Thursday, November 4, 2010

Butternut Squash and Feta Muffins

Savory muffins are a new and beautiful concept to me. Apparently, they are popular in Australia and New Zealand. I read about this recipe on my favorite cooking blog, 101 Cookbooks, and she got the recipe from a cookbook, Martha Goes Green. I've made the muffins twice and I ordered the cookbook, which I received the other day. I must admit, the first bite is weird. I am so accustomed to sweet muffins, that I was surprised initially by the taste. But, I quickly got over that. These are great accompanying soup. And just imagine all the other possible combinations. A few things to consider:
  • I was so focused on browning the tops that I overcooked them the first time, so they were a bit dry.
  • The second time, trying to avoid them being dry, I added an extra egg, another cup of squash, and I didn't brown them as much. This worked, but I'm not sure if the extra egg was really necessary with less cooking time, but the extra squash can't hurt.
  • I think these are better just cooked or re-warmed. They didn't seem as tasty when eaten cold.
It's always exciting to get mail that is not a bill or some catalog you've never ordered from. So, imagine my delight when I received this adorable cookbook all the way from Australia, complete with a handwritten note. It's a self published cookbook and the illustrations are playful and a little eccentric. I will be making more from this cookbook soon, so I'll keep you posted. In a few hours I'll be boarding a plane to go to one of my favorite places, Boulder, CO, but I didn't want to leave without sharing these with you.

Note: 11/21 I tried freezing the remainder of this batch to see how they'd fare in the freezer, and they did quite well. I just had one on the side of a salad with pears, cranberries and walnuts. It was a nice combination.

Butternut Squash and Feta Muffins
2-3 cups diced butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful baby spinach leaves, chopped fine
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese, in small cubes
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups unbleached flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees. Toss squash in oil, salt and pepper, then place in roasting pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and slightly mushy.
2. Transfer cooked squash to large bowl, add spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, parmesan, feta and mustard. Mix.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs and milk together and add to squash mixture. Sift flour and baking powder into mixture, add salt and pepper and fold together, being careful not to over mix.
4. Spoon mixture into a greased 12 hole muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

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