festive challah 2

Breads Bakery, just off Union Square in NYC, was included in the not-to-miss list of best French bakeries in NYC posted on Eater in July.

But wait! Is Breads Bakery French? Israeli? Danish?


Master baker Uri Scheft was born to Danish parents in Israel, where he grow up. His training and travels took him to Europe where he learned traditional baking techniques and brought them back to Tel Aviv where he had been running LeHamim (bakery and cafe) since 2001. Lucky for New Yorkers, he has been baking sweets at Breads since January of 2013.

Breads immediately gathered a flock of fans who follow the sweet trail down E. 16th St. to enter a pleasure den of irresistible aromas of butter, chocolate, nuts and cheese, oh my!

cheese straws 2

Chocolate babke oozing with Nutella and dark chocolate chips, fruity and fragrant croissants and magnificent baguettes, 100 % rye breads, fig and walnut loaves, flaky cheese sticks are baked throughout the day where racks of rising dough and industrial size mixers are visible just 50 feet from the counter. Unlike most bakeries, Breads bakes throughout the day, guranteeing the freshest, most delectable treats I’ve tasted in a long, long while.


With a cafe menu that suits vegetarians and healthy eaters, the sandwiches are reasonable priced and include Middle Eastern favorites like Tunisian, Sabich and Baba Ganoush.

Students, residents and tourists wander from the greenmarket and nearby classrooms for their strong coffee fix, salads and treats through out the day.Counters in the front and a smattering of tables encourage noshers to stay a while.

I dare you to not have dessert even if you’ve started off with one of their healthy salads of super fresh greens topped with quinoa, chickpeas or tuna salad.


Baked delicacies shift with the seasons (fruity fillings of apples and pears come from the greenmarket, as do veggies for the buttery quiches) and the holidays (I was BLOWN AWAY by a generous gift of hamantaschen delivered by a friend last Purim).

Naturally, Rosh HaShanah treats include plenty of apples and honey. The challenge is choosing between Apple Galette, Safta Cake (Safta= grandmother in Hebrew) moistened with honey and dotted with cubes of apple, pareve (non-dairy) honey cake or Apple Babke.

chocolate babka 1

Did I mention the chocolate babke? 

In case you can’t get to Breads on time for the holiday, consider baking Uri Scheft’s challah. Want some help with braiding instructions? Click here.

Just be sure to add a stop at Breads next time your in the neighborhood. There is NO WAY you will leave empty handed.

Breads Bakery is at 18 East 16th Street, NYC

Hours: M-F 6:30-9 PM; Sat. 6:30-8 PM and Sun. 7:30-8 PM.

Phone: 212-633-2253

Note: Breads Baker is not a kosher bakery. Their menu is vegetarian with some fish items (no shellfish). There are some non-dairy baked goods available. It is the perfect spot for anyone kosher like me.

Breads Bakery offers baking classes although none are scheduled at this time. They will schedule a class for groups upon request.

Anyone want to join me for a baking class at Breads? Leave a comment below and we’ll try to schedule one. Let’s do it!

Thank you, Breads Bakery, for sharing this recipe and all photos.

Breads Bakery Challah

3 challot

Breads Bakery Challah

This recipe was generously shared by Master baker, Uri Scheft, Breads Bakery in NYC.

For non-dairy challah, chose sunflower or corn oil from the ingredient list.

To create round challah, simply follow the instructions for braiding and coil into a circle, pinching dough to close the circle.


    Ingredients for Dough:
  • 6 cups (800 grams) sifted white wheat flour
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sunflower seed oil, corn oil or melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (320 grams) water
  • 6 tbsp (80 grams) sugar
  • 3 tbsp 30 grams) fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp (12 grams) salt
  • Ingredients for Glazing:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame, poppy, pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds- chose any or all


    Dough Preparation (approximately 15 minutes)
  1. Pour water into kneading bowl and crumble yeast into the water
  2. Add these ingredients in following order: flour, eggs, sugar, salt, oil
  3. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed for 4 minutes to combine ingredients
  4. Increase to medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes until a soft, smooth dough is formed
  5. Remove dough to a slightly floured work surface, and roll into a ball
  6. Proofing (approximately 75 minutes)
  7. Place ball of dough in a lightly floured bowl
  8. Cover bowl with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost double in volume
  9. Divide dough (using a knife) into 3 equal parts, and divide each part into 3.
  10. Roll each part into a 25 cm-long cylinder
  11. Braid each three cylinders
  12. Place the three braided Challahs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  13. Cover the Challahs with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 35 minutes
  14. With 15 minutes left until proofing is complete, preheat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit
  15. Once the Challahs have doubled in volume, gently brush the Challah with beaten egg and generously sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds
  16. Baking (approximately 25 minutes)
  17. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until golden-brown
  18. Remove from oven and cool on rack






photo: Glenn Scott

photo: Glenn Scott

Chances are great that you will be serving chicken for one of your holiday meal over the next few weeks. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want it to be a super easy dish to throw together.

We all know that honey is a  key ingredient as we wish all friends and family a SWEET New Year on Rosh HaShanah. The trick, though, is balancing those sweet flavors with enough citrus and herbs so it appeals to those who prefer more savory dishes.

Ronnie Fein, blogger at Kitchen Vignettes and author of Hip Kosher, makes it easy to serve a crowd with this sweet and savory recipe. She balances the honey with citrus and a bit of heat from fresh ginger and sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I am planning on serving this dish to my crowd!

book cover

book cover

Watch for news about Ronnie’s soon to be released book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen (Fairwinds Press). If you love Hip Kosher you’re sure to love this one, too. If you’d like to pre-order it you can do that here.

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Citrus & Honey

4 servings

This easy chicken recipe is perfect for Rosh HaShanah, with it's golden honey glaze balanced with citrus and spices. When you're juggling a lot of other dishes in your kitchen, this is a great recipe to turn to.

Thank you, Ronnie Fein, for your recipe.

This recipe is MEAT.


  • 4 large half bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Rinse and dry the chicken pieces.
  2. In a bowl combine the vegetable oil, parsley, orange peel, lime peel, ginger, scallions, garlic, thyme, honey, and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat the pieces with the mixture. Let marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Place the chicken in a baking pan, skin side down. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Turn the chicken pieces.
  7. Continue to bake for about 30 minutes basting occasionally with the pan juices or until cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part will read 160 degrees.)


Originally Posted in “Roasted Chicken with Honey & Citrus



Contributed by Katy Morris

Pomegranates are kind of like the queens of fall.

Not only are they robed in ruby red, filled with jewel-like arils, beautified with a crown-like head and reputed to be high-maintenance to handle, they have been highly prized for centuries by royals, religious icons and spiritual leaders.  They often grace the Rosh HaShanah table as symbols of righteousness and virtue.  For this month’s Seasonal Snippet, and in anticipation of the  Jewish New Year, we’re focusing on the sweet, succulent and extremely healthy secrets of the pomegranate.


Why is it so highly revered?


Featured in historic heraldry, religious scriptures, mythology and even momentous works of art, pomegranates are amongst the world’s most ancient foods. It was widely believed that each pomegranate contains 613 seeds, one for each mitzvah, which is one reason we ritually eat pomegranates as the “new fruits” on Rosh Hashanah.

Nowadays, nutritionists and healthy eaters seek out their powerful antioxidant content, but this is actually pretty old news. Ancient natural healers utilized their impressive health benefits for medicinal purposes and that practice continues today. Their healing strengths include protection from the sun, cell regeneration, free radical elimination, inflammation reduction and much more.


Where do they grow?


Even though New England is not their preferred climate, we locavores don’t need to worry too much because pomegranates’ tough, leathery skin makes them worthy travelers. Much like figs and olives, pomegranates thrive in dry, hot environments like the Mediterranean but are now grown throughout the world; in fact, they originated in Persia (modern day Iran) . I actually have some growing in my front yard in Guatemala!


What should I look for when buying?


You always want fresh, ripe pomegranates that will taste juicy and sweet. Look for fruit with smooth, glossy surfaces free of blemishes (fit for a queen, if you will) that exude that famously red blush. They should feel heavy for their weight, which indicates the inner juiciness.


How can I seed them without wearing them?


Great question. Now, we are all guilty of creating a bit of a mess when trying to extract the delicious, nutritionally potent seeds of a pomegranate, but it really isn’t as hard as it may seem (do be careful though – pomegranates can stain!).  There are several techniques out there, but here is what we recommend.


First, grab a wide bowl (optional: fill it with water as some prefer to deseed while the fruit is submerged) and a sharp pairing knife. Cut off the very end so it can easily stabilize on a flat surface. With your sharp knife, slit the pomegranate’s thick skin into sixths or fourths and then at an angle, cut out the tail or crown looking top. From there simply break it apart and peel off the skin to expose the milky white membrane enclosing the arils. Try to turn the pieces inside out and nudge the seed-enclosed arils into the bowl. A medium-sized pomegranate should yield about a cup.


Note that the seeds are carried in arils – those are the red coverings around the seeds. Many people think the arils are the seeds, but this is a misconception. Both are completely edible and healthy, but some prefer just the juicy aril taste and not the crunch of the white seed – it’s purely a matter of preference. If you want to make juice, all you have to do is strike the arils in a bowl with a flat wooden spoon and the juice should come out easily.



What’s the best way to store them?


Left whole, pomegranates are fine to leave on the counter at room temperature where they will be fine for up to two to three weeks. If you want to refrigerate them, that will extend their freshness for at least a month. If they give off a moldy smell or appear bruised and weakened, they have probably gone bad. Seeds can be stored in a tightly zipped bag for up to five or six months.



Pairing tips?


Pomegranates are super versatile and can be used in everything from smoothies, wine and beer to salads, desserts and savory chicken dishes. Einat Admony (Balaboosta, Taim and Bar Bolonat, all in NYC, provided this recipe for Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranates- perfect for Rosh HaShanah).

Keep scrolling to check out more great pomegranate recipes.




Originally Posted in “Seasonal Snippet: All About Pomegranates
Photo: Shulie Madnick

Photo: Shulie Madnick

When I felt a little short on pomegranate recipes in this season of honey, apples and these seedy beauties, I turned to Shulie Madnick, food writer, blogger and photographer extraordinaire. I knew that she would have something big on unexpected flavor combinations and connected to the upcoming holiday of Rosh HaShanah in some way.

How generous is she to share these gorgeous images with me? I KNOW!!

photo: Shulie Madnick

photo: Shulie Madnick

Here’s a great appetizer to serve before your Rosh HaShanah meal. You’ll kick off your celebration by including these juicy sweet pomegranate seeds that we love to include in as many ways as possible. To learn why, click on this week’s Seasonal Snippet.

Click here for Shulie’s adaptation of Ottolenghi’s twist on Baba Ganoush. Yes, friends, this is how food bloggers become virtual friends and share. I feel lucky, indeed.

All photos and recipe belong to Shulie Madnick and are copyrighted and used with permission from Shulie Madnick at Food Wanderings.





Corn Salad- Rabbit's Garden (1)

It’s that time of year when effortless cooking reigns supreme.

Between back to school meetings and trying to adjust to the busier rhythms of Autumn, simple is what we need now. Just be sure to jump on this easy Corn Salad before those pyramids of golden ears disappear from your local market.

Consider throwing this salad together as the perfect non-dairy side for just about any dish. Or toss some diced cheese into the bowl for an easy lunch break. It would pair beautifully with last week’s tomato soup for a perfectly paired vegetarian dinner, too.

Thank you Alison Richman and Tonya Monti, Rabbit’s Garden in Aspen, for this perfect seasonal inspiration. Want to know more about having Rabbit’s Garden cook for you while you’re in Aspen? Check out what I wrote about them here.

Grilled Corn Salad with Jicama

6-8 servings

Grilled Corn Salad with Jicama

This easy salad highlights the best of late summer's ripe tomatoes and sweet, crisp corn.

This recipe was shared by Alison Richman and Tonya Monti, Rabbit's Garden, Aspen.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy) and vegan.


  • 4 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 large jicama-diced
  • 8-10 leaves each of fresh cilantro, basil, mint- chopped
  • 1 lime-juiced
  • 3-4 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes- halved
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grill corn for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Shear corn off the cob and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add diced jicama, sliced cherry tomatoes, and chopped herbs to corn.
  4. Add lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss and adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve at room temperature.

Originally Posted in “Early Autumn Corn Salad with Jicama


Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering 

While many people associate September with back to school, we like to think of September as bumper crop season.  Here’s one of our all-time favorite recipes for one of our all-time favorite veggies!  We’re sure this will become one of your new go-to dishes.


Sizzling Zucchini Matchsticks

6-8 servings

Sizzling Zucchini Matchsticks

This super simple recipe lends another idea to those who still love zucchini after a long summer of enjoying them every way we can think of!

This recipe is dairy. Leave off the shaved cheese to make it pareve (non-dairy) and vegan.


  • 4 small zucchini, cut into very thin matchsticks
  • 1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • ½ C. sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/3 lb. shaved Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt, ½ tsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/3 C. fresh basil *


  1. Heat the EVOO in a frying pan over medium high heat, until it begins to shimmer.
  2. Add the garlic and stir quickly.
  3. Add the zucchini match sticks and flash-fry for 5 minutes, making sure not to overcook.
  4. Toss in the toasted almonds.
  5. Remove from the heat and add salt, pepper and basil *chiffonade.
  6. Arrange on a platter and top with Pecorino Romano shreds (optional).
  7. Serve immediately.


* stack basil leaves, roll them tightly and then slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll. (will become long thin shreds)


Originally Posted in “Sizzling Zucchini Matchsticks
image courtesy of Prime Grill and Pelican Publishing Company

image courtesy of Prime Grill and Pelican Publishing Company

I’ve always been pleased to see so many non-meat alternatives for vegetarians dining at Prime Grill in NYC.

Chef David Kolotkin is as creative with apps and salads as he is with beef entrees. And with a fish section including rich entrees, like Teriyaki Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Cauliflower Curry Puree and  Red Snapper en Papillote, there’s really something for everyone at Prime.

My favorite fish dish nods subtly to Middle Eastern ingredients in this recipe for Falafel Crusted Salmon. I love the way Kolotkin takes advantage of the nutty texture of chickpeas here.  Combining pulverized legumes with a bit of panko breadcrumbs guarantees a crunchy crust on these quickly seared, moist fillets.

Looking for new ideas for your holiday cooking?

Don’t forget to enter the Prime Grill Cookbook give-away! Scroll down to find the deets and be sure to leave a comment at the end of that post.

Falafel Crusted Salmon

4 servings

From The Prime Grill Cookbook by Joey Allaham and Chef David Kolotkin

Special equipment: parchment paper

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy)


  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4, 7-oz. salmon filets
  • 3 tbsp. extra-light olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, place the chickpeas, cilantro, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, jalapeno, panko, cumin, and egg.
  3. Combine until the mixture is finely chopped and well mixed.
  4. On a clean sheet pan, place a sheet of parchment paper and place the mixture on top.
  5. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and role the mixture using a rolling pin, so that the mixture is tightly packed about 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Gently place the four pieces of the fish fillet on the parchment paper and using a sharp knife, “sketch” the shape of the fillets.
  7. Remove the sketch of the crust, peel off the top layer of the parchment paper, and place mixture on top of the corresponding salmon filet.
  8. Remove the parchment paper and set the filet aside.
  9. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a non stick pan on high heat and sear the salmon fillet with the crust-side down for two minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Using a fish spatula, gently flip the fillet and remove from fire.
  11. Finish the salmon fillets in the oven for four to five minutes or until desired temperature.
  12. *Serve this dish with the Arugula and Fennel Salad or the Cobb Salad.


Chef’s Tip:

When you sear fish or meat, always sear the presentation side first. This will help you achieve a perfect color on the presentation side. When flipping the filet to sear, flip gently so that the crust adheres to the filet.

* Recipes may be found in The Prime Grill Kosher Cookbook


Simply Baked Salmon Salad

Simply Baked Salmon Salad

Contributed by Katy Morris

One (and we really mean just one) of the many reasons we flock to the The Granola Bar is that there really is something for all Westporters there.

Early morning, frothy cappuccino after dropping the kids off at school? Check. Fresh, simple, locally sourced seasonal ingredients? Check. Breakfast at lunchtime? Refreshing, healthy smoothie pick-me-up? Creative sandwiches (like one of our faves, the House Bubby) and plenty of other kosher-friendly, vegetarian, and even gluten-free choices? Check, check, check.

So maybe we are just telling you stuff you already knew…

In that case, you’re in luck, because there are some more things cooking in their kitchen that you might not have heard about yet!


TGB University

Co-founders Julie Levitt and Dana Noorily, along with talented Head Chef Jes Bengston, have recently joined forces with professional nutritionist Esther Blum (author of “Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat”) to launch the first series of their TGB [The Granola Bar] University. This fall, they are offering you a chance to attend one of Esther’s six informative lectures to learn all about paleo and vegan eating at the restaurant/cafe.

As a spin off, they will also be introducing a well-defined and creative paleo-only section of their menu. Be sure to check back on their website for specific dates and sign up information to take part in the series, as well as learn about the new menu.


TGB Farm-to-table Pop-up Dinners

Earlier this summer, Chef Jes headed to our beloved Westport Farmers’ Market for some local fixings from which she crafted an elegant six-course dinner menu for eighteen local attendees. The feedback was so great they are already planning their fall and winter series, so be sure to keep up with their Facebook page posts for how to reserve your seat! And yes, kosher-friendly options will, of course, be on offer.


TGB on the Go: From Soccer Fields to Classy Wedding Brunches


When we first wrote about them in March, their idea for launching a Food Truck was still taking off; but by now, it’s hit the open road, Jack. “The Granola Bar’s Food Truck has been out and about serving breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for local corporations, staff, birthday and graduation parties all summer long!” says Dana.


And there’s no stopping them now. Although as of now there is no plan to have a permanent Food Truck location, they will be at Coleytown Middle School’s soccer field every Saturday (hungry, young athletes and soccer moms alike will love this!) and will also be attending food festivals as they arise (they were even asked to be a part of the first Annual CT Food Truck Festival in North Haven this July). In addition, they are more then willing to travel outside of CT for private parties or events! You can always track their tire marks by checking their Facebook or Instagram feeds.


quinoa, kale and blueberries

quinoa, kale and blueberries

And if you are looking for a fantastic caterer for your Bubby’s 80th or your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, definitely consider TGB. Their catering services have taken local celebrations by storm, like the recent garden birthday party they catered where they served up plenty of seasonal-inspired options including pistachio-crusted salmon over spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds and goat cheese (a take on this dish is provided for you below!), dried fruit and avocado quinoa salad, and strawberry shortcake trifles. Contact Dana directly at dana@thegranolabarct.com for more information.

L-R Julie and Dana, owners; with Chef Jes

L-R Julie and Dana, owners; with Chef Jes

We are always looking for new ways to offer light and delicious seasonal food. It is so awesome to serve fresh kale that was picked the morning it is delivered!” exclaims Dana.

Thank you to Dana and Jes for these fabulous late summer-inspired recipes…and we also want to wish a special Mazel Tov to Julie on her recent summer wedding!


Julie's wedding cake was lovingly baked in house and carefully transported to NYC by Chef Jes.

Julie’s wedding cake was lovingly baked in house and carefully transported to NYC by Chef Jes.

The Granola Bar, Westport, CT,  is open Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm and Sundays, 8am-4pm. Eat-in, take-out, delivery and catering always available.

Baked Salmon Salad Over Seasonal Greens

one serving

Baked Salmon Salad Over Seasonal Greens

Just as school begins and busy Moms get even busier, The Granola Bar shared this super easy salad that you can throw together no matter how short on time you are.

Apples and dates point to Autumn while the light and easy ingredients keep us on track to enjoy the last weeks of summer.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy).


  • 2 c spinach
  • 3 oz baked salmon (salt and pepper to taste)
  • ½ c julienned apples
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons lemon dressing
  • Dressing
  • 1 fresh lemon (juiced)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure olive oil


  1. Bake salmon at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
  2. Toss remaining salad ingredients
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad


With just a few ingredients the freshest greens from your farmers' market will really shine here. And how 'bout these early season green apples? Grab 'em while you can!


zucchini flowers (1)

Fiori di zucca or zucchini blossoms are a delicacy in Tuscany but with the farmers’ markets heaped with towers of zucchini here in the U.S. it’s easier than you may think to bring this very Italian dish to your own table.

If your favorite market vendor doesn’t sell these sunny, edible flowers, ask her to gather them for you. They are the flower at the end of the plant from which zucchini grows. Better yet, pluck them from your own vegetable garden or that of your best friend.

Be sure to prepare these as soon as possible after they’ve been picked.

Zuke Flower

Blossoms are delicate and won’t last more than a couple of days in your crisper section of the fridge. Look for flowers still on their stems. This indicates that these plants are male and they’ll be larger (insert size matters jokes here if you must) which means more cavity space to fill with creamy ricotta. The flowers should feel firm and velvety without any wilting. They should look bright orangish/yellow and perky. Stems should be moist.

When we landed in Aspen a few weeks ago, we headed directly to the farmers’ market to pick up our fruits and veggies. With only 40 minutes until closing, the pickins’ were slim.

zucchini flowers

Okagawa Farm had a few piles of zucchini blossoms left after a busy market day. “I’ll sell you all of these for $5.00, ” Jenna said “but you need to sauté or fry them within a day or they’ll be droopy and past their prime.” I turned to E. and K. with that imploring look of “are you in this with me?” and they nodded.

stuffed and breaded

Cooking in a vacation home means making compromises and getting creative. Not wanting to buy a 5 pound bag of flour for our batter, we made breadcrumbs from a leftover baguette. We purchased a soft mild queso fresco at the market instead of making a second stop in search of good ricotta.  My pics show these stuffed blossoms with a squeeze of lime as the slightly salty cheese begged for some citrus.


I suggest you go the traditional route and buy the best ricotta cheese you can find. Mild and sweet ricotta is really the best partner with the floral undertone in the blossoms. The beer and flour batter will coat these velvety blossoms with the perfect light and even crust.

While our blossoms were indeed, delicious, try the recipe below. You’ll love the way the warm creamy ricotta oozes out of the folds of these crisp orange fiori.

And best of all, you’ll save yourself airfare to Firenze. Go ahead- Eat your veggies from tip to tail! 

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

4 servings

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Zucchini blossoms are a summer delicacy found and treasured on menus in Tuscany. They are easy to make and addictive to nibble on.

This recipe is dairy and vegetarian.


  • 1 cup good quality ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp.grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Blossoms and Batter
  • 12-16 zucchini blossoms, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 ounces lager style beer or club soda
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying


    Stuff the blossoms
  1. Be sure your blossoms are as dry as possible. Place them on a lined cookie sheet- this will be your work surface Remove the pistils from each blossom.
  2. Gently mix all filling ingredients in small bowl.
  3. Gently pry blossoms open. Place 1 Tb. of cheese mixture in each blossom.
  4. Batter and Fry
  5. Pour 2 inches of oil into a deep pot and heat to 350 degrees.
  6. Make a batter of flour, salt and beer by whisking together. A few lumps are ok but don't over mix.
  7. Dredge each filled zucchini blossom in batter, gently shaking off the excess batter.
  8. Slowly place in hot oil for 2-3 minutes. Turn once. Blossoms should be golden brown.
  9. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula. Dust with sea salt or more chopped mint.
  10. Serve immediately.
  11. Buon apetito!


Zucchini blossoms are very delicate and perishable. Prepare them on the same day of purchase or the day after.

Stuff, fry and serve immediately.

Note that my photos here do not reflect this actual recipe. I made them with breadcrumbs and egg cause that's what I had on vacation!








contributed by Katy Morris

Don’t let the thought of adding more heat to your kitchen deter you from baking this summer!  The bounty of local fruit in farmers’ markets is truly irresistible, making summertime the perfect time to express your creative genius. 

Pro-bakers anxiously await summer’s arrival, a time that allows them to conjure up seasonally inspired baked treats like fruit-filled pies and muffins, fresh veggie quiches and more. We’ve turned to some of our favorite experts for tips, tricks, and a peachy recipe for all you muffin lovers out there.

Oh, the Options!

Huckleberry- Christine

Christine Cote of Huckleberry Artisan Pastries, who excitedly anticipates summer’s arrival each year, says that it can also be a challenge because bakers “want to choose the best and brightest ways to present all the wonders of summer.  It’s not an easy choice. The variety of options is staggering…it’s a lot like choosing between children!


Should this year’s perfect strawberries be paired with tart, crisp rhubarb, and baked in a buttery crumble, or would feather-light shortcake, and vanilla kissed whipped cream be the better choice? Then, seemingly before strawberry nirvana has even taken hold, it begins to wind down, and ruby red raspberries magically appear for their day in the sun. And on it goes…”


Let the Natural Flavors Shine Through

Christine is a pro and meticulously plans ahead to ensure she can have her recipes ready to go when summer hits. One of the most important things she considers is how to enhance the peak -of- season flavors of the fruit.

“Anything that I do to fruit should accentuate what is already there. It is easy to get carried away [with other ingredients] and mask the wonderful natural flavors with too many additions to the recipe.”

Mid-summer mixed berry pies from Huckleberry Artisan Pastries

Mid-summer mixed berry pies from Huckleberry Artisan Pastries

Some of her recommendations for these strategic pairings include combining candied ginger to complement the sweetness of peaches, lemon juice to accentuate the bright flavors of blueberries and honey to enhance the sweetness of tart fruits.


Pam Nicholas of Izzi B’s Allergy Free Baking, who has been taking advantage of the strawberries and blueberries at local farmers’ markets couldn’t agree more. She advises to do as little as possible to the fruits and veggies to let their flavors to shine.

Izzy B's strawberry shortcake

Izzy B’s strawberry shortcake


“For our strawberry shortcake, we start with fresh strawberries, a little bit of beet sugar and a squirt of fresh lemon juice,” she shares. “Then we put it all into a pot with a lid and as soon as it simmers, we remove the berries and let the juice from the berries reduce the beet sugar.” By letting it cool and then adding in the berries at the end, this allows the berries to retain their fresh taste and texture.

One of Izzi B’s bestsellers this year has been their blueberry muffin (which are, just like the rest of the baked goods coming out of their kitchen, free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, nuts, casein, preservatives, trans-fats, refined sugar and cholesterol, as well as vegan, kosher-certified and celiac friendly…phew!), and she’s let us in on one of the secrets that makes it so good:

“Even though we start with fresh blueberries, we wash and then freeze them before baking. First,  we can keep them throughout the year; and second, which is our little secret, we put them into the batter at the very last minute, still frozen, so that way they don’t bleed into the batter. When you bite into them, the berries burst in your mouth and make you smile!” says Pam.


Working in the Heat

Early Apples in July

Early Apples in July


Pam also highlights the challenge bakers face given the heat and humidity. When possible, she says, try to bake in a temperature controlled kitchen.

“Sometimes, the answer to high humidity is adjusting the oven time and temperature. Sometimes reducing the quantity of liquid is necessary.” Sometimes, it’s best to keep the heat outside.

Last week when Pam purchased some white peaches at the farmers’ market, it was simply too hot to turn on the oven, so she decided to roast them al fresco instead. “I put them in a roasting pan cut side up and stuffed them with a gluten-free oat topping and slow roasted them on the grill. I served them warm with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato [or ice cream]  and never added any heat to my kitchen. It was perfect. YUM!”


Make the Summer Bounty Last for Future Baking

Yes, we know that the season is short, but with some effort and preparation, we can enjoy our favorite summer produce even as the temperature begins to drop, thanks to some simple tips from Christine and Pam (in fact, Pam still has frozen sweet potatoes and acorn squash from last fall that she uses in place of eggs!).


Izzy B allergen free apple crumb pie

Izzy B allergen free apple crumb pie

Freezing is the easiest and most common preservation method for your summer bounty, and for a good reason. It is by far the best way to ensure you capture the essential flavors of the fruit.  When a fruit or veg is frozen, its fiber breaks down and it loses water. This alters the texture and doesn’t make it great for eating raw; however, this makes it no less desirable for cooking since the fibers are broken down in that process anyway.

Among the best things to freeze are berries (check out our recent Peach Seasonal Snippet for other key advice for freezing fruits). Christine emphatically clarifies that “air is the enemy,” when it comes to storage/freezing so “be sure to insulate your edibles as well as possible.”

Speaking of freezing, if you are headed to the beach or a summer picnic with cupcakes or something similar, stick them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you go so your icing doesn’t melt off in the hot sun.


Time to get Baking! 

Brianna Baker at Steam

Baker and Co-owner of STEAM Coffee Bar, Brianna Pennell, says that summer definitely “inspires lighter and healthier baking,” – something that just happens to be her specialty!

This year, she ended up with over twenty pounds of homegrown rhubarb from her own grandmother’s garden, which she has been gently simmering with a bit of simple syrup, vanilla beans and some fresh ginger slices to make her popular strawberry-rhubarb crepes and muffins (these guys are selling out almost daily!).

Brianna was kind enough to share her brand new Vegan,Paleo and Gluten-free Blueberry-Peach Muffin recipe with us – check it out below!


Bakers mentioned in this post:

Huckleberry Artisan Pastry is a weekly vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market, Westport, CT. Christine is happy to take special orders. Contact her at Christine Cote <huckletastic@live.com>

Izzy B Allergen Free Baked Goods is a rotating vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market. They do not have a storefront but they regularly fill special orders at their Norwalk, CT. bakery. They are certified kosher and their products are free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, all nuts, and casein.

Steam has two locations in Westport, CT. Steam is committed to supporting local growers and vendors in their own community. Here’s what we wrote about Steam. Click on their website for more information. Briana Pennell bakes all sorts of treats for both locations and is happy to fill special orders. She loves to bake gluten-free treats like the muffins below.


Blueberry Peach Muffins- Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegan

12 muffins

Blueberry Peach Muffins- Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegan

These summery muffins shine with berries and peaches from the local farmers' markets.

Thank you Brianna Pennell, owner of Steam Coffee Bar in Westport, CT, for this recipe and inspiration.

These muffins are pareve (non-dairy), vegan, paleo and gluten-free


  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (or 2 T flax to make vegan)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean seeds, scraped)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced peaches, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin cups
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  4. Add wet to dry and mix well
  5. Add fruit
  6. Scoop mixture into muffins tins, filling about ¾ of the way
  7. Top muffins with more diced peaches (you can also sprinkle more coconut flakes on top too)
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes (*Note: if not using eggs, bake for an extra 15-30 minutes at 300F)
  9. test with toothpick. Muffins will be moist but not wet
  10. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack


*Vegan baked goods require more time in the oven. If using eggs, the time listed here is correct.


Originally Posted in “Summer Baking with Advice from the Pros