Spring is in the Air! And I am Celebrating All Things Green

I always looked forward to our Saturdays growing up in my parent’s home. My mother worked full time and with the hustle and bustle of every day life; mornings were usually a rush affair. Saturday’s my mom would make us something special whether it was breakfast or lunch. Therefore, Saturday’s in my mind evoke similar nostalgic memories which most Westerners consider Sunday Supper.

One tradition I am proud to say I have diligently carried in my own kitchen. Fridays, I typically bake a treat just in time for my kids return from school. Also, since I fast every Friday, I have another incentive to create a lavish brunch where our family and friend’s can relax, mingle, and catch up over comfort food, espresso, and cocktails.

Spring time alludes to the return of fresh ingredients, flavors, and bursts of color. With memories of winter fading; fresh greens, flowers, and buds begin pushing their way towards regeneration. Green peas, avocados, and asparagus are at their peaks. Plum berries, ripe pineapple, apricots, and rhubarb dominate the grocery shelves.

For me personally, Spring is when life’s alive in everything. It’s a fresh start to the what we most often take for granted “Life”. My favorite poem The Daffodils by William Wordsworth crosses the mind.

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

The theme for this week’s family time Brunch or Sunday Supper is Spring; with a few dishes paying homage to St. Patrick’s Day. The menu:

Freshly Baked French Bread
Peas and Garbanzo Beans Hummus
Candied Bacon
Green Eggs and Ham
Spring Fruits and Yogurt Parfait
Mint Lassi
Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Coffee Meringue Buttercream

Cheers to Spring and everything bountiful and green!

Spring Fruits and Yogurt Parfait 

Use any combination of fruits, granola, and yogurt. I used mangoes, grapes, kiwis, natural granola, and vanilla yogurt in keeping with the Green Spring Theme. Also, they are the colors of the Irish Flag (yellow, white, and green).

 Mint Lassi

Traditional lassi is a savory power-packed probiotic beverage flavored with ground roasted cumin while sweet lassi on the other hand is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices. I made both sweet and salty. Savory with mint for the adults and mango flavored for my kids.

French Style Bread

Hummus with Fresh Green Peas

A refreshing and colorful snack or appetizer. Adding peas and lemon adds a fresh twist to this typical bland dish.

1 1/2 cups fresh shelled green peas or frozen petite peas
1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 whole green onions with stems
1 lemon juiced
2 teaspoons ground cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls olive oil
1 jalapeno (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients till smooth puree.
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Serve with choice of cracker or bread.

Green Eggs with Ham, Avocado Salsa, and Jalapeno Oil

 

 

Chocolate & Porter Beer Cupcakes with Coffee Meringue Buttercream

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

I have had my eye on this recipe by Raspberry Eggplant for a while. St Patrick’s day celebration is the ideal day for these luscious treats. Here is my adaption:

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon good quality cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee porter beer
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

For the frosting

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly colder than room temperature
  • Green color Gel

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.  Line a muffin pan with papers and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, milk, beer, oil, vinegar, coffee, and vanilla and whisk well to combine.  Scrape this mixture into the bowl containing the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Divide the batter between the lined cups and bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean, 14-16 minutes for minis.

Make the frosting

  1. Follow my directions for swiss meringue buttercream frosting using the ingredients for frosting specified above. Fold in the green gel.

Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake.
Buon Appetito!!

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