From Z to A: 3 Recipes to Welcome Spring

Is spring really here?! Finally? With Arkansas weather, we never know what the next hour will bring (much less the next day), but the warmer weather seems promising so far. Let’s just pretend it’ll stay nice and beautiful for the coming weeks and roll out some great spring recipes to welcome this new season.

Gruyere Asparagus Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh French tarragon
2 1/2 oz. gruyere cheese, grated
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. dijon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bunch asparagus (thin works best)
1 egg (for egg wash)


  1. Thaw puff pastry overnight or according to directions on the package.
  2. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  3. On a piece of parchment, roll puff pastry out to 1/4 inch thickness approximately, 11 x 13 or 12 x 12. Transfer parchment with pastry to a standard baking pan. Prick the dough with a fork.
  4. With a sharp knife, trim off 1-inch strips from each side of the rolled out pastry and set aside leaving them uncooked. Bake crust for 15 minutes (or until it looks puffed and starting to brown) at 400 degrees. Let cool.
  5. Generously brush egg wash on 1 inch of the edge of the baked pastry. Lay the set-aside trimmed strips on top of the edge of cooked pastry. (The egg wash acts as glue.) Brush the top with the egg wash to give the beautiful golden color.
  6. In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, mustard, lemon zest, chives, tarragon, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over the cooled pastry crust. Sprinkle gruyere over cream cheese mixture.
  7. Cut asparagus spears to fit on your tart, toss with a little olive oil and arrange on top of tart.
  8. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing.


Fish Taco Bowl

1 cup shredded slaw mix
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 limes juiced; additional 1 lime cut into wedges
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. honey
4 filets fresh cod
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1-2 tbsp. taco seasoning
2-3 cups cooked brown or white rice
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup drained pineapple or sliced fresh mango
3/4 cup pico de gallo
optional: 1 jalapeño, diced and seeded


  1. In a large bowl, toss the slaw mix with red peppers, cilantro, pineapple/mango and the jalapeño (if using).
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and honey. Cover and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Coat the fish with vegetable oil and sprinkle the taco seasoning all over filets. Heat a skillet and add oil if needed, then cook fish until cooked through depending on thickness.
  4. To assemble bowls, place rice in a bowl and top with the slaw mix, fish, avocado and lime wedge.


Frosted Lemon Butter Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
optional: yellow food coloring


  1. In a bowl, beat together butter and the powdered sugar until blended through. Beat in the lemon juice.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the cornstarch and flour and slowly mix into the butter mixture by hand.
  3. Once all the ingredients are mixed through, divide the dough into half, then shape each half into an 8-9 inch long roll. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and place a couple of inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake 8-12 minutes depending on size and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  6. While cookies are cooling, make the frosting: In a bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Then add in the zest, lemon juice and food coloring (if using) and mix until combined.
  7. Top cookies with frosting and enjoy.


From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer behind Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit and on Tiktok at @happiestfoodonearth.

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