Here’s a trio of recipes to serve together for a meal or separately when you need a snack. These are the kinds of ideas that are handy to have in the back pocket of your brain to trot out when needed. Whether you’re looking for a snack for a Netflix evening, last-minute guests on a random Sunday afternoon, or a planned patio party, they can all be quickly and easily incorporated into the menu with little cost and hassle.
Casual bruschetta meals are popular with my granddaughters, and this combination of artichokes, peas, spring onions and mint doesn’t just speak of spring, but is a nice change from the more pedestrian pesto/tomato/mozzarella slices. I encourage you to dig into the pantry and fridge and see what flavor combinations you can come up with. You can surprise yourself!
Chopped salad with a Greek vinaigrette is my favorite supper on warm evenings after my weekly yard work. If you prefer, you can add a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas to give your meal a protein boost. This is also a great multi-lunch recipe—just wait with the dressing until you’re ready to eat it.
After eating a salad, you may feel like you deserve a sweet. A little more decadent than a muffin, these pound cakes are simply delicious with a cup of Earl Gray tea.
Please don’t hate me for using a large amount of butter and cream – sometimes I just can’t help it. The salad and a beautiful spring walk in nature balance everything!
Artichoke & Peas Bruschetta
6 thick slices of a round country bread
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 (6 1/2-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3 ounces sliced prosciutto, julienned
1 small red onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
2 spring onions (green part only), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the grill and arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast them on both sides until golden brown and place on a wire rack to cool.
Slice the artichokes lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Cook artichokes, prosciutto, and red onion in 3 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until artichokes and onions are caramelized.
Add peas and cook, stirring until tender, about 2 minutes, then mash lightly with a fork. Stir in the spring onions, mint and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture over the toasts. Drizzle with the remaining oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 slices
Chopped Greek Salad
2 medium heads (10 ounces) romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, sliced
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
6 ounces feta cheese, cubed
Toss all ingredients in a large serving bowl. Just before serving, pour in the vinaigrette and toss. Yield: 4 meal-sized servings
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and whisk until blended. Taste and add more vinegar if you want a tangier dressing or more sweetener for a tamer dressing.
Mini Blueberry Coconut Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons whipped cream
1 cup flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
3/4 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 9 (1/2 cup) muffin tins.
Shake blueberries together with 1 teaspoon of flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake; put aside. Beat butter, sugar and grater together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in cream, then 1 cup flour and salt, on low speed until just blended. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut and gently stir in the floured blueberries.
Spoon the batter into cups and smooth tops. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 3 tablespoons coconut and a little sugar.
Bake in the center of the oven until a tester comes out clean and edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and let cool. Yield: 9 cakes