A Slug, a Cat, and Some Greek Tiropites...

The thing about gardening all day is that sometimes you might crawl into bed, switch off the lights, peel your socks off, pull up the covers, and then realize that there’s a slug in your hand.

How did this 1½  inch creature get there? It doesn’t matter. Just make it go away and go wash your hands.
wwoof france
It's your world cat, I'm just livin' in it

Our days at the farm have been nice. I’d be lying if I said I’m transitioning to this life with perfect grace, because it is certainly not easy having this language barrier (I had expected Thierry, who speaks a bit of English, to be around a bit more). A sad but true fact about your faithful writer is that I am a rather slow learner. So while John progresses at a nice clip with his French patter and manages to stutter out “conversations,” I sit in the background, quietly parroting a certain word or phrase that I’ve caught on to. I wonder, what does Annick think when she sees me off in my own little world, chanting at a whisper “semaine…seh-mahn…she-maihhhhn”? I assume that she’s simply decided that I have the mind of a child, and lets me be.

So it goes.

Let me also mention that apart from language confusion, my functionality seems to be failing me overall (maybe my brain is swollen from allergies?). Proof: I have now managed to break (1) a ceramic EVOO carafe of Annick’s, and (2) an entire jar of red fruit jelly made on the farm and taken out of the fridge especially at my sweet-toothed request.
feed meeeeee

I try to be useful, at any rate. Due to the time of year, there aren’t a ton of things growing (soon to come will be peaches, plums, various berries, squash, etc.), so we’ve been doing a lot of organizing, pruning, weeding, cleaning out basements, yadda yadda. Come time for every meal, I'm pretty excited.

A couple days ago we cooked something I'd never considered making before: Tiropites! Now that I know how simple it it, I hope to be making this monthly. Try it out, and bear in mind that once you get the folding technique down, you can really throw anything in there (ummm, nutella, anyone?). Since it’s baked, not fried, it’s even healthier than what you’d expect!
Greek Tiropites (Stuffed Phyllo Dough Triangles)
For 20-30 pieces

  • 8 oz sheep/goat feta, crumbled (crumble it yourself, pre-crumbled feta is sac-relig)
  • 8 oz chopped mozzarella or a mix of cream cheese and ricotta (I prefer the latter)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 oz (usually half a pkg) phyllo dough, thawed)
  • Approx. 4 tbs melted butter (more if necessary)
  • Grated pepper (there should be enough saltiness in the feta)

  • Directions
    Preheat oven to 375

    Mix everything but the butter and phyllo dough together
    Lightly drape a damp towel over the stack of phyllo so that it doesn't dry out.

    Put one phyllo sheet length-wise on the table and brush it lightly with butter, then lie another atop it, also brushing with butter. Cut the dough (from pole-to-pole) in sections around 4 inches wide.

    Add a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture toward one side of the top area of a phyllo section, about an inch down. Fold the corner with the filling to match the outer edge, making a triangle. Repeat the folding all the way down the column, like how you would fold a flag (I had trouble with this because my fingers are kind of like blocks, so if you're like me, watch the video below that John so kindly let me record).
    Once you've used up all the filling, throw 'em on a pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden and lightly browned on the edges.
    If you want to cut the work load in half, butter a casserole dish and place a couple buttered phyllo sheets on the bottom. Spread some filling on top, then add a couple more buttered phyllo sheets. Add more filling, and repeat the process until you're out of filling. For an added touch, line some sliced tomato rounds atop the last layer of phyllo sheets. Drizzle the whole thing with some EVOO, and bake 15-20 mins until golden brown on the edges.

    At the end of the day, I’m happy to be doing something that puts me out of my comfort zone a bit. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m not spending a dime, and I’m eating free real food.

    And this makes me want to talk a bit about Wwoofing. 

    Wwoofing isn’t just about gardening; it’s about doing something meaningful with your free time. A pool-side, 5 star hotel-type-vacation is nice, but becoming a part the day-to-day lives of a country’s people isn’t just nice, it’s enriching. Forget the stress of maps and concierges and which restaurant should we choose? Your life is on the farm and within the village, if only for a week. It’s like going back to childhood.


    1. Has anyone in France told you that you look like little orphan Annie after you get out of the garden?

    2. I was accosted by a legion of marching slugs once while camping a la ferme in the Dordogne on a bike tour.(more like leeches!) Was really hard to get back to sleep but Lori snoozed through the whole attack. Make sure you ride some bikes for a distance so you can experience how motorists SHOULD treat their two-wheeled, human-powered, fellow road users.

    3. Chris, that sounds terrifying, just terrifying.




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