MINTED PEA PUREÉ WITH CHIVE CREAM

Makes about 3 dozen crostini.

Note: From Cooks of Crocus Hill.

2 baguettes, each cut into 1/3-in. thick slices

1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

2 c. fresh or frozen (and thawed) green peas

• 1/4 c. packed mint leaves

1/4 c. packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 1 c. sour cream

• 3 tbsp. minced chives

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and reserve.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine peas, mint, parsley, remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, Parmesan and lemon juice and purée to desired consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, top each crostini with minted pea purée, a dot of chive cream and crumbled bacon.

Nutrition information per each of 36 servings:

Calories 75 Fat 5 g Sodium 79 mg

Carbohydrates 6 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 21 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb, 1 fat.

CILANTRO JALAPEÑO HUMMUS

Serves 8.

Note: To toast pita bread, cut each into 6 wedges, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven until crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. From Cooks of Crocus Hill.

• 1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 c. fresh cilantro

• 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced

• 2 garlic cloves, diced

• 1 to 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

• 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toasted pita bread (see Note) and assorted fresh vegetables (such as red or yellow peppers, carrots, celery and radishes), for serving

Directions

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, purée garbanzo beans to a fine meal consistency. Add cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and olive oil and pulse until thoroughly combined and smooth, adding additional olive oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary.. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer hummus to a serving bowl and serve with pita crisps and fresh vegetables. Stored in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated, hummus will keep for up to 1 week.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 67 Fat 3 g Sodium 78 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 19 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, ½ fat.

NORWEGIAN STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM CAKE

Serves 16.

Note: “This is basically a wonderfully light and eggy sponge cake that absorbs the juices of fresh strawberries and the rather thin custard in its filling,” writes Beatrice Ojakangas in “The Great Scandinavian Baking Book,” noting that “literally translated, the name [Bl�tkake] means ‘wet cake.’ ”

For cake:

3/4 c. cake flour, plus extra for pans

• Butter for pans

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 6 eggs, separated

• 1 c. sugar

For filling:

• 3 egg yolks

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 tbsp. cornstarch

• 1 1/2 c. half-and-half

• 1/4 c. sugar

• 2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. strawberry or apricot jam, warmed and strained

• 1 pint fresh strawberries

For topping:

1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

• 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

To prepare cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip egg whites until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff and meringue-like.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks until frothy. Fold egg yolks and flour mixture into egg whites.

Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake until centers spring back when touched with a finger (about 30 minutes). Remove from oven and cool cakes in pans (centers of cakes may sink slightly).

To prepare filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine egg yolks, butter, cornstarch, half-and-half and sugar. Cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat, cover and cool. Stir in vanilla extract.

To assemble cake: Cut layers horizontally into 2 layers each. Place bottom layer on a cake plate and spread with half of the custard. Top with next cake layer. Spread top with strawberry or apricot jam. Reserve a few of the nicest strawberries for garnish, then slice the rest (removing stems) and place on top of jam layer. Top with a third cake layer. Spread top with remaining custard. Top with remaining layer of cake.

No more than 1 hour before serving, whip cream into soft peaks and flavor with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Pile whipped cream on top of the cake and garnish with reserved strawberries.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 285 Fat 15 g Sodium 90 mg

Carbohydrates 33 g Saturated fat 9 g Calcium 75 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 146 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.