I’d like to think this caprese blintz is the epitome of my background. A blend of cultures, colliding different upbringings and introducing new memories.
I grew up, like many Brooklyn Jewish girls next door, on blintzes and bagels, on latkes and matzah balls and so did everyone around me. It was the norm. Jewish delis filled with freshly made bialys were the signature of my past and new worldly flavors are the introduction to my future.
You can imagine how my worlds collided when I moved to Hawaii when I was fourteen. The only Jewish girl in my school, the only one that had some reminisce of a east coast accent, the only know what knew what a blintz was. But alas, everything happens for a reason. My eight years living in Hawaii taught me patience and love of the land and introduced me to my Italian husband of (soon to be) 10 years who fell in love with traveling just as much as I did.
Over the last 10 years, Joe and I have had a love affair with traveling and one of our favorite memories was experiencing a true caprese salad in Italy. The tomatoes were so sweet and mozzarella like no other. I have been addicted ever since and want to caprese-fy anything I can get my hands on! Blintzes seemed to be a natural fit for these flavors.
This one is certainly for the savory lovers and aint your mama’s blintz, that’s for sure! Filled with soft mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, you will certainly be transported to a café in Italy like I was! A blend of cultures for your next brunch? I like that idea.
For the blintz batter:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
Pinch of salt
Oil spray for greasing pan
For the filling:
8 oz soft mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped into ½ inch pieces
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 oz pesto of your choice to garnish blintzes
additional basil for garnish (optional)
For the Basil Walnut Pesto (you can also use jarred pesto)
2 cups basil
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make blintz batter, add all blintz ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend for a few seconds until smooth. Then pour batter in bowl and set aside.
Heat a small 8-9 inch non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and spray a bit of cooking spray to evenly coat pan. Use a large ladle to pour batter into skillet, making a thin, circular motion to evenly distribute the batter. Cook blintz on the first side for about 1-2 minutes until it can easily move around in the pan and doesn’t stick. Then carefully use a spatula to flip over and cook the second side for another minute.
When done, remove from pan and set aside on parchment paper lined baking sheet, making sure not to overlap the blintz because they can stick.
Once all the pancakes are done, fill each blintz with 1 oz of mozzarella and a bit of sundried tomatoes. Fold the blintz up like a burrito, tucking in the sides and then add it back to the greased skillet, lightly browning each side. Continue with the rest of the blintz and set aside on a plate.
When ready to serve top with pesto more sundried tomatoes and basil garnish.
To make your own basil walnut pesto: In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and 1 garlic clove until all are ground well. Add basil, Parmesan and olive oil and pulse together until well incorporated, but don't over mix.
Taste for seasoning. Add additional olive oil if needed.
Daily life can be so hectic, between keeping up with Netflix and waiting in line for your daily Pumpkin Spice Latte, so having a day dedicated to reflection and atonement (in between naps and binge watching The Food Network) is a meaningful change of pace. And of course, at the end of the day of fasting, there’s the food.
Our break fast spread was as traditional as they come. Kugels, coffee cake, an assortment of rarely-touched pre-made Italian cookies from the local Jewish supermarket, and the pièce de résistance, the bagel spread. When pangs of hunger set in during the final hours, this is what I focused on. Dozens of bagels, lox, red onions, tomatoes, capers, and an assortment of cream cheeses from chive to strawberry. While others were vying for an end piece of coffee cake, I went straight for the good stuff. Half of an everything bagel, never scooped, schmeared with plain cream cheese, lots of lox, red onions and capers. Always a delicious meal, but especially after a day of fasting.
This year, I decided to take all my favorite bagel toppers and put them in a quiche. I love quiche, but hadn’t made one since culinary school. The salty capers and smoked salmon paired with creamy tart goat cheese and sweet red onions is pretty magical. I highly recommend the homemade crust; the flakiness is worth the extra effort. The best part is (okay, besides the eating part) that you can easily make this ahead of time and serve at your break fast.
For the crust:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, chilled in the freezer and diced
2-4 Tbsp ice water
For the quiche filling:
½ small red onion, cut into thin slivers
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp capers
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
4 ounces smoked salmon, diced
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
To make dough, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Then add in butter and mix with hands until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor.) Add in water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over mix. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll out dough on a lightly flowered surface into a 12-inch circle. Place it in a tart pan and press down to fit in the edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line dough with parchment paper and fill 2/3 of the way with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is set, about 12-15 minutes.
Carefully remove paper and bake until golden brown, an additional 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large sauté pan, heat up olive oil over medium heat. Sauté red onions with a pinch of salt until the start to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Then add capers and sauté for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, black pepper and nutmeg. Once crust is cooled, sprinkle half of the onion mixture, goat cheese and smoked salmon on the bottom of the crust. Pour over egg mixture and dollop with remaining ingredients. Bake until quiche is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Summertime and brunch don’t always go together. Summer picnic. Summer cocktails. Summer barbecue. Yes, we hear those a lot. But a summer brunch can be truly delightful, especially when Shabbat ends so late on Saturday making it difficult to see friends over the weekend.
So skip expensive dinner Saturday night, and stay in for a light, and delicious summer brunch instead. With minimal cooking you can throw together a colorful and completely delightful meal for friends or family.
Now that peaches are in season it’s time to make your own bellinis. Last summer I used Ina Garten’s recipe and it was delightful and easy. And check out that gorgeous color. Pop open some prosecco and get sippin’.
Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Scones from Food52 are also a perfect summer treat. Swing by your local farmer’s market for fresh blueberries to make this brunch sweet extra special. I like serving them with a homemade compound butter like Vanilla Bean Whipped Honey Butter, though any high quality, salted butter will do just fine.
One of my summer favorites is a sweet and salty watermelon feta salad like this one from The Kitchn. And I don’t know anyone who ever complained about being served up a rich and creamy blintz souffle like this one from Nosher contributor Tamar Fox.
And last but not least, try my Tomato Caprese Salad with Roasted Corn as a fresh update on the Italian classic.
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2 ripe tomatoes on the vine
6 ounces fresh mozzarella
2 ears fresh corn
salt and pepper
arugula or fresh spinach (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from cob by using a knife or a corn stripper.
Spread corn kernels in an even layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Slice tomatoes 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Slice mozzarella to same thickness.
Alternate layers of tomato and mozzarella. If desired place on top of a bed of arugula or fresh spinach leaves.
Spoon corn kernels on top of tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle with good quality olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves.
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Bagels, rugelach, and babka, oh my!
The most delicious giveaway of the winter is officially on until Thursday, December 19, and four of you are about to win a selection of incredible kosher goodies from our friends at Kosher Gift Box, our favorite online purveyor of Jewish nosh. For FREE.
The grand prize—get ready for it—is the NYC Brunch Basket, full of fresh bagels, rugelach, lox, and cream cheese ($119.99 value) sent overnight straight to your front door.
And the lucky runners-up?
One will get this Collector’s Tin of Rugelach ($44.99 value).
Another: this Fresh Challah Variety Pack with four delicious flavors ($34.99 value).
And the third: this amazing Babka Two-Pack with cinnamon and chocolate loaves. (Because why choose?) ($27.99 value).
Scroll back up to enter today!
Update! The winners are in! Congratulations to Jeff of Nashville, Tennessee; Natali of Hollywood, Florida; Erin of Niagara Falls, New York; and Alicia of West Bloomfield, Michigan. Happy noshing!