1. LEMON CHEESECAKE MOUSSE
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers (6 full sheets)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp salted butter, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
Yellow food coloring (optional)
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 jar lemon curd
Sweetened whipped cream, lemon wedges, blueberries and mint for garnish (optional)
In a mixing bowl whisk together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Pour in butter and stir until evenly moistened. Divide mixture among 8 - 10 dessert cups and lightly press into an even layer, set aside.
Pour lemon juice and water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over top, let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Add in 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar, tint with yellow food coloring if desired and whip until stiff (but not lumpy) peaks form (shake cream from beaters, no need to clean). In a separate large mixing bowl whip cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix lemon curd and remaining 2/3 cup powdered sugar into cream cheese mixture.
Heat rested gelatin mixture in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Whisk for 1 minute to thoroughly dissolve gelatin, then let cool 3 minutes (no longer or it may start to set then you could end up with little lumps in the mousse). While mixing cream cheese mixture with hand mixer, slowly pour in gelatin mixture then blend until thoroughly combined. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture to lighten, then add remaining whipped cream and gently fold until combined. Spoon or pipe mixture into dessert cups over graham cracker layer. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or up to 1 day ahead if desired) to set. Garnish as desired. Serve cold.
2. STRAWBERRY BASIL BRUSCHETTA
1 French baguette, sliced
½ cup Greek yogurt
1½ cups sliced strawberries
½ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup Balsamic vinegar
about a handful of almond slivers
freshly ground black pepper
Pour the vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until vinegar thickens so that it's close to a honey consistency. Let cool.
Bake the French baguette slices until toasted. I actually placed mine under the broiler for about a minute on both sides, make sure you don't burn them.
Spread some yogurt over each slice, then top with strawberries and chopped basil. Drizzle a bit of the balsamic reduction over each slice and top with slivered almonds for a bit of crunch. Finish of with some freshly ground black pepper.
3. BERRIES AND FETA SALAD
For the Salad
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 cups mixed greens (or romaine lettuce)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese
For the Dressing
1 T. flavorless oil
1 T. honey
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine all of the salad ingredients.
In a small bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
Top the salad with the dressing or serve on the side.
4. CHEESE AND BLUEBERRY BLINTZES WITH BLUEBERRY PRESERVE SYRUP
Wild Blueberry Syrup:
½ cup blueberry preserves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing pan
1 cup whole or 2% milk
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk ricotta (or cottage cheese)
½ cup mascarpone or softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons blueberry preserves
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
Make the Blueberry Syrup: Add preserves, zest and blueberries to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until blueberries soften, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and set aside.
Make crêpe batter: Combine crêpe ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed for 15 seconds, until the batter is smooth and lump-free (you can also do this with a whisk). Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour to let it rest. (Letting the batter rest gives the crêpes a better, softer texture).
Cook crêpes: Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. Once heated, brush pan lightly with melted butter or oil. If batter has gotten too thick to pour easily while in the fridge, you can add an additional tablespoon or two of milk or water to thin it. Pour a scant ⅓ cup batter into pan, just enough that it coats the bottom in an even layer when you swirl it around. Let cook, undisturbed, until the crêpe becomes a pale golden color underneath or at the edges. (It will brown more later)
Flip and cook on the other side for another 20-30 seconds, then slide onto a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the skillet very lightly with additional oil or butter as needed. You can stack the crêpes on top of each other even when they’re hot, they won’t stick together.
Make filling and fill wrappers: In a medium bowl, whisk all filling ingredients together until smooth. Spoon ¼ cup of the filling along the lower third of the crepe, leaving an inch on either side free. Fold the bottom edge over to just cover the filling; then fold the 2 sides in to the center. Roll the crepe again to make a package, ending with the seam side down, forming a burrito-shape.
Crisp the blintzes: Heat a little butter over medium heat in a skillet until it stops foaming. Add blintzes to pan seam-side down (don’t crowd pan, cook in batches) and fry blintz until golden brown. Gently flip and brown the other side. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with Wild Blueberry Syrup and fresh blueberries, if desired.