Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passover Spinach Muffins

Happy Passover everyone! 
Last night I went to a lovely Passover Seder given by Friends of Food. 
I made Aunt of Food's Passover Spinach Muffins which are one of my favorite Vegetable based dishes at any time of the year.  This recipe was the inspiration for the topping on my sausage blinis, now featured on the ATK Foods website and, of course, on this blog
This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan; however, if you can find a substitute for the eggs, you may be able to make this dish vegan.
Here is the recipe as I make it:

2 TBSP Margarine (or Butter)
Olive Oil for Pan (About 2 TBSP)
1/2 Green Pepper
1 Medium Onion
1 Celery Stalk
2 Raw Carrots
10 oz package of Frozen Chopped Spinach
3 Eggs Beaten
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3/4 Cup of Matzo Meal

Use the margarine to generously grease a metal 12 count muffin pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grate the Pepper, Onion, Celery, and Carrots in the Cuisinart with the grating disk, or chop by hand.
Heat some Olive Oil in a large Pan and put chopped fresh veggies in the pan.
Sauté vegetables stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
While the vegetables are cooking on the stove, microwave the frozen spinach according to package directions, draining when done.
Take the pan with the fresh vegetables off of the heat and add the spinach to the mixture.
Combine beaten Eggs with Salt, Pepper, and Matzo Meal. 
Combine that with the vegetable mixture in the big pan.
Spoon the mix into the greased muffin cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the muffins are firm.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BentO' the Irish

It's time to celebrate!  St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us.

Let's party with something traditional like

Today I have 3 bentos.  Two for my twin girls and one for the Proud Irish Husband of Food.
OK, had I planned this ahead of time, those Shamrock sandwiches would be Corned Beef, but alas... they are Turkey and Cheese.  The shamrock cuts left not enough left over as to be impossible to get a second shamrock out of the sandwich, but just enough to inspire a Lunch for Daddy. 

The last minute preparations led to the discovery of the most Irish of Snack Foods - Veggie Straws!  The green, white, and orange sticks make a lovely Irish Flag.

Blueberries?  They are healthy, nutritious and not entirely absent in Ireland.  The girls would have gotten raw carrots, like their Dad, but their school doesn't allow them.

If anyone wants to share some bento, please post a link in the comments.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sausage Wrapped in Blini

Last night our meal was not your typical American family dinner. Something old world took over in me and I created a savory feast.

It all started at the Costco, where an assertive sample supplier foisted her sausages on my darling brood-lings. This persuasive dealer was more convincing than a bad witch with a poison apple. After an extra sample for each of the kids and a sample for Friend of Food and Me, I caved into the succulence and the pressure and bought the Amylu Smoked Chicken Gouda and Apple stuffed Sausages.

When I thought about preparing the sausages for dinner, my spirit reached back to my Russian and German roots. Something inside of me craved a thin pancake and the flavor of onions. I found a Sweet Blini recipe in my Gourmet Today cookbook which I adapted for this meal. I improvised the Onion Vegetable Topping, using a family spinach puff recipe for inspiration.  Below is a picture of my cooktop in action, simmering the sausages, cooking the crepes, cooling the vegetable topping muffins, fresh out of the 350 degree oven.

It all came together like a symphony. I got rave reviews from my family; my kids even requesting this meal again for tonight. I assure my Brood-lings, “we will have this dinner again my sweets, just let me write this blog post before I forget the recipe.”


Cook per package directions.


1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 TBSP plus 1 tsp Sugar
1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
3 Large Eggs
1/2 Stick (4TBSP) Unsalted Butter, Melted and Cooled

Stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and warm water in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Transfer yeast mixture into a blender, add flour, salt, milk, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar and blend until combined.
Pour into a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.
Let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Return mixture to blender and add eggs and butter.  Blend until smooth.

Spray a small skillet with spray oil or Pam and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.
Lift the skillet off the heat and pour in about 1/3 cup of batter (I used a small ladle for this) tilting and rotating the pan until the batter coats the bottom of the pan.  Return skillet to heat and cook crepe until undersides and edges are just set and golden, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Check with a heatproof rubber spatula to see if it is ready to flip.  Carefully flip crepe and cook about 1 minute more.  Transfer crepe onto a plate.  Spray pan again and make the next crepe.  When each is done, stack it on the plate on top of the last crepe.

Onion-Vegetable Topping

1 Onion
1 Stalk Celery
2 Carrots
1 Cup Fresh Broccoli
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Salt
Dash of Pepper

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.
Grease a muffin pan.
Use a  Food Processor with a grating blade to grate all of the ingredients together.
Unplug and Stir Contents as you go to make sure everything is mixed thouroughly.
If you do not have a food processor, you can grate the vegetables by hand, beat the egg seperately, and mix in a bowl.
Divide the mixture evenly into muffin cups.
Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 Minutes.

Lay a Blini on a plate.  Scoop one vegetable muffin onto the crepe and squash down.  Place a sausage on the vegetable layer.  Wrap Blini around Sausage.

I made this recipe again today.  This time I used 2/3 Cup of Breadcrumbs in the veggie topping mix instead of 1/3 cup.  It set up well in the muffin cups and were able to be a side dish on their own.  I would use less salt in this version.  The seasonings in the breadcrumbs are plenty.

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