Buttery and loaded with berries and coconut, these individual pound cakes say, “Spring!” Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Here we have a threesome 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 for trotting out as needed. Whether you’re looking for a munchie for a Netflix night, last-minute guests on a random Sunday afternoon or a planned patio party, these can all be worked into the menu quickly and easily with very little expense and fuss.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net.

Casual meals featuring bruschetta are popular with my granddaughters, and this combination of artichokes, peas, scallions and mint not only speaks of spring, but is a nice change from the more pedestrian pesto/tomato/mozzarella slices. I encourage you to delve into the pantry and fridge and see what flavor combos you can come up. You may surprise yourself!

Chopped salad with a Greek vinaigrette is my go-to supper on warm nights after my weekly yard work. If you’d like, add a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas to give your meal a protein punch. This is also a big recipe for multiple lunches – just hold off on the dressing until you’re ready to eat it.

After gorging on salad, you may feel that you deserve a sweet. A bit more decadent than a muffin, these pound cakes are simply lovely with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

Please don’t hate me when I use an abundant amount of butter and cream – sometimes I just can’t help myself. The salad and a beautiful spring walk in nature will balance everything out!

Artichoke & Pea Bruschetta

6 thick slices from a round country bread loaf
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 (6 1/2-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3 ounces of sliced prosciutto, julienned
1 small red onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
2 scallions (green part only), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan, shaved
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat broiler and arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden brown on both sides and transfer to a rack to cool.

Cut 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 high heat, stirring, until artichokes and onions are caramelized.

Add peas and cook, stirring until tender, about 2 minutes, then mash slightly with a fork. Stir in scallions, mint and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture over toasts. Drizzle with remaining oil and top with Parmesan. Yield: 6 slices

Chopped Greek Salad

2 medium heads (10 ounces)  romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, 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. Pour in vinaigrette just before serving and toss. Yield: 4 meal-sized servings



1/2 cup  olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
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’d like a tangier dressing or more sweetener for a tamer dressing.

Mini Blueberry Coconut Pound Cakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons flaked coconut
3/4 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 9 (1/2-cup) muffin cups.

Shake blueberries together with 1 teaspoon flour so they won’t sink to the bottom of the cakes; set aside. Beat together butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in cream, then 1 cup flour and salt, on low speed until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut and gently stir in flour-coated blueberries.

Spoon batter into cups and smooth tops. Sprinkle tops with remaining 3 tablespoons coconut and a bit of sugar.

Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean and edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Invert onto a rack and cool. Yield: 9 cakes

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