This recipe is inspired by a recipe for pumpkin and feta muffins from an Australian self-published cookbook called Martha Goes Green. The original recipe looked tasty, but also like there was just a little too much going on. Like a mantlepiece that goes from being quirkily decorated to just cluttered. So, I decided to take out a few of the ingredients and tweak the techniques to streamline these muffins a bit. But, what is left is still a fireworks display of autumnal flavors and textures. —fiveandspice
medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Heat your oven to 425F. Toss the squash cubes with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven, stirring them up a couple of times, until they are tender through (easily pierced with a fork – I usually take one out, blow on it, and taste it to see if it’s done), and getting a little golden brown on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Turn the oven down to 405F. Grease a muffin tin well with oil or butter. In a large mixing bowl, stir together about two-thirds of the squash, the spinach, Parmesan, and ½ a cup of the Feta.
In a small bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, and mustard until well combined. Pour this into the bowl with the squash and spinach. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, nutmeg if using, and 1 tsp. salt onto the squash and wet ingredients mixture. Gently stir this all together until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan – it will fill the holes pretty generously. Sprinkle the tops of the batter-filled holes generously with freshly ground black pepper. Then, press the remaining feta crumbles and squash cubes gently into the tops of the batter.
ake for 20 minutes, until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into one comes out with no batter on it (it may come out with some melted feta on it, though!). Remove from the oven, allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of each muffin and gently use the knife to lift them out and on to a cooling rack. The muffins are delicious warm or cold, so don’t scruple to eat them whenever you please! They are a wonderful accompaniment to a hearty autumn soup or salad.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.