Spinach dumplings with fresh goat cheese

I’ve been snooping around German blogs again, looking for good stuff to eat. And if you don’t mind a wee tad adventure, come along….

These dumplings are classic southern German/Tyrolean. They work as a carbo course with dinner, or even just on their own. Thank you to Rock the Kitchen for the inspiration and the yummy photo!

 

Ingredients

100 g day-old bread

100 ml milk

250 g frozen spinach (or cooked/chopped/squeezed of liquid)

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil

30 g fresh goat cheese

25 g freshly grated Emmenthaler, Gouda, Raclette or Gruyere cheese

75 g flour

1 egg

Salt and Pepper to taste

Nutmeg

15 g butter

Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Tear bread into small chunks, put in bowl and pour milk over bread. Allow to soak for 15 min.

If using frozen spinach, thaw and then press together to wring out water. Chop coarsely. Peel onion and garlic, chop finely.

Heat canola or olive oil in saute pan and fry onion and garlic until just starting to become transparent. Cool slightly and then mix together with spinach and milk-soaked bread. Add in goat cheese, grated cheese. flour and egg, as well as salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well with hands. Allow flavors to meld for 10 minutes.

Bring water in a large pot to boil and salt when boiling. Take enough dumpling dough from the bowl to form a golf ball-sized dumpling and carefully lower into the boiling water. Lower the temperature on the pot to simmer and continue making dumplings for the pot until all dough is gone. Simmer dumplings for 15 min.

Just before the dumplings are done, melt butter in the saute pan and allow it to brown ever so slightly. Put the cooked dumplings in the pan and roll them around to coat. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the top of the dumplings and serve.

If desired, you can crumble cooked bacon into the dumpling dough or cut Canadian bacon or ham into small cubes and mix them in before cooking. You could also brown the dumplings in bacon grease after cooking, for a heartier flavor.

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The strata for people who hate strata….

Until I met this strata, I hated them, too. Have to admit, I’m not really a french toast person, either. Something about a hatred of wet bread that I inherited from my dad. But this one changed it all.

You MUST start with excellent bread. I feel that is the essential key. I started with a gorgeous ciabatta ( just from Meijer’s, so not really expensive). You could use brioche with the same excellent results. This recipe is really so fantastic, and the more veggies you put in it, the better it gets. Oh, and of course, there’s lots of cheese in there:)

I do apologize, the smell and seductiveness of the cooked strata was so compelling that I never got a pic of the finished dish….it disappeared in minutes, with people lined up for second helpings.

 

If it looks this good uncooked, imagine the final product! Sorry I missed the cooked version picture!

 

Spinach, Asparagus, Mushroom and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Annie’s Eats

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 1 pound of cleaned and chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 pound cleaned and quartered portobella mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyere or Gouda  (about 2 cups)
  • 6 oz. fresh goat cheese (chevre)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook down until soft and liquid has mostly boiled off. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.

Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 2 min, drain and stir into the spinach-onion mix. Allow to cool.

Butter the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish. Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach-asparagus mixture and one third of each of the cheeses. Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard. Whisk together until blended. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layers in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

It is to-die-for. Completely. Even if it is a strata.

Spanakopitakia (little Spanakopitas)

Given that Jamie Oliver’s Spinach Goat Cheese Risotto is the perennial favorite item on this blog, I thought it wise to feature another spinach goat cheese combo. This time it’s the greek flaky-crispy triangles, folded as individual servings. These are sure to be a winner for dinner!

Moist and savory inside, crispy-buttery outside!

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped

20 oz pkg of frozen, chopped, thawed and well-drained spinach

1 lb feta or fresh goat cheese, preferably at room temperature

12 oz drained cottage cheese

6 well-beaten eggs

1/2 C Italian style bread crumbs

1 box frozen filo dough (thawed)

Directions

Melted butter (about 3/4 C) mixed with some olive oil (about 1/8 C) and kept warm.

In a very large fry pan, saute the onion in a little oil for about five minutes. Add spinach and let simmer until most moisture is gone.

In a good-sized bowl, crumble the feta or goat cheese and mix with the cottage cheese.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and then pour into the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Stir bread crumbs into the spinach/onion mixture. Then add the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Open the thawed filo dough and unroll. Keep a moist towel available to cover the dough as it dries quickly and will then crack. Cut the dough in half, length wise. Lay a piece of the cut dough down, butter it lightly with the butter/oil mixture. Repeat this step. Add one more layer of filo and drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese/spinach mixture on the dough at one end. Fold the dough over as if you are folding a flag (in a triangle pattern), until all the dough is used. Place on air-bake pan and brush the top with the butter/olive oil mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. You will end up with lots of individual triangles.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Eat soon or wrap individual triangles in wax paper to freeze.
Thanks to Shawna Olson for the recipe!

NY Resolution: eat more quiche!

Quiche is a great alternative to meat-dense meals, and will accommodate a great variety of vegetables, cheeses and other tasty ingredients. My household will be eating more of them in 2011 — I hope you find this idea could work for you, too. If you dial down on the meat, eating more eggs will likely NOT boost your cholesterol. Give it a try, eggs are inexpensive protein!

Here’s a nice variation on the theme. Think about topping it with tomato slices and zucchini (photo from ChaosQueen) — beautiful, no?

Swiss And Spinach Quiche
Ingredients: 

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1       shaped shell  prepared piecrust ( I love Marie Callender's)
  4             ounces  swiss, gouda or fontina cheese -- cut into strips
  1                cup  mozzarella cheese
  2        tablespoons  flour
  1                cup  skim milk
  3                     egg -- slightly beaten
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/2      teaspoon  black pepper
     1/4      teaspoon  nutmeg
     1        package  frozen spinach -- cooked and drained
     4        ounces   fresh goat cheese (chevre)
Preparation:Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Pre-bake prepared piecrust for 10 minutes. After removing piecrust from oven, turn heat down to 375 degrees F. In medium bowl, toss cheeses with flour, and arrange evenly over crust. Using same bowl, mix milk, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and spinach until blended. Pour over cheese and dot with pinches of fresh goat cheese, and if desired, alternating slices of fresh tomato and zucchini. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Queso Fundido (aka yummy hot cheese dip)

Two words: melted cheese. That intersection of cheesy, oozy meltability and crunchy toasted corners is what we enjoy most about grilled cheese sandwiches. This dip, queso fundido, is about as delicious and indulgent as you can get.

It’s satisfying and rich, best enjoyed with the iciest of beers or handmade margaritas. And of course it’s excellent with raw vegetables, sourdough cubes, toasted pita, or even tucked into a warm flour tortilla and rolled up taquito-style.

Garlic, mushrooms, spinach and butter spend a few minutes in a sauté pan, and are then graced by shredded cheese before making their way to the oven for a few minutes. It really couldn’t be easier.

Queso Fundido
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup spinach, chopped rough and packed tight
3 tablespoons butter + ½ teaspoon for buttering the dish
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tortillas or chips, to serve

Heat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Put cheeses in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a skillet over medium high heat, melt butter and sauté the mushrooms until cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Pour over cheese, toss to mix.

Place cheese mixture into lightly buttered, oven-safe baking dish or low bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in heated oven and bake until bubbling and lightly browned on top, 10-12 minutes. Dig in.

Thanks to Matt Armendariz for this rockin’ dip recipe!

Jamie Oliver’s Spinach Goat Cheese Risotto

Another perfect vegetarian dinner option!

Ingredients:
1 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil + slightly more for serving
1 med white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 glass dry white wine
4 ounces goat cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or aged goat Gouda
5 oz spinach
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

Pinch of nutmeg

  1. In a pot, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium – high heat, and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the diced onion to the pot and cook until translucent, then add 1 clove chopped garlic and cook for a minute longer.
  2. Add rice to pot and let it toast a little in the pot for 1-2 minutes. Then add the cup of white wine.
  3. Once the wine is absorbed, start adding a cup of broth at a time. Continuously stir the rice so it doesn’t stick to the pot. After 2 cups of broth have been absorbed, keep checking the rice to see if it’s done. You might not need all of the broth.
  4. In a frying pan, melt the rest of the butter, add a tbsp of olive oil and the other clove of garlic. Then add the spinach and a pinch of nutmeg.
  5. Once the spinach is wilted, chop it really finely, or put it into a food processor.
  6. The rice should be done by now, so turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan and the spinach to the risotto. Cover and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
  7. Now, take about half of the goat cheese and stir it into the risotto.
  8. Serve in bowls or pasta bowls. Add a little coarse salt and a fresh grating of pepper. Crumble the remaining amount of goat cheese on top of the risotto and just a splash of olive oil.

Thanks to Cheese Plus Everything for the awesome picture!

Prosciutto with goat cheese and spinach

So simple, yet so delicious! Plain or herbed chevre (soft fresh goat cheese) cylinder wrapped with one or more paper-thin slices of prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham), broiled for a few minutes on each side and then nestled on a bed of freshly washed and cleaned baby spinach! Garnish with peach or mango nuggets, tomato wedges and walnut pieces, and drizzle a warm balsamic vinaigrette over the whole masterpiece. Scrumptious!

Thanks to 2 Steps Away from Paradise for the recipe!