This beautiful breakfast pastry uses store-bought puff pastry as a shortcut. I loved the crushed dried blueberries sprinkled over the top.
I served this pastry as part of our Easter brunch along with my favorite brunch dish, Asparagus, Leek and Gruyere Quiche. We also had fruit and green salads, cheeses with crackers and warm bread, hummus with vegetables, nuts, and sliced kielbasa.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Anna Theoktisto. I modified the method and proportions. The combination of blueberries and lemon was bright and delicious.
The pastry is ideally served warm, but I made it a day in advance, refrigerated it overnight, and served it at room temperature. Still great. It could also be reheated prior to serving.
Yield: Two 5×12-inch Pastries (about 8 to 10 servings)
1 (18.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s)
all-purpose flour, for dusting
5.2 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
5 to 6 T blueberry preserves (I used Stonewall Kitchen)
scant 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 T water
2 T whole milk
2 T whole freeze-dried blueberries, crushed
Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest and juice with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed, gradually increasing mixer speed to medium-high, until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Measure 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture into a separate medium bowl; set aside for icing.
Unroll thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. (I used a pastry mat instead.) Cut pastry in half lengthwise; place 1 pastry half on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with second roll of pastry on second baking sheet.
Divide remaining cream cheese mixture in half. Spoon one ration of the mixture in a 1 1/2-inch-wide strip lengthwise down the middle of each pastry half on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a 1-inch border along short pastry edges.
Stir together preserves and cornstarch in a small bowl. Divide the mixture into fourths.
Spoon each ration of the preserves mixture evenly along the long edges of both cream cheese strips (about 1 1/2 tablespoons per side), leaving a 1-inch border on each long side.
Beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush border of topped pastry lightly with egg mixture; reserve remaining egg mixture.
Place remaining pastry half on top of filled pastry, pressing edges firmly to seal.
Chill until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. (I set my oven to true convection.)
Brush chilled pastry lightly with reserved egg mixture. Using a paring knife, cut 5 small (about 1-inch) slits on top of pastry.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and evenly puffed, 40 minutes on convection or up to 45 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let pastry cool 10 minutes.
Place freeze-dried blueberries in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Whisk milk into reserved 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture until smooth.
Drizzle icing over warm pastries, and sprinkle with crushed freeze-dried blueberries. Serve warm. (see Note)
Note: I waited for the pastries to cool to room temperature prior to drizzling with the icing. Once garnished, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. Pastry can be reheated or served at room temperature. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
This savory pie gobbled up all of the kale from my CSA box. Kale is more appetizing to my crowd when it’s paired with lots of salty cheese. 🙂 We ate it as a main course with sliced heirloom tomatoes and green salad on the side. It would be wonderful served for brunch or a special lunch too.
This recipe was adapted from The Washington Post, contributed by G. Daniela Galarza. I modified the method and incorporated my CSA purple kale and Toscano kale along with baby spinach. Swiss chard and/or collard greens could also be used in the filling.
The original recipe notes that sheep’s milk feta is traditional in spanakopita but any salty, crumbly or grated cheese such as cojita, chevre, extra-sharp white cheddar, paneer or pecorino would also work. The pie can also be made without the crust as a gluten-free option. Healthy and delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 bunch (about 4 ounces) scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
8 to 10 cups (about 10 ounces) baby spinach (whole) and/or other greens (I used stemmed purple and Toscano kale, sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces phyllo dough, about half a box, defrosted
1 bunch (about 1 heaping cup leaves) fresh dill or parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, whisked well
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. (I used a 14-inch stainless skillet.)
Add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 1 minute.
Add the spinach/greens and salt, and cook until the greens wilt, release their liquid, and dry out, about 5 minutes.
Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool while you prep the other ingredients and prepare the crust.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to true convection.)
Brush a 9-inch pie plate with olive oil or coat with cooking spray. (I used a ceramic deep dish pie plate.)
Crumble the feta in a medium bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, black pepper, and chopped herbs. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Unravel the phyllo dough onto a clean, dry work surface. (I cover the stack with damp paper towels, topped with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.)
Working quickly, gently brush the top sheet of phyllo with some olive oil. There’s no need to oil every spot; the oil will spread as you work. Pick up the first three or four sheets of phyllo in a stack and lay them, oil side up, in the pan, allowing one narrow end to cover the bottom of the pan and the other end to climb up the side of the pie plate and hang over the edge. (I layered the sheets one by one but would group them next time!)
Repeat, brushing the top of the remaining stack of phyllo sheets, and placing the next three or four sheets into the pan, oil side up. Continue oiling and fitting the oiled phyllo into the pie plate, rotating the pan so that the bottom is covered and a roughly even amount of phyllo is hanging over the circumference of the pie plate. This will not look perfect; if the phyllo tears, patch it and keep going. Set the pie plate aside.
Add the chopped herbs, breadcrumbs, feta and black pepper to the cooled spinach, stirring to combine.
Add the eggs, mixing well to combine.
Pour the filling into the phyllo-lined pie plate and, using your fingers, crinkle the phyllo overhang partially over the top of the pie, leaving a 5- to 6-inch diameter in the center exposed. The more crinkled the top is, the nicer it will look once baked, so don’t worry about making this look neat.
Lightly oil any dry spots of phyllo before baking, if needed.
Bake for 22 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the phyllo is deep brown in places, like the color of an almond skin. Serve hot or at room temperature.
I love a dish involving warm dressing and wilted greens. I am also in love with farro- and pesto. This full-flavored vegetarian dish was made for me! Loved it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yasmin Fahr. I used homemade pesto, Campari tomatoes, and several of the modifications and options that were suggested in the original recipe for ingredient substitutions.
It was incredible as a summer dish but could easily be served in any season with all of the possible variations. It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. The dish could also be topped with a protein such as grilled chicken, scallops, or shrimp, if desired. We ate it for dinner with roasted CSA vegetables and a green salad. It would also be lovely for a special lunch or brunch. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s “10 minute” Farro)
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pounds of Campari tomatoes (12-14 tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges keeping the root intact (I cut a large red onion into 8ths)(can substitute shallots)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup (4 T) store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste (recipe below)
2 packed cups baby spinach, arugula, Swiss chard (stemmed & chopped), or baby kale
1 (4 oz) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta, crumbled, optional (I used 4 oz crumbled feta)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, chiffonade or roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. (I used Trader Joe’s “10-minute” Farro which cooked in 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 20 to 30 minutes.
When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto.
Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach (or other greens). Set aside to cool slightly.
Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
Stir in the cheese.
The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. The amounts can be modified to reduce the volume; only 1/4 cup of pesto is used in the farro dish.
My husband absolutely loves the overnight buttermilk oat pancakes served at Main Road Biscuit Company on the North Fork of Long Island. We have tried a couple of versions to try to replicate them at home. Now I love them too! 🙂
This first version was adapted from Molly Wizenberg@Orangette.net, via Food52.com, contributed by Catherine Lamb. We used sea salt, butter instead of oil, and added vanilla extract as well as fresh strawberries and bananas. We ate them for breakfast on Mother’s Day as well as my husband’s birthday. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled (can substitute coconut oil or any oil of choice)
oil or non-stick spray for greasing the pan or griddle
fresh bananas and fresh or frozen strawberries, diced, optional
nuts or chocolate chips, optional
pure maple syrup, yogurt, berries, or bananas, for serving
The night before, mix the oats and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
If you’re feeling especially efficient, mix the dry ingredients in a smaller bowl and set aside on the counter. (a great plan!)
The next morning, take the oat mixture out of the fridge. If you haven’t already, mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk until incorporated.
Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter (or oil) to the oat mixture, stir together, then add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated, but be careful not to overmix. Batter will be very thick.
Grease a griddle or large pan with and set it over medium-high heat. When you flick water at the skillet and it sizzles, it’s ready.
Ladle the batter onto the hot pan (I used a 1/3 cup measure, but feel free to adjust if you want larger or smaller pancakes). If desired, sprinkle on sliced bananas, berries (fresh or frozen), nuts, or chocolate chips. (I mixed both diced bananas and strawberries into the batter prior to placing on the griddle.)
When the top of the batter bubbles, the edges begin to set, and the bottom is bronzed, flip pancakes. They’re done when the underside is done and they don’t squish when pressed lightly with your finger.
Serve with maple syrup or a dollop of yogurt and additional berries and/or banana slices, as desired.
This second version was also wonderful. It is Swedish in origin. The original recipe suggests serving them with lingonberry jam instead of maple syrup.
The recipe was adapted from the former Tres Joli Bakery Café in Oakton, Virginia, via Bon Appétit and epicurious.com. I added frozen blueberries to the batter and served them drizzled with maple syrup.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cooking oil spray or melted butter, for skillet or griddle
pure maple syrup or lingonberry preserves, for serving
fresh or frozen blueberries, optional
whipped cream, for serving, optional
Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk buttermilk, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl.
Add to dry ingredients; whisk until blended but some small lumps still remain.
Cover with plastic wrap and let batter stand to thicken, about 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 250°F. (or set a warming drawer to medium)
Heat heavy large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush skillet with melted butter or coat with cooking oil spray.
Fold fresh or frozen blueberries into the prepared batter, if desired. (I added 1 cup of frozen blueberries.)
Working in batches, ladle batter by 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls onto the pan. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 2 minutes. Turn pancakes over; cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Transfer cooked pancakes to a baking sheet or serving platter. Keep warm in oven or warming drawer.
Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with more butter or cooking spray, as necessary.
Serve with lingonberry preserves or syrup, topped with fresh blueberries and/or whipped cream, as desired.
Annually, we treat ourselves to Southern shrimp and grits over Easter weekend. This year, I served the special dish using purple “unicorn” grits from Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina. Festive!
This version was topped with a spicy and garlicky roasted poblano-jalapeño sauce which had a terrific balance with the rich, cheesy grits. The shrimp was also cooked in garlic oil. It was a great variation to try for the garlic and sauce lovers in my house. 🙂 The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Marc Meyer. I modified the method and proportions.
Yield: Serves 4
4 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup stone-ground white grits (I used stone-ground unicorn grits)
2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jalapeño chile
1 poblano chile
5 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, patted dry (I used 21-25 count per pound)
Place oven rack in the highest position and set to broil. Place the jalapeño and poblano chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until blackened all over, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the oven and wrap in the foil. Allow to steam and cool for 10 minutes, then rub off the skins. Stem and seed the chiles.
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Whisk in the grits and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the grits are tender and very thick, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I used about 1/2 tsp salt.) Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then keep warm.
In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened and very lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender. Add the chiles and the orange juice and puree until smooth. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and puree until creamy. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pat the shrimp dry and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic oil. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a very large skillet until very hot, about 2 minutes.
Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
To serve, spoon the grits into bowls and top with sauce and shrimp. Serve additional sauce at the table.
Happy Belated Easter! I made this elegant citrus twist bread for breakfast over Easter weekend. My daughter described it as similar to panettone but without the dried fruit. My son agreed but stated that this was much better. 🙂 It was very moist and tender.
This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Samantha Seneviratne. I used Meyer lemon zest and omitted the grapefruit zest. I also modified the method.
Because of the rise times, I prepared the dough through the first rise two days in advance and completed the second rise and baked it one day prior to serving. We ate it reheated- which was essential. The original recipe suggests sprinkling the top with confectioners’ sugar or drizzling it with glaze. I opted for the simple sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar but know it would also be delicious with the glaze. Lovely.
Yield: 8 servings
For the Dough:
1/3 cup warm whole milk (110°F) (I used whole milk)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten, at room temperature
4 tablespoons(1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
For the Filling and to Finish the Bread:
freshly grated orange zest from 3 to 4 oranges (about 3 tablespoons)
freshly grated zest from 3 Meyer lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
1 pinch kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
To Make the Dough:
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the warm milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, or a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, flour, and salt.
With the mixer on low, add the yeast mixture, the egg, and the egg yolk, and mix until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, knead this mixture by hand on a clean work surface.)
Add the butter, a bit at a time, and continue to mix or knead the dough until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth, another 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky. If you’re doing this by hand, you can use a bench scraper to help scoop the dough up as you knead it. It may look like it’s never going to incorporate, but keep kneading and it will.
Once the dough is fully incorporated, gather it into a neat ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. (I used a proofing oven.) After the dough has doubled, you can punch it down, wrap it well and refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days. (I refrigerated it overnight.)
To Make the Filling and to Finish the Bread:
In a small bowl, combine the citrus zest, sugar, and salt together using your fingers to release some of the citrus oils. Add the butter and mix until well combined. (I reserved the soft room-temperature butter and spread it over the rolled out dough instead.)
Tip the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it once or twice to expel the air. Roll it out into an 8-inch by 17-inch rectangle.
Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the bread.
Starting from one of the long ends, roll the dough up into a tight coil. Pinch the ends to seal the roll.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise.
Transfer the two pieces of dough to a piece of parchment paper, cut sides up. Pinch the two pieces together at one end and then carefully twist the two pieces of dough together. Take care not to stretch the dough and to keep the cut sides up.
Coil the twist around to make a wreath and connect the ends, making sure to continue the twisting pattern.
Transfer the wreath, on the parchment, to a rimmed baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise. (I used a proofing oven.) It could take up to 2 hours for the wreath to puff so it’s better to keep an eye on the dough rather than the clock. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks puffed and and it rises back slowly when you gently press it with your finger.
Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 375°F, preferably on convection.
Carefully brush the wreath with the egg wash.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, 18 minutes, on convection, or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bread should register between 190°F and 200°F.
Transfer the wreath to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
The twist bread can also be drizzled with a simple glaze of room temperature cream cheese mixed with some warm milk and confectioners’ sugar.
The bread can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
This is another dish with a crispy and delicious parmesan topping. Cheese makes everything better. 🙂 I loved that the base of the dish was an arugula salad. The crunchy roasted almond topping provided a nice contrasting texture too.
I cut the head of cauliflower through the center into two steaks and roasted the additional florets in a formation as close to a plank as well, for presentation purposes. Next time, I may change the orientation of the cauliflower to keep the florets attached to the core.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used French green lentils, added red pepper flakes, and modified the cooking and serving methods. It was a lovely, fresh and healthy light meal. We ate it for dinner, but it would also be wonderful served for a special lunch, of course. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4
3 cups of cored and chopped tomatoes, about 3 beefsteak tomatoes (I used 2 beefsteak and 3 romas)
2 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove for cooking the lentils, if desired
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut through the core into 1-inch planks
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French green lentils)
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (3/4 cup)
1 bunch arugula, trimmed (I used about 4 oz wild baby arugula)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
toasted almonds, chopped, for serving (I used sliced almonds)
Cook the lentils: Place 3/4 to 1 cup of dried lentils with a large smashed (but intact) garlic clove, optional, in a pot covered by 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. (You will have leftover cooked lentils.)
Toast the almonds: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread almonds in an even layer on a rimmed quarter sheet pan. Toast the almonds, stirring once or twice, about 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 475°F, with a rack placed in the center and another rack in top position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, capers, large pinch of red pepper flakes, if using, and 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
Place cauliflower planks on a rimmed baking sheet.
Brush cauliflower evenly with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast until undersides are golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, flip the cauliflower and push to one side.
Add tomato mixture to other side of the pan.
Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees; roast 12 minutes more.
Stir 1 1/2 cups drained lentils into tomato mixture. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle everything with cheese.
Switch oven setting to broil, and broil on top rack until cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
Serve the roasted cauliflower planks over lentils and arugula salad, sprinkled with toasted almonds.