Food, Fun, Holiday, NYC, recipe, Sweets

St. Paddy’s Day #2 Flag Muffins

Most people have heard of zucchini bread and carrot cake, but what about spinach muffins?  I found this recipe on a blog and thought it would be a great treat for St. Patricks Day to make green muffins WITHOUT any food coloring.  Unfortunately I did not have a blender with the ability to liquify the spinach, but they tasted amazing.  I was able to weigh my ingredients since bananas vary in size and I adapted the recipe using frozen instead of fresh spinach.  I used almond milk as my milk choice, all whole wheat flour, and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup as it was already sweet enough for my liking.  I folded in walnut pieces as well for a bit of extra crunch and flavor.  I also liked that I could taste the batter as there were no eggs.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (8.5oz)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 lb bag frozen spinach (6oz squeezed of water)
  • ½ cup mashed banana about 2 (7.5oz)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

I adapted this recipe from http://thegreenforks.com/popeye-muffins/

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, place oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
  4. Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Now I had fun with this photo opp creating a cupcake honoring the Irish flag topping it off with whipped cream and a shaved carrot.  These are DECEPTIVELY good… but I am hoping to make them again using the proper blender for vanity sake.IMG_4563

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Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, savory

Baba Ganoush and Popeye Hummus

I posted a recipe exactly two years ago today for baba ganoush, and I decided to give it another try. I finally purchased tahini even though I knew it is one of those ingredients you only use 1-2T each time out of a huge jar that sits unused.  It added a lot of great flavor to both this recipe and the hummus I made for the same cooking club dinner.

charred eggplant

charred eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-2T lemon juice
  • 2T tahini
  • salt/ pepper
  • paprika (optional)

Grill the eggplant and garlic until charred on all sides.  Let cool before removing outer skin and placing in blender to combine.  Sprinkle with paprika.

baba before

baba before

hummus before

hummus before

Popeye Humus

I wanted a pop of color to go with my homemade crackers and babaganoush which were both brown in color so I made spinach hummus.  Simply blend a can of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), 2C fresh spinach (or drain frozen spinach), 1T olive oil, 2tsp. lemon juice, 1T tahini, salt/pepper, and 2T water.  Add up to 2 more tablespoons of water until reaching the desired consistency.

* Mine was not as smooth due to the lack of proper kitchen equipment.

hummus after puree

hummus after puree

baba after puree

baba after puree

I topped mine with caramelized onions for presentation and added texture.

topped with caramelized onion and paprika

topped with caramelized onion and paprika

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Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, savory

Pumpkin Post 3- Savory Seed Pesto

Well for the third and final pumpkin post (for now) I thought I would go a more savory route.  I also thought it would be more economical to use the seeds as everyone makes use of the rest of the winter squash.

I took the basic recipe for this from Whole Foods, but of course I was not about to go out to the store and buy all the ingredients I didn’t have so I worked with what I had.  TIP: I learned to preserve brightness in pesto to add spinach or parsley to the basic basil as it will not oxidize like basil does and will still allow the flavor of the basil to shine through.

IMG_2905In this case, the recipe called for a cup of cilantro and I did not have much so to add bulk, I added frozen and thawed spinach to the base.  I also replaced pumpkin seeds with the leftover acorn and spaghetti squash seeds I roasted (375 degrees for 15 minutes).

Roasted Squash Seed Pesto

2T Lemon juice
1C spinach
2T oil
1/2 C roasted and salted seeds
4 cubes of Cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
 

REDO TIP: For the next go around, I would probably look into really mincing the pesto even finer which may require more wet ingredients.

To put the pesto to use I pan fried a tilapia filet which I lathered in the pesto for a crunchy exterior.  I paired it with spaghetti squash.  Although I thought it would be a great meal, I was underwhelmed by this one so i will call it a rustic approach to a fancy meal.

IMG_2906 IMG_2908Stay tuned for some serious dinner party cooking with friends as we approach the friendliest holiday of the year.

 

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Dining, Food, Ohio, recipe, savory

Spanakopita is a more fancy term for the Greek “pie” consisting of spinach and feta.  I think it is a classier alternative for spinach dip at a party.  There are many other options for added ingredients but usually herbs (parsley) lemon juice and some sort of binder (eggs) and in some cases a creamy component such as greek yogurt.  I chose to make them in bite size triangles although the filo can be layered overtop and served more “casserole” style if desired.  I first fell in love with these from Trader Joe’s freezer section.  If you do not want to make them by hand they are the perfect alternative.  Warning the filo or phyllo is tough to work with and did take some getting used to!  Next time I would try filling the phyllo cups pre made in the freezer section.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C sour cream- I used light
  • 1/2 C Feta cheese- I used the whole container
  • 1/4 C Parsley Chopped
  • Onion Powder
  • Minced Garlic ( 3-4 cloves)
  • 10 oz frozen spinach thawed and drained of all excess water
  • 1-2 egg whites
  • 1/2 onion ( I used 1 whole yellow onion and caramelized it)
  • 1/3 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • phyllo dough (found in the freezer aisle)IMG_3023
  1. Caramelize onion and garlic in a saute pan if desired.
  2. Mix all ingredients together (except phyllo and reserve a bit of egg and olive oil for egg wash)
  3. Spread in casserole dish and cover with phyllo and brush with oil and egg white mixture OR wrap into phyllo triangles and brush with oil and egg white mixture OR fill into phyllo cups. *I layered two sheets brushing with wash between and cut 3 lengthwise strips before folding.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  I chose to make the triangles so I flipped them halfway through baking and they came out crunchy on the outside and perfectly melted on the inside.IMG_3026

See I followed through with my promise of making use of the caramelized onions.  Tomorrow a different caramelization was happening simultaneously to this seemingly healthy meal.

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Spanakopita-Spinach and Feta Bites Recipe

Aside

It has gotten to the point where I will find any excuse to write about Trader Joe’s.  The thing about the store is that they do not have everything so it cannot be your sole grocery store.  For instance they do not carry marshmallows, or some spices such as turmeric, and they only carry fresh products in season.  Having said that there are certain items there that you can only buy at the store and replicas are just no good.  Today we will explore a savory and sweet option only sold at TJ’s.

Spinach and Kale Pie

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I thought I would give this a shot as i tend to like their freezer options, and it would be a good thing to have on hand if a guest came over at the last minute.  Everything at TJ’s is priced well so I will not even go there.  The “pie” is a relatively healthy one as it is a creamy spinach filled filo dough.

Pros:

good flavor, beautiful presentation right out of the oven.

Cons:

It takes a long time to bake (45 minutes), not very good as a leftover, messy.

As far as taste is concerned I plan on getting this again, but as an appetizer for guests I would go with the spinach and kale bites as they are tasty and they are not messy at all, and have a shorter baking time.

Speculoos

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This has been a phenomenon starting in 2007 which consists of a spiced shortbread cookie turned into a smooth butter or paste.  I have known about this “spreadable cookie” for a while but knew of nothing to do with it except spread it on a belgian waffle.  I have also never been a big peanut butter or Nutella fan and eating it by the spoonful sickens me.  I love the cookies on airplanes so I tried the Biscoff spread and was not impressed.  It had funny flavors and was not nearly as addicting as the TJ’s variety which now comes in crunchy.  It is in such a high demand that my local store only allows to buy two jars per customer…so I make sure to buy two every single time they are in stock.

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I want to let this soak in before I tell you how I am concocting the butter into other forms.  It is simply divine.   Starting with the gold wrapper (Biscoff uses silver) to the bottom of the glass jar.  I managed to down my first jar by the spoonful so go ahead and eat at least one jar by spoon alone!

Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, savory, Sweets

Trader Joe’s Tuesday- Speculoos and Kale Pie

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