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For many who treasure the arrival of the weekend, a delicious brunch can be the highlight of a marvelous morning or early afternoon. Whether you’re preparing a special meal for two or whether you’re hosting an event for friends, make your menu a hit with these easy-to-prepare recipes from food specialist Charlotte Lyons, author and former food editor at Ebony magazine.
OVEN-ROASTED SPRING VEGETABLES
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 small zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch diagonally
2 small yellow squash, sliced 1/2-inch diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 sweet onion, sliced
Sea or kosher salt to taste
Lemon pepper to taste
1. Arrange vegetables on two-rimmed baking sheet. Lightly drizzle olive oil over vegetables. Season lightly with salt to taste. Gently toss to coat vegetables.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place vegetables into oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes, turning vegetables occasionally until tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Yields 6 servings
EASY SALMON CAKES
2 14-ounce cans salmon, drained, bone and skin removed
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup corn meal (if you like it a little sweet, use Jiffy corn muffin mix)
Vegetable cooking oil
1. Place the salmon into a bowl and break up with fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix together well.
2. Shape into about 8 patties. Sprinkle a little corn meal onto patties if needed.
3. Heat about 1/2-inch oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the patties and cook until lightly brown on one side and turn and cook the other side until lightly brown. Place the patties on paper towel to drain, repeat with remaining patties.
Yields about 8 patties
NOTE: Salmon cakes can be baked in the oven. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the salmon cakes on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
HERBED CHICKEN AND POTATO HASH
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (or combination)
3 medium potatoes, diced and cooked
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 roasting chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook and stir onion and garlic in large skillet until slightly tender.
2. Add the bell pepper, potatoes, thyme and poultry seasoning. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
3. Add the cut-up chicken, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until chicken is heated through. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley.
Yields 6 servings
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 cup vegetable shortening
5 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cut the shortening into flour, sugar, and baking soda with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).
2. Turn dough onto generously floured, cloth-covered board. Gently roll in flour to coat; shape into ball. If dough is too sticky, knead 25 to 30 times, sprinkling with flour.
3. Place dough in lightly greased bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, but no longer than three days. Use as needed.
4. Roll or pat dough 1/2-inch thick. Cut with floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Let dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
Yields about 3½ dozen
FRUIT AND YOGURT SUNDAES
1½ cups sliced fresh strawberries
1½ cups granola
1 16-ounce vanilla yogurt
1½ cups diced fresh pineapple
2 medium bananas, sliced
Whole strawberries or mint leaves
1. Alternate the ingredients in small bowls or glasses. Finish each with yogurt and garnish with a strawberry and mint leaf.
Yields 6 to 8 sundaes
Charlotte Lyons is recognized as one of the top authorities in the culinary arena. The former food editor for Ebony magazine is also author of The New Ebony Cookbook. She receives numerous requests to appear on entertainment news programs, cooking segments and at community events. A sought-after speaker, her knowledge of cuisines, culinary trends, traditions and techniques is diverse. Prior to joining Ebony, Charlotte mastered her skills in recipe development, food styling and new product development at several companies, including the Betty Crocker Test Kitchen at General Mills and the Campbell Soup Company. She received her bachelor’s degree in home economics from Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Contact Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org for information to attend her regular cooking classes.