Tag Archives: spinach

Sriracha Quinoa Cakes with Goat Cheese and Spinach

Seasoned to Taste - Sriracha Quinoa Cakes with Feta and Spinach

Somehow, my move to The South triggered a new craving in my life: Hot sauces. I don’t know if it’s the over abundance of hot sauces in these parts (they are always placed on the table with the salt and pepper, regardless of your meal) or the increase in rich foods I’ve been eating (hot sauce cuts through the grease), but I can’t eat a bite of most savory meals without reaching for the Texas Pete’s or Sriracha.

Aside from offering an acidity to the dish and a bit of salt, there’s something about the taste of good hot sauce that amplifies all the other flavors. But you have to tread delicately, lest you overwhelm the dish.

This little recipe, adapted from We Are Not Martha, is built around Sriracha, so you don’t have to worry about it overpowering the other flavors. Instead, it offers a roasted heat to the crunchy quinoa cakes that are spotted with creamy bits of goat cheese and green spinach.

They were a fun little snack and would be good dipped in sour cream, I think. And the presence of quinoa just makes it feel healthy. Try them and let me know what you think!

Sriracha Quinoa Cakes with Goat Cheese and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 2 C cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 C breadcrumbs (I used dried)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 C chopped baby spinach
  • 1/4 C Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 T olive oil

In a large bowl, mix ingredients well. Form mixture into patties, 1-2 T each.

Drizzle EVOO in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties to skillet.
Cook patties until lightly browned on each side, about 5 min. per side. Add more oil as needed in between batches.

Seasoned to Taste - Sriracha Quinoa Cakes with Feta and Spinach

Then you’re done! Each with a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of sour cream, if you wish.

Seasoned to Taste - Sriracha Quinoa Cakes with Feta and Spinach

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Spinach and Feta Puffs

Seasoned to Taste - Spinach and Feta Puffs

Sometimes it seems all we eat during the month of December is in appetizer form. So many parties, potlucks, gatherings and get-togethers, all of which constitute a meal made in bite-sized portions.

I’ve been looking beyond my typical pesto palmiers recipe lately, but haven’t given up my appetizer stand-by: puff pastry. So I tried an idea from Bon Appetit that combines my love of spanikopita with my annoyance of phyllo dough. Solution: wrap up those Mediterranean flavors in puff pastry instead.

I made these for a neighborhood party, where they were gobbled up quickly, and I will be making them for our annual family Christmas party as well.

A great snack that you can eat with one hand but is more substantial than chips-and-dip.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Spinach and Feta Puffs

Ingredients, serves 6: (note, I doubled this)

  • 1 ten-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well (squeeze dry)
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • 1/4 c. minced onion
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix spinach and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and fold egg into spinach mixture.

Roll puff pastry out to a 12-inch square and cut into three strips, then cut those strips in thirds for a total of 9 small squares. Place each square in muffin tin cup, leaving corners pointing up. Divide filling among cups, roughly 1 heaping Tablespoon per cup ( you don’t want too much). Fold dough tips over and pinch together. (Note: next time I will use cooking spray to make them easier to get out)

Seasoned to Taste - Spinach and Feta Puffs

Beat remaining egg and brush over pastry. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

Seasoned to Taste - Spinach and Feta Puffs

Bake until pastry is golden and puffed, about 25 min. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use sharp paring knife to loosen puffs and cool to desired temperature on wire rack.

Seasoned to Taste - Spinach and Feta Puffs

There you go! I have made these ahead and then just nuked them before the party so they are still a little warm. The filling is also easy to make in advance.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

There is something significant about the aroma that occurs when you cook onions with bacon fat. I remember growing up, and mom would make this brussels sprouts dish that started with rendering bacon, then adding onion to the drippings, then the other vegetables, and adding a dash of vinegar at the end.

I never tried the brussels sprouts, but I loved that smell coming out of the kitchen and I can remember it to this day.

This salad is a classic, and I love making it as a starter because it’s not quite enough to be a hearty entree for two people. The spinach wilts under the warmth of the bacon vinaigrette, but holds up enough to add some crunch along with the salty bacon bits and boiled egg on top.

A perfect balance. Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 6 oz. baby spinach (one store-bought container’s worth)
  • 3 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into medium pieces
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped medium
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Fry bacon in medium skillet, until crisp, 10 min. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving bacon fat in another container. Return 3 T bacon fat in the skillet. Add onion and cook over medium, until slightly softened, 3 min. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 15 seconds. Add vinegar mixture, then remove skillet from heat.

Place spinach in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette mixture over it, tossing gently to get the spinach slightly wilted. Add the bacon and toss to combine.

To serve, plate spinach on serving plates, then top with egg quarters and extra cracked pepper, if necessary.

And dig in! Enjoy, friends xoxo

Appetizer Spanikopita

I made this spanikopita for a party on St. Patrick’s Day – the spinach is green, so y’know…

While I’ve made “dinner spanikopita” before, this is a different sort of deal because it’s basically a strudel. Rolling sheets of buttered phyllo dough around a filling of spinach, green onions and feta, then baking and slicing into pieces. Sort of like my curried chicken strudel – also from Ina Garten. Because she’s the queen of entertaining, I knew I should use her recipes.

This was very popular at the party and I loved having leftovers for lunch – the recipe used almost all of the phyllo from the box. It’s also pretty easy, aside from the whole dealing-with-phyllo thing. The trick is to just be gentle, and don’t use too much butter.

Adapted from Ina Garten

Appetizer Spanikopita

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 sheets (1 box) frozen phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl. Add the scallions (with oil), eggs, feta, salt, and pepper and mix together.

Keep the phyllo dough sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel. Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Brush the sheet lightly with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs until 10 sheets have been used. Spoon 3/4 cup of the spinach mixture into a sausage shape along one edge of the phyllo dough. Roll it up. Brush the top with butter and score the roll into 1-inch rounds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (if making ahead, just cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate). Place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat until all the pastry and filling have been used (mine made three “loaves”).

Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Then slice all the way through…

Grant liked this with a little extra cracked pepper and coarse salt sprinkled on top – not a bad addition, if you ask me. I love the flaky phyllo with the creamy feta and spinach inside.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Spinach and Lemon Spaghetti Frittata

It must be my obsession of pasta that makes me attracted to dishes like this. Dishes that use pasta in random, unexpected ways. Although I had never made one until now, I love the idea of a pasta pie or pasta frittatas – dishes that I’m sure came out of the necessity of using leftover cooked spaghetti.

While the idea of baking pasta into a frittata seems low-country, it turns out surprisingly tasty and elegant. In fact, I like the texture of this better than an all-egg frittata – it seems somehow lighter (fewer eggs used?). The pasta gets nice and toasted on the bottom, almost acting like a crust for the filling.

Finally, the flavors are superb. Fresh baby spinach, feta cheese, lemon and basil – the yellows and greens create a spring/summer-like sensation that is full of sunshine.

Adapted from In Sock Monkey Slippers.

Spinach and Lemon Spaghetti Frittata with Feta and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1 c. cooked spaghetti or capellini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 T fresh basil, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk together eggs, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In large oven-safe nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low and add spaghetti. Add spinach on top of pasta, in even layer. Pour egg mixture over the spinach and spaghetti and tilt pan so eggs are evenly distributed. Simmer 3-5 min, until eggs begin to firm up around the edges. Sprinkle feta evenly across the top.

Place skillet in oven and bake for 8-10 min, until center is set.

Allow to cool 5 minutes, then slide a spatula around edges and under, to move the frittata onto a cutting board or serving platter.

Mine stayed together just fine. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, pepper and fresh basil. Cut into wedges.

Can you see the little pieces of pasta peeking out from the bottom?

I love how golden and slightly crunchy the “crust” became. Just wonderful – the spinach adds body, and that feta becomes creamy and lemony all on its own – wonderful additions to eggs.
This would be a wonderful Sunday brunch entree.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Korean-style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg

Toasted rice is usually what happens when I lose track of time and remove my rice from the burner too late. But here, the rice is intentionally toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and crunch that sticks to your teeth. It’s a good sensation, along with the thin strips of beef, wild mushrooms and wilted spinach.

And oh, let’s not forget the fried egg on top. We all know I have a soft spot for any recipe that incorporates this beauty (I have breakfast pizza in mind for the weekend).

This dish is lovely in preparation and presentation. It’s quite a show – quickly frying, then transferring to bowls warming in the oven, then back to fry something new. All the while you’re building layers in your rice bowl. Layers that the egg yolk will soon soak in to. And you’ll top it all off with a crunchy little pickled salad that adds an acidity and freshness you need to balance the other flavors. Genius!

I adapted mine from the Cook’s Illustrated “Cooking For Two” magazine.

Korean-Style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then peeled into ribbons or grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine the above ingredients, pressing veggies down so submerged in vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Drain vinegar before serving.

For beef bowls:

  • 1 c. rice (I used long-grain), rinsed
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. flank steak, or any other steak good for a stir-fry, sliced against the grain into 1/8 inch strips
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 oz. (one box) baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil

Place two oven-safe serving bowls on baking sheet in oven and heat to 200 degrees.

Bring rice and water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 min. Uncover lid and crank heat to medium-high and cook until rice is golden brown in spots and emits a toasty smell, about 7-9 min. Divide rice between two warming bowls and return bowls to oven.

Wipe out pan and heat 2 tsp oil until just smoking. Meanwhile, toss beef with soy sauce, then add to hot skillet. Add mushrooms immediately and cook until beef is cooked through, 3 min. Divide into bowls; return bowls to oven

Add 1 tsp oil to skillet over medium heat and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 1 min. Season with S&P to taste, then divide into the bowls.

Wipe out skillet again and add last 1 tsp oil. Return to medium-high heat until hot, then crack in two eggs on opposite sides of the pan. Sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook until the whites are set, 2 min.

Remove bowls from oven and slide one egg on top of each. Drizzle each with sesame oil and top with pickled vegetables.

When you pierce the yolk, it runs down through all the layers of goodness and is just lovely.

While I spent time reading a book, drinking wine and making this, Grant slaved away outside making the giant trellis pictured below, which will soon be covered with hummingbird vines, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle. Handyman. And gardenman.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Spanikopita

Every year after Thanksgiving, I find myself craving something as far from roasted bird as possible. These are the times for Thai takeout, sushi eaten curled up on the couch and breakfast-for-dinner.

A nice meal my Greek-looking friend and I recently enjoyed would be perfect for such times. Ina Garten’s take on that classic Greek dish: spanikopita.

Ina creates a robustly flavored filling of spinach, toasted pine nuts, onion, scallions, Parmesan, nutmeg and cubes of feta cheese that becomes sealed in a packet of buttery phyllo dough that flakes off as you bite into it.

Working with phyllo is always aggravating, and this time was no different. Next time, I will make fully sure that my dough it completely thawed before working with it – lest it break off into a million shards.

We used less than half the recipe, freezing the rest for another time. We made six spanikopitas, which we served with Grant’s classic cucumber/tomato/onion salad like his Southern mama used to make.

Spanikopita

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.

When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don’t stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

This was so delicious that I instantly burned my tongue so bad that I had to suck on ice for the next 15 minutes. But it was WORTH IT!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs

My day starts at 5:45 a.m., when I slowly make my way out of soft, warm sheets and onto a cold, wooden floor in the dark of the morning. From then on, I am running – whether it’s for my marathon training or from meeting to meeting at work. My day ends with friends, eating cheese and crackers on a lanai or having a home-cooked meal in a  backyard garden or dining out at a new restaurant.

On rare nights, I have an evening alone where I indulge in the quiet and lack of responsibility. I cook a delicious meal with leftovers for lunch, do a load of laundry, pour myself a glass of wine and relax with all those issues of Bon Appetit that I’ve been neglecting. Sometimes, I’ll multitask by catching up on my Bravo shows.

This next meal is perfect for such occasions.

Spaghetti squash is the one thing keeping me from total anti-squashville. It is sort of fun like spaghetti and bland enough to absorb whatever flavors you add to it. This Martha Stewart recipe makes a play on the spaghetti-and-meatballs dish, but it is much, much healthier. And some have said it is quite tasty. I doubled the meatball recipe so I could use the leftovers in a little aglio e olio the next night.

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 1 c. organic chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375. Season cut sides of squash with salt and paper. Bake, cut sides down, on a baking sheet until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool and scrape flesh into a bowl (you can microwave these as well, instead). Drain before using.

Heat 1 tsp. EVOO in  medium skillet over medium. Cook onion and garlic, 1o minutes. Add oregano, cook 30 seconds. Divide between 2 bowls.

Stir 2 T cheese into one bowl of onion mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs, turkey, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Form into balls.

Heat 4 tsp oil in large skillet over medium. Brown meatballs on all sides, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat as necessary. To pan, return remaining onion mixture, chicken stock, and meatballs. Gently simmer, slightly covered, until meatballs cooked through, 5 min. Add spinach and cook until just wilted, 1 minute.

To serve, spoon spaghetti squash onto plates, then top with meatballs and spinach-sauce. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

The meatballs really have great flavor – be sure to brown them nice and dark. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Strawberry-spinach salad

Warning: poppy seeds will get stuck in your teeth

Warning: poppy seeds will get stuck in your teeth

This is my favorite salad to make in the summer, when strawberries are ripe and inexpensive. You can also make it in the fall with pears, or peaches.

I promise that this will get you rave reviews at parties, potlucks and the dinner table. Every person I’ve ever served it to has gone home with the recipe. And I got the recipe from my friend Lindsay’s mom, after she brought it to a party. So…pass it on!

Super simple:

In a small bowl, whisk the dressing – 2 T poppy seeds, 2 T white wine vinegar, 2 T milk, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. mayo.

Pour that over a salad bowl filled with baby spinach, sliced strawberries (as many as you like – I usually use a pint or more) and sliced red onions (maybe half an onion).

Toss and serve!

The weather is still hot and humid here in North Carolina, so this salad would still feel appropriate. For all you Northwesterners, maybe you could make it to celebrate the end of warm days.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo