Mango Lassi

I love a good mango lassi, although I try to limit my consumption of this decidedly rich and carb-loaded beverage.  But it is indeed high in nutritive value, and hence filling.  I am given to understand that the lassi is any type of yogurt (or cream) based beverage originating in India or Pakistan; and that lassi had its origins in the Punjab region.  Some do not even contain fruit.  Indeed, there’s one native to India called “bhang lassi”, which probably soon may be sold in Colorado or Washington state, if it isn’t already…

Mango Lassi in the Garden.  I LOVE spring!

Mango Lassi in the Garden. I LOVE spring!  (PS, this is at least two servings here!)

At one point, I made a delicious shrimp and mango salad, but the last time I purchased regular mangos, they went from hard as rocks to rotten with no intermediate stage.  (They were hard as rocks when I was supposed to bring that salad to a pot luck  — I punted, and the shrimp and no-mango salad was serviceable but didn’t beg me to write it up.)

However, by the time I tried making pear and mango salsa, I’d discovered ataulfo mangos, these at Whole Foods.  They’re smaller, and yellow when ripe.  This is what I used below.

Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cook time: Zilch.
Rest time: Not needed.
Serves:   2 servings.

Mango Lassi

* 2 ataulfo mangos, ripe.  Or one large regular mango, ripe.  In any case, peeled and cored.  I use a spoon to scrape out any lingering pulp from the rind.  If you find other tasty mango types out there, experiment!
* good quality whole milk yogurt OR, for those lactose-intolerant: coconut yogurt.
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom.
* some recipes call for rose water.  Don’t have, didn’t use.
* cold water or milk.

Collect all your mango pulp and add half as much yogurt as mango.  In my case, it was nearly just over 8 ounces/250 ml of pulp (that handy-dandy cup for the immersion blender is great for measuring!) so I added 4 ounces/125 ml yogurt.

Add in the cardamom.

Blend, either using an immersion blender or a food processor.  If using the immersion blender, you may wish to find a larger, but also narrow, container.  I simply did it very carefully.

Gradually mix in a little water (or milk) by spoon to get the stuff to the consistency you like.  This will depend on preference, on ripeness (and type) of the mango, and the consistency of the yogurt you are using.

If you wish, you can pour some over crushed ice just prior to serving.  Sprinkle a dusting of ground cardamom on top if you wish.  Store any extra in the fridge for up to a day.  (Don’t drink it all at once!  At least, not often!)

mango lassi, indian, recipe

Chopped up mango, waiting.

I cannot vouch for the flavor of coconut yogurt, having never tasted it.

Some restaurants add sugar.  But, hey… mangos are plenty sweet enough just as they are!

This lil guy was sitting near the mango cup in the last photo.  Grabbed the macro, and shot him!

This lil guy was sitting near the mango cup in the last photo. Grabbed the macro, and shot him!  No, he is NOT destined to be a menu item in my home! 

Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Arrachera Mex-Tex Beef

Think of this as the meat you put into your fajitas, although you can do other things with your preparation.  Arracheras are nearly always made from skirt steak, and it is marinated up to three days before grilling, although 24 hours is fine, too.

I did make this preparation for the actual date of Cinco de Mayo, but didn’t have time to post back then, so here we have it, now.  Rather than serving it as fajitas, I opted to pan fry up in a skillet with onions and bell peppers, omitting the fajita bread entirely.

arracheras, tex-mex, peppers, recipe

2 servings of arracheras and peppers

According to the below-linked web site, “Arrachera beef is a savory Mexican specialty that may have originated with vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) driving their herds to south Texas in the 1930’s.  Tex-Mex cooks eventually reinterpreted arrachera beef, or ‘arracheras’ as the beef fajitas found frequently on menus in U.S. restaurants.”   Back in the day, skirt steak and a lot of the offal were what the Mexican hands were given to eat.

I didn’t have any skirt steak from my beef CSA share to hand, so I picked up a strip from my Whole Foods — a little fattier than I’d have preferred, but then again maybe this was why this was the last piece available.  Do cut off any excess fat pads, although thin bits of fat are fine.  Those vaqueros were dining on animals constantly on the roam!

 Prep Time:  20 minutes for the hands on part; marinate at least 24 hours.
Cook time:  Maybe 10 minutes
Rest time:  5 minutes.
Serves 3.  Yes, some came to lunch with me that week!

Arrachera Tex-Mex Beef with Peppers and Onion

For the meat and marinate:

* 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of any large fat pads.  Slice into three segments for ease of grilling or pan-frying. 
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced.
* 1/8 cup cheap tequila.  
* 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* Ground sea salt and ground pepper to taste — say, about 1/4 teaspoon of the former, and 1/3rd teaspoon of the latter.

For the veggies:

* 1/4 to 1/2 yellow or white onion, sliced into thick slivers.
* 2 bell peppers of different colors, de-seeded and sliced into slivers.
* up to one optional jalapeno, de-seeded and minced.
* 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced.
*  1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.
* salt and pepper to taste.

arracheras veg-

To make:

Add all the marinate ingredients to the beef, and mix well.  Store in the fridge for 1 or 2 days, turning to mix four or five times during the marination process.

arracheras, tex-mex, skirt steak, recipe

One pound, marinating.

Put the prepped veggie portion into a skillet, and start cooking that on your range or in your outdoor grill.  Indirect or medium heat is best.  Then, while that is going on:

Grill (regular grill or George Foreman), or pan fry the meat.  Considering the crevices that the skirt steak has, the marinate will reach all portions of the steak.  3-6 minutes per side, depending on your grill’s heat, the thickness of your skirt steak, and the done-ness level you prefer.  On an outdoor grill, sear for a minute or two over high heat, then move to indirect heat for the rest of the cooking.  On the range, start with medium high heat, sear both sides, then reduce heat to medium.

Rest the meat for a minimum of five minutes; reduce the heat anywhere in their cooking process for the veggies if necessary, to keep them from becoming mushy (unless you like mushy, which some folk do).

Slice the steak thinly on a bias against the grain, toss into the skillet with the veggies, mix around just long enough for the components to mingle, and serve.

Rested and sliced.  Note that the top segment is medium rare, but the bottom (thinner) segment is medium  well.  Both were cooked for the same time.

Rested and sliced. Note that the top segment is medium rare, but the bottom (thinner) segment is medium well. Both were cooked for the same time.

Options:  Serve with salsa, such as my pear and mango salsa, and/or with guacamole, sour cream, actual fajita bread, slices of avocado, chunks of tomatillo…

If you’d rather not use tequila, use a Mexican beer.  Or, try a mixture of Worcester sauce cut in half with water (in this latter case, omit any added salt to the marinate).  The tastes will be different, but arracheras is not defined by this ingredient.



Posted in Cooking, Meats, South of the Border | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

For Cinco de Mayo: Fish Tacos in Lettuce Shell; Vegetarian Tacos in Lettuce Shell

Here we have recipes for both vegetarian and fish tacos, served in lettuce.

I’ve cut down on my home consumption of starches such as wheat or corn, and I’ve upped the outright veggies in my life.  Hence, a swap for lettuce over those small soft tortillas, which are typical for fish tacos.

I also avoid tilapia, which in most cases is way over-farmed, and so I experimented with medallions of monkfish or filet of trout — the latter is also farmed, but usually done more responsibly.  Out at a restaurant recently, I ordered an awesome red snapper fish taco (in a soft corn tortilla shell), so red snapper works, too.

lettuce tacos, recipe, fish, monkfish, mexican

Monkfish tacos with salsa and cilantro

For breakfast the next morning I went vegetarian and had avocado and halved grape tomatoes in my “tacos”.  Check the bottom recipe.

Prep time: about 10 minutes
Cook time:  about 7-8 minutes for monkfish, 5 for thin filets of fish
Rest time:  Nada
Serves:  as an appetizer, each person will want two or three. The monkfish made six “tacos”.  I ate all six for dinner with nothing else.

For Fish (monkfish or for thin fillets of fish):

* 0.4 ounces of fish (monkfish medallions are made by slicing the tail into about 1/2 inch steaks — I discuss fillets of fish below)
* 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil (or olive oil)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (or a hotter or more mild Mexican ground pepper at your discretion)
* Ground pepper to taste.
* Lettuce leaves – I used crispy butter lettuce, but even crisper might be iceberg or green cabbage.  The butter lettuce leaves however seem to me about the right size for a fish taco.
* Salsa – I used the pear and mango salsa posted about yesterday.  About a tablespoon per “taco”
* Optional – 1 to 2 slices of fresh avocado per “taco”
*  Optional – cilantro for garnish.

Pan fry the fish in the avocado oil (perhaps use olive oil if you don’t have avocado) on medium heat, with the cumin, chipotle, and ground pepper, flipping a few times until done, about 7-8 minutes.

Arrange the lettuce leaves, top with the warm fish (2-3 medallions each) and the optional avocado, layer the salsa over, perhaps about a tablespoon each.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.  Pick up the leaf with goodies inside, fold over and eat with your hands.

If doing trout or other filleted fish:  slice into smaller segments, and pan fry with all the other ingredients, about 2-3 minutes a side for thin fish (total about 5 minutes).

vegan, avocado, tomato, lettuce taco, mexican, tex-mex recipe

vegetarian lettuce tacos with avo and tomato, and salsa

Prep time: about 10 minutes
Cook time:  No cooking.
Rest time:  Nada
Serves:  as an appetizer, each person will want two or three. I ate three for breakfast accompanied by one hard-boiled egg on the side.

For Vegetarian:  Skip the fish and use:

* Grape tomatoes, sliced in half, two halves per leaf.
* Avocado: Two thin slices per leaf.
* Arrange on leaf:
* Sprinkle lightly with about 1/16 teaspoon cumin and 1/16 teaspoon chipotle or ancho chili powder (or less).  Smoked paprika is also an option.
* Top with about a tablespoon salsa for each leaf, followed by an optional garnish of cilantro.

recipe, vegan, lettuce taco

Close-up, before addition of salsa and cilantro

PS, yes they are a little messy to eat (eat them over a plate, using fingers to grab them), but most tacos are, anyway.

Posted in Cooking, Seafood, South of the Border, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

For Cinco de Mayo: Pear/Mango Salsa, Mexican-Inspired

pears, mangos, cinco de mayo, salsa

All but the cilantro, ready for mixing, for Pear and Mango Salsa

Well, it is almost the fifth of May, and Mexican restaurants go crazy trying to bring in new customers for the night.  The one nearest me used to have yearly signs out reading, “One tequila/Two tequila/Three tequila/Floor”, and the like, all shaped like tombstones, promising debauchery, but in recent years these apparently have gotten politically incorrect.  (Or perhaps someone stole them.)

But as a Mexican friend pointed out to me, finding a good and authentic Mexican restaurant in New England is nearly impossible.  The one near me certainly is neither good nor authentic.  The closest that good ones get are essentially Southwest/TexMex cuisine, which is fine, but don’t begin to touch the wealth of cuisine that comes from Mexico.  Since I’ve never visited Mexico, I admit I’ll be diving into uncharted (by me) waters, and I won’t vouch for my authenticity.

And, by the way, Cinco de Mayo is an occasion not really celebrated with much fanfare down in Mexico.  I’ve got a couple other Cinco de Mayo posts planned, so I’ll talk about that, then.

I’ve been hankering to try some Mexican food (some will be admittedly less-than-genuine, but I’m at least hoping for a strongly positive “taste” factor) here, however, and so I’m going to start simple.  This will be a salsa.  I know, I know: neither mangoes nor pears are native to Mexico, but tomatoes are also not native to Italy, Spain or India.  And tomatoes have grown to be at home in each of those nations.

For me, some of this salsa (it yielded a LOT) will end up on tacos, which I will report on, tomorrow. Some will end up as salad toppings.  Other ideas:  make endive “boats” with it.  If you like those corn tostada/tortilla “cups”, try serving the salsa in those.  (I will eat those but I won’t buy them for home use.)  Or, use this to accent quesadillas.  Or, eat spoonfuls — but moderate jalapeno use if you need to.

Mango, Pear, Salsa, Cinco de Mayo

Salsa ready to go!

Prep Time:  20 minutes slicing and dicing
Cook Time:  nada
Rest time:  the longer this rests, the softer the ingredients get.  Your call
Serves:  Depends on how you plan to use the salsa, and how big your mango and pear are.  But, plenty

Pear/Mango Salsa, Mexican Inspired

1 large, juicy pear.  Hate to break it to you, but Bosc are not very enticingly meaty.  I used an Anjou pear, and I’d recommend this.  Remove skin if you prefer (I didn’t), and dice about 1/4 inch squares.  Remove bad spots, pit and ends.
1 mango.  Remove skin, ends, and pit, and any bad spots.  Dice about 1/4 inches.  My mango was a smallish yellow mango from Whole Foods.  (My regular mangoes went from way-unripe to over”done” without notice, so I didn’t use them.)
* Juice from 1 lime.  Include pulp if easy to get at.  My lime was very stingy about its juice – you can always use less juice if your lime is, well, juicy.  Your call.
* 1 inch of the tip end of a small jalapeno pepper, diced fine.  Depending on your heat tolerance include the interior ribs and the seeds, or leave them out.  In the jalapeno, the tip end seldom has many seeds, so I left a few of them in today.
* 1/4 small/medium red onion, peeled, sliced thin and then diced.
* pinch of salt
* Cilantro, lightly shredded, to top

Mix everything up, except the cilantro, which will be on top of any preferred method you have for serving this salsa.

Mango, Pear, Salsa, Cinco de Mayo

Yellow Mango (might be a “Gold Nugget”) and red Anjou Pear.  PS, behind them is a patch of onion grass.

The salsa, as noted, will soften the longer you let it sit in the fridge.  Again, this may be a positive or a negative, depending on the use you intend for it.

Oh, it’s really Spring around here:

I simply love the daffodils!!!

I simply love the daffodils!!!


Posted in Appetizers, Condiments, South of the Border, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Dining Out: Horizon Diner, Manhawkin Township, New Jersey (Brunch)

A baker’s dozen of us gathered together down in a backyard in Manhawkin, New Jersey, Saturday afternoon as part of a meeting of wonderful folks who share interests in historical (and sometimes not-so-historical) re-enactments.  Two of us had driven down together from Connecticut, and afterwards spent a comfortable night in the nearby family owned Barnegat Motel.  Therein as we checked in, we were recommended to breakfast at the Horizon Diner, Manhawkin, NJ, only a few miles away.

Horizon Diner, Manhawkin

Manhawkin from Google Earth.  Click on it for a slightly larger image.

Real food, or a Dunkin Donuts?  Dunkin makes decent coffee, but not much else.  Their donuts tend to sit on my stomach like lead, unless I can get just one or two donut holes and call it quits.    Out here on the East Coast, quality diners are worth their weight in gold.  Many are quality, but not necessarily all.  But we’d check it out.  It’s not a short drive home.

This one was built in the 1940’s, and features the original counter and stools, although we settled happily into a booth which probably came with the 1990’s build-on.  On our way out, I noticed an image of a Greek Orthodox iconic Madonna-and-Child over the cashier’s station — a lot of diners out this way are Greek-run or Greek-influenced.  They had also posted framed photos of this diner from earlier days.

We’d planned for breakfast.  This wasn’t breakfast.  It was  true BRUNCH, filling us to hold for hours.  For one, I never did have lunch, though I did have a light dinner.

Our servers were friendly, fast, and informative.

I ordered the Lox Eggs Benedict.  My friend ordered the Eggs Benedict with Crab Cakes (two), and she gave me a taste of a crab cake.  We also ordered a side of crispy bacon to share between us.  Smartly, we each asked (respectively) for the Hollandaise sauce to be served on the side, or omitted entirely.  There was a LOT of Hollandaise sauce that came with my side.  I think in total I ate one tablespoon.  Maybe.

The poached eggs arrived on English muffins, as is usual; and was piled around by fresh fruit (NOT sweetened fruit cocktail with all that icky syrup) — lots of strawberries, cantalope, honeydew melon, and some fresh orange slices  and pink grapefruit slices. This turned into two servings — I had my second portion in my lunch salad today… They also supply a three-meal supply of home fried potato side — and they do provide  doggie take-home containers, I think without asking!  My friend’s crab cakes were served on the side of the poached eggs on English muffin; my lox was atop the muffins, topped with the eggs.

The eggs were expertly poached.

The lox was just right, fresh and not too salty, the potatoes were flavorful and not card-boardy, and the Hollandaise sauce tasted genuine (I’m just not interested in eating a lot of this sauce — for me, a little goes a Long Way).

The bacon was crispy to perfection, and I’m glad we split a serving. Something like six or eight slices in that serving!

The fruit was fresh, flavorful, and I even liked the honeydew melon, which in most places has no flavor to speak of.

The crab cake taste I had, tasted awesome!!!  I think I have only tasted one crab cake its equal, served at a semi-fancy restaurant just outside of D.C. in Virginia.  That was several years ago; it is possible that this one was even better.  The crab cakes had nice tender flakes of real crab, with just enough breading and such to hold it together. The chefs here allow the crab to be the main flavor of the cake.

The coffee was slightly bitter, but a hint of milk solved that one.

Looking around at the other folk dining here:  If it’s your thing, there was a superb-looking pile of waffles topped with a mound of whipped cream, topped again with a bundle of fresh strawberries.

If I ever end up in Manhawkin again:  I’m having brunch here again.  I’ll either order the Eggs Benedict with Crab Cakes, or the Eggs Oscar with a Crab Cake and Asparagus (asparagus being one of my absolute fave veggies).  Mine with lox was excellent, but good lox is far easier to find than good crab cakes.

Of course, I simply had to google Eggs Oscar. Apparently the very act of including both crab and asparagus with the poached eggs turns the thing into Oscar (and not the Oscar from Sesame Street).  It is usually served with a Bearnaise sauce, which is pretty similar to Hollandaise, so on the side it will be.  I’m not highly interested in mayo, your millage may differ.

If you dine here, plan for multiple meals.

Horizon Diner
32 East Bay Avenue, Manhawkin, New Jersey, 08050

Brunch Rating:  4.8 out of 5.0

Manhawkin, New Jersey

Manhawkin Causeway, the sea behind Long Beach Island

I hadn’t realized we were this close to the ocean.  Long Beach Island, which we took a quick visit to, does have protective barrier reefs, but a lot of Hurricane Sandy back in October 2012 swirled back in behind the island to do damage more “inland”.  Much of the area has recovered and has been re-built, but not all.

Posted in Breakfast, Cooking, Dining Out, Seafood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Salad: Lettuce, Cabbage, Hearts of Palm, Endive, Smoked Salmon, Eggs, Tomato, Basil

I was going to bring a tossed salad to a small pot luck I attended on Saturday — but suddenly remembering there was some frozen smoked salmon from Costco in the fridge, and that I’d bought endives, I decided I should be more festive and creative.  Besides, this was to be a smaller crowd than usual, so my salad would have Space to Sprawl, and still  have the chance to fill the attendees.  I have Mother’s old large glass circular serving platter upon which we’d been treated to many happy repasts years ago, mostly in the presence of company, so I pulled that out, and went layered.

Salad, Paleo, Lettuce, Red cabbage, Egg, Smoked Salmon, Hearts of Palm, Basil, Grape Tomato

(The photo taken before I went on the road with it, and before the salad dressing got added just prior to serving.)

So, here we go!

Prep time:  25-30 minutes including arranging.
Salad dressing if you make your own:  5 minutes
Cook time:  for hard-cooking the eggs, allot 15 minutes which includes bringing the eggs in salted water to a boil*, then turning range off and letting them sit there for ten minutes.
Rest time:  not needed
It seems to have served eight!

Layered Salad Platter Featuring a Lot of Goodies Including Smoked Salmon

* 1 whole Bibb lettuce, broken into leaves
* 1/2 cup, approximately, of red cabbage, sliced thin and shredded (for presentation purposes, color is important.)
* 2 endives, leaves separated into “boats” — the center part reserved for future salad tossings.
* 5 ounces smoked salmon, broken into thin slivers and slices
* 10-12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved.
* 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced into halves or thirds, long way.
* 2 stalks of jarred hearts of palm, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
 — I get them from Costco but BJ’s also carries them
* About 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and lightly dried.  (Another fun Costco source, although for these they sell enough to last a year.  Or two.  Fortunately the brine is a preservative.)
* A handful of fresh basil, smaller leaves intact, larger chopped into two or three pieces.
* A vinaigrette salad dressing (see below for a suggestion).

Assembly:  Be creative!  Look at the design of your serving platter!  I laid down the bib lettuce on the bottom, scattered cabbage on top, arranged the endive boats, added salmon and the tomatoes to them, scattered around the extra tomato and the hearts of palm, circled the egg slices around the outside, with the last slices in the center, topped the center with a bit more salmon, added the capers and basil all over.   At any rate, do what inspires you, and what works with your serving platter!

Since the salad dressing was thin, and was going to fall out of “emulsion” before it could be poured, I added the dressing to the entire platter just before serving at the event.  “Serve yourself” would end up meaning that the first folks would likely get all the oil and the last folks would get all the vinegar.  Thus, I purposefully kept the total volume to minimum.  Just enough that healthy oils would aid nutrient absorption… well, okay I didn’t think of it that way when I was preparing this, but it’s true.

This Vinaigrette

I understand the “perfect” ratio of oil to vinegar in salad dressings should be 4:1 or in a pinch, 3:1.  I prefer 2:1.

* 3 ounces extra virgin olive oil.
* 1.5 ounces red wine vinegar.
* 1/4 inch (more or less) finely shredded ginger
* Two teaspoons Herbes de Provence (in my case, from Penzy’s)
* A pinch of sea salt, and a little ground pepper to taste

Shake extremely  just before serving.  The amount I made was a little less than described above, but this will give you a little spare.  (And not have to make me do math for either of us…)

There were seven of us attending the dinner.  There was just enough salad left over for my breakfast this morning.  Well, all the smoked salmon was long gone, but hey, I had some of my egg-providing morning protein along with some good fresh veggies!  (I am seriously trying to make all THREE of the traditional meals contain some veggies — it fails on mornings when I am in a rush to get to work, but otherwise…)

  • PS:  If you don’t know about the value of boiling eggs in salted water, check this earlier post of mine out.  (Hint, it relates to osmotic pressure on weak-shelled eggs.  Add salt to the cooking water!)

This dish was a true success.





Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spinach & Turnip Greens and Ground Meat Mini-Muffins!

Spinach & Turnip Greens Meat Mini-Muffins

ground meat, spinach, turnip greens, recipe paleo

Spinach & turnip greens, with ground meat, are ready for the oven. Mini-Muffins, here we come!

This is an adaptation from one of the cool recipes I found in Melissa Joulwan’s book, Well Fed.  I’ve created her recipe several times as it makes great Road Food for trips where you don’t want to depend on those fast food eateries ubiquitous to the contemporary world – most of them, after all, aren’t worth depending on, although some day I want to try the pork carnitas at a Chipotle’s.   (PS: at the moment I am not getting compensated for linking to Amazon.  I’ve tried to set this up, but I have to get a call back from them to verify… which bombs out my wi-fi connection at this end, and so the linking isn’t yet working.  When it does happen, I WILL let you know!)

Melissa J. wrote the recipe for full-sized muffins, and I’ve made those.  But sometimes you don’t want a full-sized blast of spinach and protein – or sometimes one is too few and two is simply far too much.

I tested out her recipe using a mini-muffin pan instead, and loved it.   This is my second endeavor making mini-muffins, and since I had only one pack of frozen spinach, I added in a package of frozen turnip greens.  (Melissa notes you can make the whole thing vegetarian by omitting the meat and subbing in more spinach to compensate, should you wish.)

A note about potential meats:  Ground beef, pork or goat would be great, whether the muffins are to be served hot or cold (as the latter might be most likely on a road trip).  Sometimes ground lamb tastes a little funky if served cold.  Venison could be a potential if mixed in with a little pork or a bit more goat, to keep it from being too dry.  As for ground chicken or turkey, I haven’t found a good source of either of these that can’t guarantee bits from hundreds of the critters aren’t ground up into the package I buy.  For me, that’s a real turn-off.  But, feel free to experiment, the cooking principle remains the same.

spinach, turnip greens, ground meat, paleo, recipe

Some ingredients, minus the onions and spices (or ghee)

Anyhow, here’s tonight’s current adaptation!

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time: for ingredients, ~10-20 minutes; for muffin time, 25 minutes
Rest time: 15 minutes
Makes 24 Mini-Muffins

Spinach & Turnip Greens Meat Mini-Muffins

1 ten ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 ten ounce package frozen chopped turnip greens, thawed (or just use a second package of spinach)
1 teaspoon oil.  I used ghee today.
¼ medium-large yellow or white onion, diced.
1 pound ground meat.  (This was beef from my local farmer-supplier.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder (or cayenne, or whatever floats your boat.  For non-spicy, ancho is wonderful.  If you are using spicy, and want more of that, definitely push your envelope!)
½ teaspoon allspice
2 large eggs
A little more oil to coat your mini muffin pan (unless you use paper inserts…) – Wipe your pan to a very thin layer using a paper towel. Optionally, you can use those paper inserts in your mini muffin pan, to make cleanup easier.  I didn’t – things clean up just fine for me.   Although I use either silicon or Teflon pans…  Yes, I know there are concerns about Teflon.  I pick my battles and as long as the coating stays intact, I’m using it.


Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet, melt the ghee or butter, or heat up your other oil on the stove top, medium high.

Add the onion and saute about 5-8 minutes or until soft and translucent.  Mix around ever so often.

Add in the ground meat, making sure you break it up.  Mix around.  Cook it until it is cooked through, then drain off most of the grease.

Add the minced garlic, and stir around another minute or so.

Drop in the THOROUGHLY DRAINED, squeezed dry, spinach or spinach/turnip green mixture.  Mix around.

Then add in the rest of the seasonings, and feel free to riff on the suggestions that I used. Once mixed, remove from heat source and wait about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat up your eggs.

Once the greens and meat mixture is cool enough to work with, add the eggs, and use your hands to mix the eggs into everything else. Into a lightly greased mini-muffin pan (I used avocado oil, choose your own), add your dollops of food.  I did this with my hands – hey, they were already spinach-y!  These muffins aren’t going to rise, so feel free to fill a little over the top of each hole.  This made 24 mini-muffins for me. Wipe the edges on top of the pan, and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool to at least tepid before removing these from their little nests.  (15-20 minutes, or else they may crumble.) They do freeze well, and they make AWESOME morsels of Road Food!

Melissa Joulwan’s blog is located here.

spinach, turnip greens, ground meat, paleo, recipe, mini muffin

The mini muffins are crisp on the outside, but are not burnt. They just darken.  I did have to fend off the cats while doing the photography.  Umm… that wood background is my floor.  

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