A SPRING SPREAD

Are you ready for this? It’s a dinner spread fit for a king. And probably nothing that I’m capable of making all at one time. I mean what’s “mascarpone cheese” or a “fennel frond”?! But what I’ve learned from Alexandra and Sarah (and my Mother!) is that “food is art.” The phyllo nests paired with a little peep is genius. Don’t you just smile when looking at it?! Hello, spring!… and lavender-infused honey drizzled over fresh raspberries… ohmygoodness it looks SO good! Thank you for sharing, Alexandra and Sarah!

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Collage

Hey, guys. It’s Alexandra and I’m back with a fresh Spring Time Brunch menu. This year for Easter, we were lucky to be able to spend it with good friends, since we don’t have family close by. Sarah and I came up with a bright menu; and everything turned out delicious. Enjoy!

CompletePlate

MENU

Cocktail
Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Appetizer
Creamy Beet and Tahini Dip with Pita
Cucumbers with Creamy Herbed Yogurt

Main Course
Eggs in Cocotte
Fennel and Smoked Salmon
Mixed Greens Salad with an Herb Vinaigrette
Croissants

Dessert
Phyllo Nests with Raspberries and Honey

Cocktail

ELDERFLOWER CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL (recipe adapted from The Kitchn)
INGREDIENTS
1 (750 ml) bottle Brut champagne or dry sparkling wine, chilled
1 cup of elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain
1 (12 oz) can of club soda or seltzer water, chilled
1 cup sliced strawberries

RECIPE (serves 4)
In a large pitcher, combine all of the ingredients and stir. Add ice. Pour into glasses filled with ice and scoop a few strawberries into each glass.

BeetDip

CREAMY BEET and TAHINI DIP with PITA (recipe adapted from The Kitchn)
INGREDIENTS
3 medium beets (3/4 pound), washed and trimmed
2 small garlic cloves, quartered
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly-ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
pita or crackers, to serve

RECIPE (serves 8)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the beets on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil and fold the edges over to create a pouch. (The beets should be completely enclosed in foil.) Lay pouch on top of a baking sheet to avoid any dripping onto the bottom of the oven and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool. I did this a day in advance.

Once cool, slough away the beet skins with your fingers (or a paper towel) and discard. Cut beets into wedges and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper and process until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Scoop into a small serving bowl. Drizzle a spoonful or two of olive oil over the top of the dip if desired. Serve with pita, crackers or wedges of crusty bread. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

CucumberDip

CUCUMBERS with CREAMY HERBED YOGURT DIP (recipe adapted from The Kitchn)
INGREDIENTS
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp minced green onion, white and light green parts only
3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tsp tarragon or sherry vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cucumbers

RECIPE (serves 8)
In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite fresh vegetables, pita bread, chips or crackers. Cover and refrigerate leftovers and enjoy within 3 to 4 days.

Egg

EGGS in COCOTTE (recipe adapted from Edible)
INGREDIENTS
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 slices pancetta, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup of finely chopped shallot
3 cups packed greens, such as mustard greens
6 eggs
6 tsp cream
3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
freshly cracked black pepper

RECIPE (serves 6)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Select 6 small ramekins, approximately 10 ounces, and butter it thoroughly, Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a hot saute pan and add the pancetta strips. Cook until they are nicely browned, as you would cook bacon. The pancetta is very thin and can easily burn so take care. Remove the cooked pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.

In the drippings, saute the shallot until softened and then add the greens, allowing them to wilt. This should take no more than 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the pancetta back to the pan and stir to combine the ingredients. Place the greens/ pancetta mixture in the bottom of the ramekin and press into the bottom. Break 2 eggs into the ramekin on top of the greens. Pour the cream over the eggs and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Season with pepper.

Place the ramekin on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, depending on your preference as to the doneness of the yolks. Serve immediately with buttered toast.

Salmon

FENNEL and SMOKED SALMON (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)
INGREDIENTS
1 fennel bulb (about 8 oz), thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cup fennel fronds
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 4 tspn lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
16 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

RECIPE (serves 6)
In a medium bowl, toss fennel and fronds with lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. Lay salmon on a serving plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with fennel mixture, and drizzle with oil.

Salad

MIXED GREENS SALAD with an HERB VINAIGRETTE
Herb Vinaigrette INGREDIENTS
basil
parsley
cilantro
dried oregano
salt
pepper
1 garlic clove
olive oil
tarragon vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

Salad INGREDIENTS
mixed greens
2 cups cherry tomatoes
6 radishes, sliced
tamari pumpkin seeds
goat cheese
cilantro, chopped
parsley, chopped
1 avocados, diced

RECIPE (serves 4)
To make the dressing, combine everything in a food processor and add olive oil while running. Process until completely smooth. As far as measurements, use your own judgement and taste as you go. You can really use any herbs, so use your favorites. To make the salad, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix dressing in.

Nest

BirdNest

PHYLLO NESTS with RASPBERRIES and HONEY (recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is and Martha Stewart)
INGREDIENTS
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for tin (you can also use melted ghee, which Sarah said worked better than butter)
8 oz (1/2 pkg) kataifi, thawed
4 tsp sugar

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
6 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

RECIPE (serves 4)
For the Phyllo nests, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 12-cup muffin tin with butter. Pull phyllo into 1-inch thick bundles; cut bundles into 2-inch lengths. Place in a bowl; separate into a loose pile with fingers. Toss with butter and sugar. Squeeze any excess butter out of the kataifi before dividing it among the 12 muffin cups; press into bottom and up sides. If there is too much liquid they won’t brown and hold their shape. Cook until golden and crisp around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.

For the creamy filling, in a large bowl, beat mascarpone and goat cheese until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides when needed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the condensed milk and then the coconut milk, continuing to scrape down the sides until the mixture is very smooth. Add in extracts and stir. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, until firm.

Add the creamy filling to the phyllo nests. Top with raspberries and a drizzle of lavender infused honey.

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Remember, kids, if you want to check out more scrumptiousΒ meals, head on over to Alexandra’s Savory Kitchen!Β Her St. Patrick’s Day FeastΒ looks pretty edible as well. I guess. I mean if you like mouthwatering meals of brisket and mash… yes please!

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