Friday, February 03, 2006

Keeping the freezer stocked....

I like to keep a variety of muffins in the freezer so we can grab them and go whenever we need a quick snack. Muffins keep very well frozen and defrost fairly quickly by themselves, but if you warm them for a few seconds in the microwave, it is almost liked they were just baked.

I'm always looking out for or thinking about new or different ingredients for use in muffins and with today's recipe, Maple Sugar White Cornmeal muffins, we use a couple that I've not used in a muffin before. Maple Sugar is made from pure maple syrup, but is granulated like regular sugar. It has quite a unique and intense depth of flavor, but if you don't want to try and find it, you could always substitue brown sugar. I do think it is worth it as you can use it in cereals, teas, coffee or other baked goods. The muffins rose quite high and have a light, but hearty texture with a crunchy crown. The crunch on top comes from white cornmeal and maple sugar sprinkled on top before baking. I made them with no extra addins to see how the basic flavor would be, but I think they would be great with different chips, nuts, fruit or maybe even some crystallized ginger.

Back with another casserole type dish for dinner tonight, Mediterranean Spaghetti. Inside the layers of pasta is a meat sauce that is cooked down until thick with a couple surprise spices - cinnamon and nutmeg! It does not taste like cinnamon, but it brings another dimension of flavor. A creamy thick white sauce flavored with rich and salty feta is layered on top of the meat sauce to add a bit of moisture. On top of the final coat of sauce is a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and parmesan that gives a crisp golden brown crust. The dish is hearty, filling and very satisfying with enough leftovers for a great lunch.


  1. Wow, I think I have my next lunch bunch contribution. That spaghetti sounds really tasty. I've had and like Greek lasagna (forgot the name-it starts w/ a p?) and this looks like it has some of the same flavors.

  2. I love your Mediterranean Spaghetti! Wow. Cinnamon is fabulous with tomatoes.

    Beautiful blog!

  3. I am used to cook with nutmeg but cinnamon with tomatoes is a new match for me !!! I assume the only thing to do now is to taste it....

  4. I really like the sound of those muffins, Joe. And the pasta sounds delish.

  5. that sounds awesome! I love the spaghetti pie recipe and adore the flavor of cinnamon in Greek pasta dishes. I will definitely add this to the 'to try' pile.

  6. JJ - Not sure of the name, but i'll have to go search for it now!

    Karina - Thanks!

    Sab - Do try!

    Nic - Thanks.. I have to say I really like these. They are (kinda of...) like a doughnut in taste

    Christina - Thanks! Let me know if you give it a try!

  7. Joe--the name of the Greek lasagna I was thinking of is Pastitso. If you google it, you will find lots of recipes. Very similar indeed, though the CL version is of course lighter.

  8. Mmmm, both recipes look and sound yummy! I have to go through your recipes and figure out what I plan to make soon :)

    You're giving my cookbooks serious competition.

  9. JJ -Thanks! That will help!

    Teresa - Thanks!