Spring Onion and Asparagus Crostata


Spring crostata

Spring is here and we can finally enjoy delicious—and healthy—fresh vegetable delicacies, like this Italian-inspired Spring Onion and Asparagus Crostata. What makes it really stand out is its crust—made from a rich cream cheese dough traditionally used in rugelach, the famous Jewish curled-up cookie. You’ll love this savory twist… with spring herbs and caramelized onions.

Spring Onion and Asparagus Crostata
Makes 2 tarts (crostatas), serves 12 as a main course or 20 as an appetizer


  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, divided
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    (If you do not have whole wheat flour, just use 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. of all purpose flour.)
  • 1/2 cup minced chives, or other spring herbs you like
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 1 lb. ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper



1.  Begin by caramelizing the onions. Slice your 2 yellow onions thinly. In a pan over medium heat, cook the sliced onions until they become translucent. Then, put the onions on low and cook for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally. While the onions cook, prepare your crust.

Cut your chives2.  In a mixer, blend cream cheese and butter. Add in the sugar, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan. While this is blending, use scissors to snip the chives until you have 1/2 cup of minced chives. Add the all purpose flour and whole wheat flour to the mixer and stir on low so the flour stays in the mixing bowl. When the dough begins to come together, add in the chives. Once the dough forms a ball, take it out of the mixer and wrap it in plastic wrap to make 1 large disc of dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also make the dough a day in advance if you prefer.

3. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove your caramelized onions from the pan and let them cool. With a mandolin, a sharp knife or the slicer on your box grater, thinly slice 2 spring onions. Set the onion aside.

4.  In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan, 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper. Take the dough out of the fridge. If you have chilled the dough overnight, it may need about 30 minutes on the counter before it is workable.

5. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the thick bottoms. They should snap naturally at the beginning of the tender part of the stalk. Cut the asparagus in half horizontally and then in half again vertically.

Crostata dough5. Cut the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough into a circle. It does not have to be a perfect circle since a crostata is a rustic dish. The dough should be between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Spread 1/2 of the caramelized onions around the edge of the dough. Curl the dough over and tuck it into the base of the crostata crust. With scissors, snip little vents along the curled crust. Repeat with the second half of the dough and caramelized onions.

Cutting the crostata dough6. Top the crust with 1/2 of the ricotta filling. Layer 1/2 of the spring onion slices on top of the ricotta filling. Carefully arrange the asparagus over the onions. Repeat with the second crust and the other 1/2 of the ricotta filling, spring onion slices and asparagus.

7. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 45-55 minutes. The crust will become golden brown along the edges.

8. Serve with a spring salad.  If you have leftover asparagus, you can shave the raw asparagus with a vegetable peeler and top with a homemade salad dressing or whatever dressing you have in your fridge. Look for pea shoots at the grocery store or farmer’s market; they make great spring salads as well.

Spring crostada served

Bubbe’s Banana Bread Muffins


banana muffins

After dealing with the challenges of food in an interfaith family during the Passover and Easter season, it’s nice to come back together at Mothers’ Day to celebrate without the pressure of not serving meat on Good Friday when it also happens to be the first seder or how to have a traditional Easter dinner without a ham.

I also love Mothers’ Day because it’s another great excuse for BRUNCH! My favorite meal.

When I got married my mom’s friends threw me an amazing bridal shower and put together a recipe book with favorites contributed by all of the guests. I treasure these hand-written recipe cards, which have a place of honor in my kitchen, and they have become even more special as many of the recipes were contributed by my grandmother (bubbe) who passed away in the fall. I know I’ll be missing her as we sit down together for Mothers’ Day, so I’ll do my best to evoke her memory by baking one of her recipes.

I love my grandmother’s banana bread, and whenever my bananas are turning brown, I toss them in the freezer to be used later. The original recipe calls for margarine (which I don’t like to use), LOTS of sugar and sour cream. I switched it up a little bit here, and prepared it as mini muffins instead of as a loaf, since my kids will eat nearly anything if shaped like a mini muffin (think: meatloaf muffins, egg muffins … you get the picture).

This recipe is also great because it requires no fancy equipment. You don’t need a stand mixer or even a hand mixer; you really can do the whole thing with just bowls and a fork!

If you’re serving this dish at a meal that involves meat to people who keep kosher, you can easily substitute the yogurt with soy yogurt.

Bubbe’s Banana Bread Muffins

Yields 48 mini muffins (or 24 regular sized muffins)

It's always helpful to get everything together before you start.

It’s always helpful to get everything together before you start. The French call this “mis en place.”


  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. salt.





Use a a fork to cream together sugar, honey & coconut oil


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Liberally grease 2 mini muffin tins.

3. Combine baking soda and yogurt in a large bowl.

4. Cream together coconut oil, sugar and honey in a small bowl until well mixed. Add to yogurt mixture.

5. Use a potato masher to mash the overripe bananas into the batter.





6. Add smashed bananas and beaten eggs to mixture.

7. Combine flour, baking powder, vanilla, lemon zest and salt in a medium bowl.

8. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches, mixing as you go.

9. Using a medium sized scooper, fill the tins to just under full.

10. Bake for 20 minutes (25 if you are making full size muffins), turning the pan once. Use a toothpick to check for done-ness: If it comes out clean, they’re ready! They should be just slightly golden brown on the edges. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

muffins cooling


A perfect addition to your Mothers’ Day brunch

I like to round out this meal out with a baked egg casserole, breakfast potatoes a big fruit salad and a Bloody Mary.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in our lives! What are some of your Mothers’ Day favorites?