Tag Archives: Lettuce

Mostly Organic Spinach Cupcakes

6 Apr

When I first started trying to figure out how to make leafy greens into a dessert, I thought of spinach. If you can make a carrot cake that doesn’t take like vegetables, why not a spinach cake? Thank goodness for the internet, because the only sweet spinach cake I could find was on this great blog about Turkish food. So I found Binnur’s original Spinach Cake (Ispanakli kek) recipe, adjusted it a little, and got to work.

I started with the spinach, which I bought organic since spinach is one of the Dirty Dozen vegetables. I bought 2 5-oz packages organic spinach, snapped the roots off, and pureed it all in the food processor. Side note: this was the first time I ever used a food processor, and it was amazing. I can’t wait to find other things to process.

BeforeAfter
I set the spinach aside so I could start the batter. First I preheated the oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl, I blended 3 organic eggs and 2 cups sugar with a hand mixer on low for about a minute. Then I added 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, and all the spinach and blended until it all incorporated.

IngredientsThen I slowly added 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp baking powder. I blended that for about two minutes longer.

Batter

Cupcake Batter
Then I scooped the batter into paper-lined muffin cups. I popped them into the oven and baked for about 18 minutes, until it passed the toothpick test.

Muffin or Cupcake? Muffcake!

Spinach Cakes

I tasted one and it was actually pretty good! It smelled like spinach but tasted like cake. Though I will say, I kept some plain ones in a sealed plastic container for a couple days, and when I took the lid off, that was some strong spinach smell. I decided it could use some frosting, so I whipped up some vanilla buttercream.

I dropped 1 stick softened organic butter (1/2 cup) into a mixing bowl and blended it with a hand mixer for just 30 seconds or so till it was smooth. Then I added 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and blended on low until incorporated. Then I added 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons organic heavy cream. I blended on medium for about 2 minutes. Once it was the perfect texture, I frosted the cupcakes.

Spinach Cupcake!The vanilla buttercream balanced the spinach cake perfectly and made for a pretty light but sweet cake. And unusual too!

How Sue Sees It:
– You could probably serve these without the frosting and call them muffins, but they’re still pretty sweet. And they’re better with the frosting anyway.
– This is a great option for people who need to hide vegetables in food in order to get kids or spouses to eat them, a la Jessica Seinfeld.
– This would also be great to serve for a St. Patrick’s Day party!
– I took them to a party and was very hesitant and almost apologetic about serving spinach cupcakes. I explained what they were, and then went back outside to move my car to a more legal parking spot. By the time I got back 10 minutes later, there were only 3 left! I guess they were good.

Like hotcakes!

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Seasonal Ingredient: Leafy Greens (March-December)

5 Apr

Aside from peanuts and sweet potatoes, which grow year-round, pretty much the only seasonal produce in March in North Carolina is leafy greens: lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, cabbage… the list goes on. And the list of nutrients they provide goes on and on too: calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and E, and more.

Leafy Greens
A lot of people must love leafy greens, because there’s even a Leafy Greens Council! As a kid, I hated leafy greens. Everything from the bland taste and the hard-to-chew texture to the way that no one can eat a salad gracefully, well, just gross. But as an adult, I’ve slowly broadened my tastes. I enjoy a good salad – at first I would only eat iceberg lettuce and cucumbers with ranch dressing (my little sister called me “Plain Salad Girl” for a while), but now I’ve expanded to more variety. And after salads, a whole new world opened up. I still am pretty inexperienced in the wider world of leafy greens, but I am a huge spinach fan. I add spinach to everything — stews, pastas, curries. I love adding it in during the last couple minutes of cooking and watching it shrink down to a fraction of its original size. And I love that it tastes like the dish I added it to instead of like leaves.

The Center for Young Women’s Health reminds us that our bodies need healthy fat in order to absorb all those vitamins, so when you eat them, you should add things like butter, canola oil, olive oil, cheese, or salad dressing. I think I can handle that.

So what are leafy greens?

  • Arugula
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard

I’ve never even eaten probably half the things on that list. I probably could not identify half the things on that list. I guess I should research a little.

Time to get crackin’ on my leafy greens recipes. Here’s what I’ve got so far: