Springtime Favorites

How do you welcome spring in your kitchens? Salads? Berry crisps? Here's what we do in ours..


Spring comes very early in the South, so when the Northerners are enjoying perfect spring weather, we’re already feeling the heat of summer! On Chol Hamoed Pesach, many families go strawberry picking (yes, in April), and I welcomed the beautiful warm weather with my first batch of homemade jam. Next up is peaches, which will go into crisps, smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, and eaten straight up when they’re at their sweetest and best.

Here’s a great muffin recipe that I originally published on Fromthegrapevine.com.

Yields 24 muffins

  • 1 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance spread
  • ¼ cup finely diced or minced fresh ginger
  • 3 peaches, finely diced
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk


  • ¼ cup butter or Earth Balance spread
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. Heat butter in a hot pan over medium heat. Sauté minced ginger for several minutes until aromatic. Add diced peaches and stir for 3-4 minutes. If peaches are very ripe, turn off  the heat immediately after adding them to the pan and simply stir. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add eggs, oil, and milk and stir until just combined. Gently fold in peaches. Do not overmix or you will end up with rubbery muffins. Use ice cream scooper to fill muffin cups two-thirds of the way full. Mix streusel ingredients in a small bowl by pressing down on the butter with a fork, or using fingers to create coarse crumbs that stick together. Sprinkle streusel over the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until tops rise back up when pressed down gently. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

—Sarah Faygie Berkowitz, columnist



When warm weather comes, I serve a lot of fresh salads, sometimes as an accompaniment to a meal and often on its own as a light meal. I sometimes add feta cheese cubed or grated for a meal-in-one. I also serve it for Shalosh Seudos.

  • 1 8-oz (225-g) pkg romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful grape or cherry tomatoes (whole or sliced, depending on their size)
  •  croutons, for garnish


  • 2½ slices Muenster cheese (or American cheese)
  • 3 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ⅔ cup oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Blend together dressing ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender. Place salad ingredients in a bowl (either wooden, glass, or china; not metal) and mix together. Pour dressing on top and garnish with croutons.

TIP: To make the dressing lowfat, use ⅓ cup oil and ⅓ cup milk for the oil. You can also substitute low-fat cheeses, but the dressing won’t be as smooth and might have a grainier texture. Another way to save calories is to serve the dressing on the side and drizzle a small amount over your portion.

—Brynie Greisman, recipe columnist




As soon as the weather gets warm, I love putting any and all liquids (smoothies, juices, coff ee, cocktails) into popsicle molds or plastic Freezie sleeves. This particular combo is laughably easy and so refreshing: Pour coconut water into a mold and drop in sliced fruit or berries. Freeze, and serve whenever you’re in the mood of a delicious, healthy treat.

—Rivki Rabinowitz, copywriter



My favorite spring seasonal food is this ramp pesto grilled chicken. I’ve been known to request these garlicky greens from my grocery store or even to (completely overpay and) order off an online greengrocer. Worth it!

  • dark chicken cutlets


  • 2 bunches ramps, roughly chopped (or 2 bunches
  • scallions and 2–3 cloves garlic)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, pistachios, or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the ramps and pine nuts until finely chopped. Add lemon juice. With the food processor running, add oil in a thin stream until the pesto reaches the desired consistency — loose enough to be more like a sauce than a paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Marinate chicken in pesto. Grill or broil for 7–10 minutes per side.

—Michal Frischman, recipe columnist



Summer fruit salad laced with brandy sauce becomes a staple in my house.


  • ¾ cup water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 Tbsp brandy

To make the sauce: Place water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Water will be cloudy and clear up as it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat. Stir in the brandy. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Prepare your fruit salad by dicing seasonal fruit and melons. If serving family style, place the fruit in a large serving bowl. Pour brandy sauce on top and mix. If serving in individual bowls or glasses, fill with fruit and drizzle with brandy sauce. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet for a great dessert.

—Rivky Kleiman, recipe columnist



I welcome spring by taking out my Yonana machine. It’s a fabulous machine that turns frozen fruit into a healthy, delicious treat. Depending on what fruit combo you use, you can produce either ice cream or sorbet. The best part is that the ice cream literally comes out like a soft-serve swirl. It’s such a fun treat to come home to on a warm spring day. My kids love it as an afterschool snack or dessert, and I love that it’s simply fruit with no added sugars. Despite the name, you don’t have to use frozen banana. I’ve found that frozen mango or frozen cherries produce a similar texture. The only fruit I don’t suggest is blueberries, which stay in pieces and result in a less creamy outcome. My favorite combos are strawberry banana, pineapple mango, and cherry berry blast. We also have fun topping it with nuts, coconut lakes, cacao nibs or chips, and additional fruit. Oh, yeah, and it’s so easy, your kids can do it themselves — and because it’s so delicious, they will!

—Rorie Weisberg, health columnist



When spring rolls around, it’s too warm for the rich soups I make all winter, but it’s the perfect time for a refreshing, chilled fruit soup. Most require a lot of chopping, but this one takes just minutes to make:

  • 28 oz (790 g) canned pineapple
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries, defrosted
  • 2-3 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 cups strawberry banana nectar or any other fruit nectar

Put pineapple, strawberries, and oranges into a food processor and pulse until chopped but still chunky. Mix with fruit nectar. Chill and enjoy!

—Bassi Gruen, managing editor



I start off with getting my vegetables from my local CSA (farmers’ association). It’s usually tons of fresh greens this time of year, so I’m busy making salad.

—Naomi Nachman, columnist



We have a cherry tree right outside our dining room. Some years it gives us a bumper crop, some years nary a fruit. But the years that it’s full we eat them constantly! Fresh, in smoothies, with whipped cream, cold cherry soup, cobblers, you name it. It’s a great feeling when the whole family enjoys something they watched grow.

—Faigy Peritzman, columnist



I use this crumble topping literally all the time. I always have a double batch in a container in my freezer, making it super-easy to pull out for a five-second dessert for a quiet Shabbos. Use apples in the winter, but bring on the berries in the summer!

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries


  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 Tbsp margarine

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine crumble ingredients with a fork or by hand. Place blueberries in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle crumble on top and bake for 45 minutes.

—Chanie Nayman, food editor



Even the simplest of seasonings like a mere salt, pepper, and garlic combo is soooo delicious right o of a hot grill! I love that barbecuing has to be done outdoors because it gets me outside, where I can cook dinner and watch the kids ride around on bikes, roller blades, etc. As an added bonus, my kitchen stays clean! 
In case you’re looking for something a little extra, try this marinade for your meat or chicken:

  • 12 cloves garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 1 jalapeño (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 3 limes or 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp coarse black pepper

Put all marinade ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until totally puréed. Pour over whatever protein you’re making and allow to marinate (15 minutes for poultry and up to overnight for meat). Throw on the grill and serve
fresh and hot!

—Danielle Renov, recipe columnist



For me, spring means experimenting with all the delicious summer fruits that are making their way into the stores. We received a Ninja blender from my husband’s yeshivah for mishloach manos, so we’re having a smoothie craze over here. We're trying out combos like fresh peaches, mango, kiwi, and maybe some melon, or frozen berries with a teaspoon of peanut butter and a date. The combinations can be super conservative or absolutely funky. They’re always fun and (usually) deliciously refreshing.

—Avigail Sharer, editor



Spring to me means longer Shabbos afternoons and dairy Shalosh Seudos. It also coincides with dropping some of the winter comfort-food weight. I love to throw together an easy but elevated salad by using a few store bought items. (Unfortunately, the part of spring that brings you more time to function doesn’t kick in till July.)

  • 4 cups mixed arugula and mesclun
  • 2 cups sliced hearts of palm
  • 1 cup chopped mixed colored
  • Holland peppers
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup bottled Vidalia onion dressing (or to taste)

Mix together salad ingredients and dress.

—Chaia Frishman, columnist



You know it’s springtime at our house when the giant fruit bowl that sits on the kitchen table is overflowing with brightly colored peaches, apricots, and plums. A welcome change after a long winter of mostly apples and bananas.

—Malky Lowinger, columnist


I tasted something similar to this in a steakhouse and tried to reproduce it. Everyone loves it!

  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • in a processor
  • 2-3 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • (substitute parsley if you don’t like cilantro)


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about ½-inch
  • square (or more, to taste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (adjust to taste)
  • salt and a few dashes of pepper, to taste

Combine salad ingredients in a bowl. Process the dressing ingredients together in a food processor and pour over the carrots. If there’s too much dressing, save some for another use.
—Barbara Bensoussan, columnist


(Originally featured in FamilyTable, Issue 642)

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