savory spinach, feta, and roasted red pepper muffins

For my submission to September’s RSVP Redux, I decided to go with the savory spinach, feta, and peppadew muffins from the Singita Sweni Lodge in South Africa. Except, of course, that I had no intention of tracking down any peppadew peppers if they weren’t immediately available in my local grocery store. Which they weren’t. I could have ordered them from here, but I didn’t. Instead, I used roasted red peppers, an easy substitution that was readily available right next to the jars of pickles and olives at Publix.

If given the option, I’ll always go for easy when it comes to cooking. There’s just too much going on in my life to ignore easy.

Instead of regular paprika, I jazzed up the muffin a bit by using pimenton de la vera, a sweet smoked paprika. This has become my go-to paprika, and I highly recommend picking up a container of it. A little goes a long way, so I typically don’t need to use very much.

The recipe instructions called for letting them cool completely before serving, and after making them, I agree completely. The savory flavors came together well upon cooling, and the flavors were even more pronounced on the next day. The muffins made a great snack and would make a wonderful appetizer, although it would be difficult to do them in smaller sizes without sacrificing some of the pieces of feta, spinach, and red pepper that made the muffins so visually appealing.

The verdict here? These are great for grown-ups, but my kids had a more difficult time with them. My more adventurous eater, the six-year old, really wanted to like them. Because of her tomato hang-up, she just couldn’t get past the pieces of tomato-look-alike red pepper scattered throughout the muffins. The almost-4-year old wouldn’t even give the muffins a second look. Too much color in them for him.

And, of course, now I can’t stop thinking about those peppadew peppers. Wonder what those would have tasted like?

Savory Spinach, Feta, and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins

Only slightly tweaked from the Singita Sweni Lodge recipe mentioned in RSVP, Bon Appรฉtit, September 2010 issue.

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera - Dulce)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, paprika, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk milk, oil, and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Add spinach, feta, and peppers. Fold to incorporate evenly. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (cups will be filled to the top).

Bake muffins until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around muffins to release from pan. Invert pan to release muffins, then turn muffins right side up and cool completely.

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21 Responses to “shaved rutabaga with butter”

  1. Liren — March 26, 2010 @ 10:09 am

    I’m so excited that you posted this. Rutabagas get no love from me; not because I hate them, per se, I just ignore them. I will definitely try this.

    As for me and my hate-turned-loves: cilantro, tomatoes, and okra!!!

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — March 26th, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

      I forgot – I used to hate okra, too. I tend to ignore ugly foods, also, but I’m trying to get over it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro — March 26, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    Love rutabagas! Great sweetener in my stocks during winter months.

    I’m almost ashamed to admit that I don’t like bean sprouts. I’m Vietnamese… I should be putting bean sprouts on everything I eat, but I can’t stand the stuff. So that’s my hate-hate.

    My love-love of the week is celery leaves. Love, love, love.

    Hate-love? We’re still workin’ on that one. My mom hopes that will be bean sprouts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy Friday!

    [K]

  3. SMITH BITES — March 26, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

    I swallowed peas whole – BUT in my defense, my mother only served the canned peas . . . can we say UHK?!!! I love frozen peas now (which is amazing that I wasn’t scarred for life) and use them to make pesto for crostini as well as pastas and risotto. By the way, have always love rutagagas – even as a kid . . . I know I’m weird!

  4. Acey — March 26, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    Two words: Brussel Sprouts!

  5. redmenace — March 26, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

    Looks fantastic! I will have to try this. I’ve never tried rutabagas before. It’s on the 2010 list, for sure.

  6. tina — March 26, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    I’ve never tried rutabaga. I’ve never known what to do with one. I’ll try your recipe though – it looks great!

    I will never eat okra!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — March 26th, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

      Tina – You mean you weren’t forced to eat rutabaga as a kid like I was? Seriously, this is a good recipe – you’ll like it.

      Redmenace – Itโ€™s a great veggie to have on your list. Enjoy!

      Smithbites – I can totally relate to the peas story. Your parents must have had great ways of preparing rutabagas to convince you early on that they are a great veggie.

      Acey – I felt the same about Brussels sprouts. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve become a Brussels convert.

      Kim – Good luck with the bean sprouts (and your mom!). ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Mauna — March 26, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

    Believe it or not, I hated onions when I was kid. And being Indian, onions were in everything. Now, I love them. Still can’t stand okra.

  8. Macaroni Mama — March 27, 2010 @ 9:24 am

    I went to your food photos. You make food look tantalizing.

  9. merrygourmet
    merrygourmet — March 27, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    Mauna – Okra is a tough veggie to love. Slimy insides and all that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Macaroni Mama – Thank you very much! Feel free to comment anytime.

  10. MelodyJ — March 27, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

    I guess I’m the odd one. I love rutabaga as a kid. I just rediscovered them. I didn’t like onions. I grew to like them but I don’t want them to take over a dish. I didn’t like mustard as a kid but love it now . The spicy kind is a favorite. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. merrygourmet
    merrygourmet — March 28, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Melody – It’s funny how our tastes change as we get older. And I’m certainly glad they do. If they didn’t, my kids would grow up to eat only granola bars and yogurt.

  12. Valen — March 28, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    I think I will try this! I usually just mash or roast, but both methods take a lot of time and aren’t that delicious.

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — March 28th, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

      Valen – I hope you like it this way. I’ve never had it mashed, but that sounds sort of intriguing.

  13. ghweiss — March 28, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    I like rutabagas in theory, but sometimes they just remind me in taste and texture of overcooked cabbage. It’s a mental image more than anything at this point.

  14. Trissa — March 29, 2010 @ 6:50 am

    Would you believe I have never had rutabagas? At least, now knowingly! But I am off to the US in three weeks – I’ll make sure to find some and try it.

  15. Jenny — March 29, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    This looks delicious!

    Cooked carrots are an abomination.

  16. merrygourmet
    merrygourmet — March 29, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

    ghweiss – It’s hard to overcome those mental hang-ups we have about food. I can relate.

    Trissa – You must try some! Have a good trip, by the way.

    Jenny – I am SO with you on the carrots issue.

  17. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — April 2, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    Well you know, you had me at butter! Not a fan of the rutabaga but perhaps with this recipe….

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — April 2nd, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

      Butter can make almost anything better. Just not cooked carrots.

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