A few months ago, I enjoyed delving into phyllo dough -- with a marvelous meal of fish wrapped and baked in the flaky pastry. Since then, I’ve discovered the recipe for “Phyllo Turnovers with Shrimp and Ricotta Filling,” from All Recipes, and once again delighted in all the buttery crunch that phyllo can give to us. The recipe asks for a whole pound of dough, but I used only half the box to make about 40 triangles. The filling of celery, peppers, scallions, shrimp, and ricotta was deliciously appealing to my young child. I had to keep my child from stealing too many tastes of the filling while I was wrestling with the phyllo dough!

I used 6 scallions to supply the necessary 2/3 cup. Instead of using the suggested dashes of Tabasco, I added a bit of tomato paste (no problem). My cold shrimp needed 6 minutes to cook until pink. As was my experience months ago, I manhandled my filled and buttered sheets of phyllo with my clumsy hands. Folding these packets over-and-over into triangles is the trick to repairing the inevitable tears. You needn’t take too much time to make these pastries pretty. They will all bake into tan, crispy triangles, that are fun to eat. Do have fun with these: triangle food is splendid!

PRICES
Shrimp (1 lb.) = $12.52
Frozen Phyllo Dough (1 lb.) = $2.57

RECIPE: here, phyllo is unintimidating and filled with a great cheesy shrimp stuffing
PREP TIME:
30 minutes to prep and cook the filling, a bit of time to fill and fold the triangles, plus 15 minutes to bake
TASTE: a creamy shrimp filling, sweetened by celery and scallions, wrapped by the crispiest of doughs

Next time, I want to cook something that I’ve eaten many times (often in Chinese-restaurant preparations), but have never made myself from scratch. It’s an ingredient that’s one of the darlings of vegetarian menus: seitan (or “wheat gluten”). I’ll make the “Homemade Seitan Barbecue Ribs,” from recipezaar.com. I’ll also make a side of “Sweet Corn with Baby Beets & Basil,” from the August 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living. Come back to my site on Sunday, October 31, to see my meal.