We are getting through a project that has been on our list for 11 years.  Our house was built-in typical south Florida style with a simple front porch that is just not deep enough to be useful.  I  have always wanted one of those real southern porches or verandas that’s deep enough to have a bunch of rocking chairs and potted plants….maybe a small bistro set.  Flowering baskets hanging from the columns.

So Finally Hubby set about making it happen.  We have tried to get to this project so many times but real life kept getting in the way.  It’s finally happening.  We have a gorgeous deep front porch that runs the full length of the house.  It is so welcoming!!!!!  It’s not finished yet but it’s about half way complete.  The floor is done just about but the walk way and columns are left to do.  This new porch is going to allow us a really lovely place to sit and enjoy our front garden.  We planted that garden years ago and it is finally mature.  We have budah belly bamboo, cranium lilies, butterfly bushes, a huge mango tree, an enormous gardenia bush….a full collection of bromeliads, figs and pineapples, oh and crape myrtle’s too (too many more to mention).  It is just lovely. We are so excited to finally be able to sit out there away from the sun enjoying watching the bees and butterflies enjoy the plants we selected just for them.

We also both feel that there is just something about a true front porch that tells people to come visit, sit and stay a while.  I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to sitting out there with friends and family sipping on homemade lemonade watching the children play.  Some dreams are huge and really hard or perhaps next to impossible to reach.  This one thankfully was not one of those.  Should you come to visit me here on the tiny farm….We will rock in chairs, nibbling on something I baked because I knew you were coming while we sip on something that goes happily along with whatever it was I baked.  I can’t wait!!!

Oh!!!  I almost forgot!!!!!  How could I forget!!!!  We are in the process of buying a tiny baby mini-pig!!!!!  Here on our tiny farm a full-sized pig is just not possible.  Pigs have been a favorite of mine for years.  I adore them.  They are so smart and sweet.  So, someone mentioned the mini-tea cup pig.  Once we looked into it, we found a breeder down in the Florida keys who has 1 female tiny piglet left from her last litter.  She is only 3 weeks old right now and is pink with grey spots.  She has blue eyes and is (I am told) as sweet as can be.  We have a deposit on her and are supposed to pick her up Friday the 23rd.  I say supposed to because I refuse to get too excited before it’s all done (I am terribly excited but am choosing not to admit it to myself).  Here is a photo….

Is that little piglet adorable or what?????  So, if all things work out as we hope she will be here with us in a just a couple of weeks.  I can tell you right now she will be my side kick.  I will be out and about with this sweet little baby in tow.  The kids at school will go simply mad for her.  I help teach a gardening workshop at school once a week and have brought chickens and Daisy the goat to visit with the children.  They are so happy to see farm animals.  There is just something about farm animals and kids…they go together like peanut butter and jam.  Ok, I will admit to you (it’s a secret…I haven’t told our kids) that I am so excited about this little piggy.  I don’t dare tell the kids until I have pig in hand.

In the meantime, we are getting ready for holidays.  I love to play with hors d’ oeuvres so I can have a really fun menu put together to serve our friends and family.  Tonight I made  puff pastry “cups” filled with a very savory filling of spinach, feta and parmesan cheeses, and some spices to end up with a terrific little tasty bit to serve guests.  These are super easy and extremely flavorful!!!!  They were gone before I even had a chance to pour a glass of wine for Hubby and I to enjoy with them.  Even the kids went crazy for them!

I found the original recipe in this months bon appetite magazine.  I made some significant changes to the recipe as they printed it.  I am positive my changes are for the better.  The filling as they published it was very bland and not to my taste at all.  I like an hors d’ oeuvre  to be small but boldly flavored.  I could and have made a meal out of hors d’ oeuvres.  I just love em’!  Every once in a while we make 15 different ones and serve them all night on Christmas Eve instead of the sit down dinner people expect.  We like to keep people guessing.

Puff Pastry Cups fill with Spinach, Feta and Parmesan Cheese ~ Tamatha Mavraides

1 (10 oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained well

4 ounces of good quality feta cheese

1/2 cup of best quality grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup onion finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh garlic finely chopped

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Sea salt and fresh pepper seasoned to taste

2 large eggs

1 sheet of puff pastry homemade or store-bought

Here we go….

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin tin well. I use a muffin tin with removable bottoms….

Make sure you have removed as much of the water from the spinach as is possible.  If you leave too much water in the spinach your filling will be too wet and the pastry won’t crisp up as it should.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, onions, garlic, dill, cheeses and seasonings and 1 beaten egg.  Mix this really well.

Next, lay out you pastry on a lightly floured board.  Roll it out just a little bit being sure to keep the dough even.  With your knife, cut the dough lengthwise into three strips.  Cut each strip into four squares.

With your fingers, pull the dough out just a bit.  Gently tuck the dough squares into the wells of the muffin tin.  Take a scoop of filling enough to fill the cup almost to the top and set it into the dough cup.  Pinch the dough together at the top only from the corners…

Repeat until all 12 of the cups are filled.  Now brush the pastry tops with the remaining egg.  Bake the spinach cups at 425 degrees until they are nicely browned and puffed.  In my oven (on convection) tis took about 18 minutes.  Don’t go by time go by color.

Here they are….

They are really so good.  These will be served to our guests as they arrive on Thanksgiving.






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14 Responses to The Holiday Collection ~ Puff Pastry Cups Filled with Spinach and Feta Cheese….

  1. Alyssa Ozzi says:

    Now you have really done it. You better watch that pig when I come over, it will fit in the pocket of my “fat” pants, which I will be sure to wear! I have wanted one of those minis since I first saw them! You are living my dream goats, now a pig I am totally envious!

    • Tamatha says:

      Is that little pig the cutest thing you have ever seen? We are pretty excited about her joining us here. The date was changed and she will be here Saturday the 17th. She will be just five weeks old. Shall assume you will be coming by at some point to lover her up a little? Maybe, it’s time to move you to mini pigs now from the guinea pigs you have now.

      Maybe you get the boy and we can breed them!!! Fun!!!!! A little side business….these pigs are very expensive. Just a thought. :)

  2. Kathy says:

    They look beautiful. I can’t wait to make them.

    And welcome to “Porch” lifestyle. It is definitely an attitude that brings a wonderful appreciate to God’s great creation.
    I love porches so much, that when we built our present home, I had a screened-in porch built off my bedroom. My favorite time is to sit out there huddled under a quilt, drinking tea during an Oklahoma rain storm. Life just doesn’t get better, does it.

    I’m thrilled for you.

    • Tamatha says:

      I am so excited!!! This project I think will be one of those that changes the way we live in the house. Yours sounds heavenly. When it’s done I will post photos…I can’t wait. To sit with friend out on our porch is a goal that is almost in reach. :)

  3. michelle says:

    Wonderful recipe, and congrats on the porch project coming to life but really I want to come and play.
    Ready for a visit when you are:)))
    Hello to miss Katie

    • Tamatha says:

      Hi Michelle!!!!!!! I can’t wait for you to see. We are almost done. The garden is going in….seedlings are ready for transplant…..hydroponics system should be up and running this weekend. The front porch project is a big one and is so close to being done. You will be my very first guest from school before I resume the tours with the people on my list.

      I really am looking forward to sharing it with you. I think you will enjoy it. :)

  4. Nancy Villanueva says:

    Those puff pastry cups look mighty tasty, can’t wait to have one.
    That little piglet is very cute, I’m looking forward to meeting her.

  5. Emilee says:

    Do you mind saying the breeders name? Do you have a website for them maybe?

    • Tamatha says:

      Let me get that for you and I will come back to this comment and post it for you. Do you live down here? South Florida?

      • Emilee says:

        I don’t live in South Florida, but my grandfather does. Picking up a mini pig would be a fun excuse to come visit!

        • Tamatha says:

          Ok, I have a phone number for you. Please send me a direct email at tamatha@aflockinthecity.com I will give you her contact information. She has 1 female piggy left at the moment. She breeds so if you are not ready for a pig in the next few weeks you can go on her waiting list. The little piggy she has left is still too young to leave it’s mother.

  6. Pat says:

    So, so glad I found this recipe! I love to serve appetizers at Christmas…well, really, all the time. :) Thanks so much for sharing!

    Glad you’re going to have a lovely porch. Just nothing like them.

    • Tamatha says:

      Wait until you taste it!!! It’s just so good and way easy. It’s hard to keep them around…they are so full of flavor. I hope you really enjoy them as much as we do. :)

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