It's spring break in NYC, so I'll be busy juggling the kiddies and work this week. Here's one of my favorites I created for The Cuisinart Stand Mixer blog.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Like the sunrise, it signals a new beginning and chance to do things differently. That thought was on my mind while looking at the crisp bunches of baby spinach at the farmers' market this past weekend. Sure I could sauté them with garlic and toss them with pasta or use them in a dinner salad, but I wanted to find a new way to enjoy this beautiful bounty.
I started thinking about the savory spinach-cheddar muffins a local patisserie sells. They're light and airy – as if a muffin and a flaky biscuit had a lovechild. I decided to bring this baby green to the breakfast table and make spinach and cheese muffins. Instead of settling for cheddar, I found inspiration thinking about what types of cheese are usually shaved or sprinkled into a spinach salad. I decided to test the recipe three times using a different variety for each batch.
Goat cheese came to mind first. Unlike the soft, crumbly kind most popular in supermarket dairy aisles, you can find lovely, aged varieties at the cheese counter. I chose Pantaleo, a firm (or hard), aged goat cheese from Italy, with a nutty, sharp flavor. My second choice was Fioro Sardo, a hard sheep's milk Italian cheese, similar in taste and texture to Pecorino. A Dutch smoked Gouda made from cow's milk took the last, coveted place in my shopping basket.
Cheese in hand, I had to decide the best way to prepare the spinach for the muffin batter. The quickest, easiest method also retained the earthy-fresh flavor of the spinach: steaming it in the microwave. Make a batch of muffins at the beginning of the week and store them in airtight container. You'll be grateful for one of these on mornings when you're in a rush and need a bite on the go.
Spinach & Cheese Muffins
This was an original post to The Cuisinart Stand Mixer blog.