outbidding us. So we mustered up the energy to sign papers once again to put out an offer, and to our surprise, it was accepted!
We were a little less thrilled when we moved in and saw carpet inside the rotted kitchen cabinets that we failed to notice during our inspection, and even more thrilled when the market crashed and our house was half-price again. But we made the best memories over ten years in that townhouse as we brought three of our four kids home from the hospital there and watched all of them take their first steps there. Where are the tissues…? I can’t see what I’m typing while I’m crying thinking about those sweet little kids and all the fun.
Oh and the not so fun… like getting letters from the HOA because our next door neighbor didn’t like our kids and claimed they were a nuisance to the neighborhood and were peeing on houses. Full disclosure, we have three boys. They did pee in our yard. Most of the time because one of them was potty-training and for all the parents out there, you know that when they say they have to go, they mean right now. So there were many days when we pulled into our driveway and someone had to pee and just couldn’t make it all the way up the steps to get inside and then more steps to the bathroom. And then there were plenty of times when boys were just boys and I would catch them peeing outside – but always and only on our little patch of grass… definitely not on anyone’s houses!
Now that I totally sidetracked, when we moved into that house, we had an intern working us named Josh who lived in our basement. I wasn’t sure we could be friends because he hated tomatoes. He won our son over with his chapstick, and he won us over and even saw me ugly cry watching The Notebook. We still laugh about that crazy scary computer prank that was going around – the one where you had to focus really hard to move the mouse and not touch any lines, and then some scary face pops up and screams at you… I’ve never seen anyone close a laptop so fast and cause an entire sofa to move backward at the same time. Who can find that for me? We need to bring that back…
Anyway, Josh often made jokes about how we never ate the same thing twice for dinner. Much of that is thanks to the Cuisine at Home magazines I subscribed to. Everything looked so good, how could I not try it all?! These wraps are one of the recipes I discovered around that time, and they do continue to make at least an annual appearance. The kids eat them! And they have red pepper! So much flavor in these little wraps. Serve them with cucumber tzatziki if you’d like. I do not. I’m still working on training my tastebuds to enjoy cucumbers and celery.
For the puff pastry – you buy it frozen, but it needs to be thawed and then used at room temperature. Thawing it overnight in the refrigerator is the ideal, then pull it out and bring it too room temperature about an hour before using it. Or you can just thaw it at room temperature for a few hours, if you forget to do it the night before (as I often do). It’s really thin, and exposure to the air will dry it out and then it breaks apart and is not your friend. For that reason, keep all the sheets (except the one that you are using) covered with a damp dish towel. Please make sure it’s a clean one. And then work as fast as you can once it’s out in the air. Just slop the oil on quickly… it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth and evenly covering the phyllo.
Also, the phyllo I bought at Whole Foods had to be cut in half to be the correct size. That also meant that it made more than 8 wraps. You can easily alter the amount of filling to make 8-10 wraps, and they will still be plenty full if you make 10.
Greek Phyllo Wraps
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion diced
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 1 ¼ lb ground turkey
- ½ cup red bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup scallions chopped
- 4 oz feta cheese crumbled
- 16 sheets 9x14" phyllo pastry, thawed
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Dill sprigs optional
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; sauté onion 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté 1 minute. Stir in turkey and cook 5 minutes, or until browned. Add bell pepper, lemon juice, and seasonings; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, spoon off any excess fat, and cool 5 minutes. Stir in scallions and feta.
Preheat oven to 425º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat.
Brush 1 phyllo sheet with oil, add a dill sprig just off center toward one of the short ends, if desired. (Keep other phyllo sheets covered with a slightly damp clean dish towel). Top with a second phyllo sheet; brush with oil. Spoon ½ cup turkey mixture on the opposite short end from the dill, leaving a 1-inch margin. Fold sides in over mixture, then roll. Place wraps seam side down on prepared baking sheet; brush with oil. Repeat with remaining turkey, phyllo, and oil.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.