I hosted a little gaming party a few weeks ago in honor of International TableTop Day and as usual opted to make a few snacks to feed the horde of gamers in attendance (okay, like maybe 10 people). I took the opportunity to try my hand at a recipe I’d torn out of one of my beloved Bon Appétit magazines: Spinach Puffs!
This recipe, without a doubt, falls into my favorite bucket of “easy recipes sure to make you friends and impress people.” Not that I had any enemies at my party I was looking to convert, but if I did, I’d be up a few additional friends now.
I’d always wanted to make spinach puffs before; they’re one of those recipes that sounds fancy and by the time you’re 27, you figure you should’ve made or at least tried them before. The pictures in Bon Appétit reminded me of this unspoken spinach puff-commitment, and I was pleased to find that both the process and the ingredients required were pretty easy. I also thought it’d be nice to have both sweet and savory snacks at my party, so I figured this recipe was my ticket to success.
I doubled the recipe just to be safe, and I’m really glad I did. The puffs went from their bowl into people’s mouths faster than I could believe. I managed to finish both batches shortly before the party started, so they were all mostly warm by the time people started cramming them into their collective maw. I’m almost sad there weren’t any left over for me to munch on later!
The filling itself was very simple: frozen 20oz frozen spinach, 1 cup feta cheese, diced onion, and 2 eggs. What blew me away the most, though, was the addition of dill.
O, dill! Where have you been all my life?? I know I’ve had dill in other recipes before (most notably a butter-dill salmon my brother has made before), but I’ve never baked with it before. My god, SO DELICIOUS! I was astounded by how a couple teaspoons of dill in the filling expanded the flavor of the puffs and made them amazing.
Besides the filling being simple, the assembly of the puff pastry was beautifully simple as well. The recipe requires you to defrost and then roll out the pastry into a 12″ x 12″ square and cut it into 9 pieces. Luckily if you purchase the Pepperidge Farm brand (the only puff pastry brand available near me), it’s already folded into 3rds. That means the lines on which you need to cut are already drawn for you!
Once you have both your filling completed and your pastry cut, the filling process is super-easy. The folding over of the ends was a little tricky and required some stretching of the dough, but wasn’t particularly difficult. Into the oven they went!
And really…that was it! They came out browned, puffy, and delicious. There wasn’t a person there who didn’t love the puffs and wished there were more. The only issue I ran into was that, surprisingly, there was more filling than I had puff pastry for. Even after using up 2 full sheets of puff pastry, I had plenty more filling to use. Perhaps I should have filled the puffs more, but I didn’t feel that any of them were under-filled. Suffice it to say, I probably could have made at least a half-dozen more puffs. Good knowledge for the future!
Suffice it to say, if you have a party and are looking for some simple, savory treats, definitely give these puffs a try. They’re a vegetarian delight! Mmm…
From Bon Appétit.
Hey look – I’m still alive….again!
Wow, sorry it’s been so long since making a post; life has been full of craziness, what with work, the impending WeddSplosion, and training for my incoming backpacking trip at Yosemite. Still, I feel a slacker for neglecting my duties here at n00bcakes. While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to constantly keep up a 3-times-per-week posting schedule, I did want to have something new at least once a week. So! Here’s me endeavoring to get back on track.
I actually made this recipe last week (or was it the week before?) and really enjoyed it. I’d been wanting something light for a meal that wasn’t a salad (I tire of salads quickly, truth be told), and this totally fit the bill for me. I found it in a random tweet from someone (alas, I can’t remember who O.o) labeled as a good meal that didn’t necessitate turning on your oven very high. I…sort of agree. Though I don’t always have the finest touch when it comes to cooking, so it could be that I just wasn’t patient enough to let it simmer as opposed to boil.
As usual, one of my favorite things about this recipe is how incredibly simple it is. Saute diced onions in the bottom of a pot with some garlic until soft. Add sliced squash and cook until softened. Pour in ~4 cups of stock (I used chicken, though the recipe called for vegetable) with spices and simmer. Blend the crap out of it, then eat!
This recipe was especially fun for me because it gave me a chance to use my Ninja immersion hand blender…very cool. Actually, before I whipped out the Ninja, I snapped my previous immersion blender clean in half, leaving little shards of metal in my soup. It simply couldn’t withstand the might of the squash it was attempting to defeat. Luckily the Ninja was up to the challenge, and struck the squash into submission. Also, I picked the metal shards out of the soup. I had no interest in going to the hospital that night.
I was pleased with the end result; it was creamy (with chicken stock, anyway) and slightly curry tasting because of the curry powder the recipe called for (duh). It could use a little extra zing…next time I might add a dash of something spicy, or maybe even just some salt. Either way, a dollop of sour cream on top really was a fantastic last touch and made a bowl of soup feel like a hearty meal. I don’t now how much I consider this a hot-weather meal (outside of it calling for summer squash), but it was still really good. And easily transpose-able to a vegetarian or vegan meal if you so desire. So go forth and squash it up!
Adapted from The Kitchn
I recently spent an afternoon with a girlfriend of mine and we went to Cafe Sunflower, a vegetarian cafe in the Atlanta area, for lunch.
I am not personally a vegetarian, though I am not at all adverse to an occasional meatless meal; I only require that food be tasty. I’d heard good things about the restaurant via Scoutmob and had always wanted to try it. This friend was definitely the type to take a vegetarian food adventure with me.
Slackers: Subsequently, if you live in one of the active Scoutmob areas, I highly recommend that you get the app on your phone. It gives spectacular discounts and is a great way to find new local places to dine or hang out, if you’re into that kind of thing. You can be hip and trendy and cheap. Hoo-rah.
The insides of Cafe Sunflower were different from what I expected. I think I was expecting something a little more down-home or hippy-like, but instead it struck me as having more of a chic indian restaurant vibe. I hadn’t even realized I’d had expectations until we walked in. Even so, the atmosphere was relaxing, comfortable, and warm, which was nice since it’s been so cold here recently. I estimate we got to the restaurant 12:30 or 1 and they were moderately busy. Business picked up while we were there, then dropped off as we were leaving. The picture above is from later in the afternoon after most of the crowds had died down. Don’t be deceived by its empty appearance and think that it always looks like this!
The menu is completely vegetarian, there’s no meaty options to speak of. Some of the items are gluten-free as well if that’s your thing. My friend and I decided to split two different entrees so we could get a taste of more than one type of food they had to offer: she ordered the Tuscan Sandwich and I ordered one of their lunch specials, a mushroom quesadilla with a homemade salsa.
Can you say delicious, boys and girls? Zomg.
For having no meat, both of our meals were wonderful. The Tuscan Sandwich came with sweet potato fries and cole slaw, and the quesadilla came with, naturally, tortilla chips and some of the best salsa I have ever had (and that’s saying something!). The two of us unanimously decided the quesadilla was the winner between our two meals, but the Sandwich was definitely a solid second. The sides were also very tasty; the fries were the perfect consistency and the cole slaw had a wonderful flavor and was not sopping in sauce (and I tend to be picky when it comes to slaw). The salsa was fantastic and if they’d been selling jars of it I would have bought one on the spot. It was sweeter rather than spicy and not very chunky; it’s strong tomato and cilantro flavors were excellent. Man, I wish they sold that stuff on its own.
The prices were pretty mid-range, most anywhere from $10 to $15, though to be fair that was for the lunch menu. I feel like the quality of the food was worth it, though.
I think we had both planned on passing on dessert until the waiter whisked by with a platter of cake slices. Among them was what you see above, a Raspberry Chocolate Mousse cake. There were other selections such as a carrot cake, red velvet, and double chocolate. I believe all or some of them were egg-free and others were also gluten-free. You might think that would affect the taste, but most certainly it didn’t – I was definitely smitten. It was probably one of the best slices of restaurant cake I’ve ever had. Mmmm….
Final analysis? If you can deal with a meatless meal, this is definitely a restaurant to check out. And get a piece of cake. Srsly.