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 Appétit, 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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13 Responses to “a christmas recap and waldorf salad”

  1. Liz the Chef — December 27, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    I haven’t had a Waldorf salad since I was growing up and my Mom used to make them for special occasions. Love your version and will try it soon!

  2. Baking Serendipity — December 27, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    I love your husband’s tradition! We do something similar on Christmas Eve in front of the tree and it’s always fun to set the timer and run to make it into the photograph! Your grandmother looks awesome! What a great Christmas day 🙂

  3. Barbara @ Vino Luci Style — December 27, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    I haven’t had a Waldorf salad for a very long time but am reminded of how much I like them and you’re right…they’re best if given just a bit of time meld but not too much. Craving that crispy, nutty combination even as I write.

    What a great tradition. As I beg from cousins to get some photos to me for a family section I’ve started on my site, I realize only too well how quickly those images get scattered and lost. How wonderful for you, your family and your readers that you are organizing so many family traditions of your own through this blog; now with an annual family photo!

  4. Gail — December 27, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    Cherish the photo. It’s beautiful.
    Love that you’re wearing flipflops while we wear mukluks.

  5. What a great Christmas tradition, and the photo is full of joy. Love those bare feet. When I was a kid I hated wearing shoes, now my daughter does the same.
    Enjoy the rest of this holiday season with your loved ones.

  6. Aggie — December 27, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    first off the family photo is priceless. I almost teared up seeing you holding your grandma’s hand. just precious.

    second, I’ve never made a waldorf salad! why?? it looks delicious!

  7. Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 27, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    I grew up with Waldorf Salad and still have very fond memories of the dish.

    Hope you had a very happy holiday!!!

  8. Nancy@acommunaltable — December 27, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

    Your husband is a very smart man… what a beautiful photo of your family!!!
    Waldorf Salad – great addition to the holiday table and I love the updated recipe!

  9. Katie @The Small Boston Kitchen — December 28, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    So fun! I love the picture of you and your family, I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  10. jasonphelps@yahoo.com — December 28, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    The christmas photo is a wonderful idea! My wife’s family is big and we have hosted them for many years now. Getting a photo is tough but with the tripod and the remote I can generally pull it off.

    Your post is inspiring me to pull together a bit about our Christmas celebration with them and showcase this year’s picture, something I hadn’t prepared in advance.

    I’m glad you andyour family had great times together. That is Christmas.

    Jason

  11. Chris — December 28, 2010 @ 11:28 am

    You know I’m all about the BBQ so the ham and ribs would have been first on my plate, but the star of this post is the family picture. Excellent idea.

  12. Melanie Flinn — December 28, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

    Merry Christmas! I always love hearing about what other people eat during Christmas and their family traditions. It’s always nice to share the work, unfortunately I had to take care of everything this year. Exhausting!

  13. Pingback: The Merry Gourmet pumpkin pie with molasses | the merry gourmet

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