Posts Tagged ‘Zest (ingredient)’

You’re going to want to “catch” this fresh green sauce, so I’m suggesting you use fusilli because the sauce will cling to the ridges in the spiral cut pasta.  This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner, the whole process should take about 35 minutes!  Orrechiette or penne rigate would also work well.

Photo from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

Photo from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food


1 bunch spinach (about 1 lb) trimmed and washed

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

3 TBS EV olive oil

1 TBS finely grated lemon zest

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 lb fusilli

1/4 cup shaved pecorino cheese (1 oz) for serving


Add spinach and 1 TBS water to a large skillet set over medium-high.  Cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  In a food processor, combine spinach, walnuts, oil and lemon zest.  Process until mixture forms a smooth paste, scraping down bowl as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta.  Return pasta to pot and add pesto, tossing to combine and adding enough pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta.  Transfer to a serving plate, top with pecorino, and serve immediately.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s EveryDay Food March 2011

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Wednesday Is Prince Sphaghetti Day

Wednesday Is Prince Sphaghetti Day

I probably should have saved this for ThrowBack Thursday, I mean who remembers Prince spaghetti?  Growing up in an Italian family, I certainly do remember the macaroni products we had in our home.  My father did buy Prince spaghetti, however I clearly remember the LaRosa brand boxes of shells and I think the family favorite was Ronzoni.   When I was a young married, I always stuck with Ronzoni and because I saw my parents pour the pasta out of the pot and into a colander and then rinse it, I did the same!  I can’t remember now when I learned that was definitely NOT the thing to do!  Rinsing the pasta removes some of its flavorful starch that was released during the cooking process.  Not only do I NOT rinse my pasta, I often save a cup of the water to add to my sauces.  Specifically the pasta water is used in many of my vegetarian pasta dishes to make a thin sauce that may also have some broth, butter or oil.

Look For The Red Rose

Look For The Red Rose

What do I buy now?  I love the taste of Barilla macaroni products although so many of my Italian friends swear by De Cecco.  So recently, I purchased some De Cecco linguine and I swear it didn’t have the same flavor.  De Cecco is made in Italy so I’ll give it a few more tries and see if I like the results.

This Wednesday, even though it is STILL raw and cold outside, not to mention raining,  I thought I would try welcoming Spring into the apartment with a truly Spring-like pasta dish.  To quote Pure Wow , the site where I found this recipe by Erin McDowell; “We had a good run, soups and stews.  But as temperatures rise and flowers bloom, we’re ready to swap rich and hearty for light and fresh”.


Serves 4-6  Time: 30 minutes


1 lb bucatini, spaghetti or other long pasta

1 1/2 cups fresh peas

12 marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained

3 TBS unsalted butter

1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese

2 TBS lemon juice


2 TBS freshly chopped mint for garnish

Lemon zest for garnish


Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water, cook till pasta is al dente, 6-8 minutes (or according to package instructions). One minute before pasta is done, add the peas to the pot.  Before draining, ladle out and reserve 1 cup pasta water. 

Drain pasta and peas in colander and immediately add artichoke hearts.  Toss to combine.  

Return pasta and vegetables to the pot, then add the butter and Pecorino cheese, and toss to coat.  Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to and the lemon juice, and continue tossing until the mixture forms a creamy coating.  Add additional water if needed.  Season with salt to taste.

To serve, transfer pasta to plates, and top with mint, lemon zest and black pepper.

Pasta Peas & Artichokes

Pasta Peas & Artichokes

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This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.


Yeah, yeah, we all know; “Make lemonade”

But what if you’re not thirsty?  What if it’s a cold day in March and really all you want is a cup of hot coffee?  And what if your mother, best friend, grandmother, business associate, sent you a bag of lemons from Florida?  Mmmmm why didn’t they send oranges or grapefruit?  Oh well, what to do?

1.  MENTAL HEALTH- (especially in February)

Lemon water can also prep up your mood and relieve you from depression and stress. Long distance walkers and world travelers as well as explorers look upon the lemon as a Godsend. When fatigue begins, a lemon is sucked through a hole in the top. Quick acting medicine it is, giving almost unbelievable refreshments.


Cauliflower tend to turn brown with even the slightest cooking. You can make sure the white vegetables stay white by squeezing a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on them before heating.


No wonder your kitchen cutting board smells! After all, you use it to chop onions, crush garlic, and prepare fish. To get rid of the smell and help sanitize the cutting board, rub it all over with the cut side of half a lemon or wash it in undiluted juice straight from the bottle.


You don’t need insecticides or ant traps to ant-proof your kitchen. Just give it the lemon treatment. First squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. The ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas: Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water and wash your floors with it; then watch the fleas and roaches flee. They hate the smell.


You’ve been making guacamole all day long for the big party, and you don’t want it to turn brown on top before the guests arrive. The solution: Sprinkle a liberal amount of fresh lemon juice over it and it will stay fresh and green. The flavor of the lemon juice is a natural complement to the avocados in the guacamole. Make the fruit salad hours in advance too. Just squeeze some lemon juice onto the apple slices, and they’ll stay snowy white.


For salon-worthy highlights, add 1/4 cup lemon juice to 3/4 cup water and rinse your hair with the mixture. Then, sit in the sun until your hair dries. To maximize the effect, repeat once daily for up to a week.


Lemon contains potassium which controls high blood pressure and reduces the effect of nausea and dizziness. Lemon water can reduce phlegm; and can also help you breathe properly and aids a person suffering with asthma.  Lemon is a diuretic – assists in the production of urine which helps you to reduce inflammation by flushing out toxins and bacteria while also giving you relief from arthritis and rheumatism.  Lemon water can fight throat infections thanks to its antibacterial property. If salt water does not work for you, try lime and water for gargling.


Don’t toss that soggy lettuce into the garbage. With the help of a little lemon juice you can toss it in a salad instead. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Then put the soggy lettuce in it and refrigerate for 1 hour. Make sure to dry the leaves completely before putting them into salads or sandwiches.


You probably think of marble as stone, but it is really petrified calcium (also known as old seashells). That explains why it is so porous and easily stained and damaged. Those stains can be hard to remove. If washing won’t remove a stubborn stain, try this: Cut a lemon in half, dip the exposed flesh into some table salt, and rub it vigorously on the stain. But do this only as a last resort; acid can damage marble. Rinse well.


You won’t need an ocean of calamine lotion the next time poison ivy comes a-creeping. Just apply lemon juice directly to the affected area to soothe itching and alleviate the rash.

Stay tuned for more helpful ways to use lemons in a future blog.  In the meantime you now know what to do “when life gives you lemons”

 Special thanks to my friend Gail for leading me to the lemons!



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English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter...

English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter farmers’ market in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey everybody, there’s only 4 more days to shop and plan your Thanksgiving Dinner.  I’m really lucky this year as we have been invited to a massive feast on Long Island.  This, of course, has given me time to wax eloquently about the beauty and creativeness you can imbue to the many side dishes of the turkey dinner.  I know everyone thinks the turkey is the star of the  meal and if we’re gauging things on size , I guess it wins.  However, don’t you think the color and texture of the myriad side dishes enhance the meal greatly?  And as you know from previous blog posts, this year I’m all about NOT serving the usual suspects unless they’re prepared in some different and innovative way.  So here is yet another interesting and tasty dish for you to consider serving.


2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into large  match sticks

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Juice of one orange

Grated zest of one orange

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Place parsnips in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Turn parsnips into  large roasting pan and roast, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add juice and zest, and toss to coat.  Return to oven and roast until parsnips have caramelized, 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to warm bowl and serve.

Serves: 6-8  –   recipe from Deborah Madison, New York Times  November 19, 2003


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Who ever said dessert isn’t healthy?  “Eat your fruits and veggies” – how many times have you heard that?  Here’s a great winter dessert that tasty, low-fat, sweet and tart and easy to make.


1/3 cup sugar

2Tbs flour

1 tsp. lemon peel

3/4 tsp lemon juice

3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced.

1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped


2/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar packed

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 T trans-fat-free margarine, melted

To prepare filling, combine sugar, flour and lemon peel in a medium bowl; mix well.  Add lemon juice, apples and cranberries; stir to mix.  Spoon into a large baking dish.

To prepare topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in small bowl.  Stir in the melted margarine.

Sprinkle topping over filling.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is bubbly and top is brown.

Heart-healthy recipe from United Health Care

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Red onions, lemon, and tarragon come together as a tangy topping for salmon and asparagus.

20 asparagus spears, trimmed to 6″ and halved lengthwise

2 large radishes, very thinly sliced

4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets 5 oz each, 1″ thick

coarse salt and pepper

1 small red onion thinly sliced

1/4 cup plus 1 TBS thinly sliced lemon zest strips, plus 1 TBS  plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

3 TBS fresh tarragon

1 TBS plus 1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Cut out four 12″ by 17″ sheets of parchment paper, fold each in half crosswise to form a crease

Divide asparagus and radishes evenly among parchment pieces, arranging mixture on 1 side of each crease.  Lay 1 salmon fillet on top of each pile. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss together onion, zest and juice, tarragon, 2 tsp oil, and 1/2 tsp salt; divide among salmon, spooning over tops.  Fold parchment over ingredients; make overlapping pleats to seal.

Bake on 2 baking sheets for 11-12 minutes for medium-rare, or 13 minutes for medium.  Unwrap; drizzle with remaining 2 tsp oil.

I’ve often avoided cooking fish because I think it’s either going to smell in the house or it will come out dry.  WELL, neither happens with this delicious dish.  Heart Healthy!

heart healthy fish, salmon, tarragon, lemon zest, red onion

Salmon is Heart Healthy

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Image via Wikipedia

Now there’s a crazy phrase! Let’s see how do you bake a tornado, or souffle a hurricane? Well look for this one sometime in the future in another blog.  Today is really about cooking;  what’s in the crock pot right now is Slow-Cooked Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey and it smells so good, the whole house is filled with the aroma.  I started on Saturday morning cooking;  Into the crock pot went the makings of Slow-Cooked Beef Minestrone see previous blog for recipe:

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/slow-cooked-beef-minestrone/. And while that was simmering all day, I decided to make some Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup also published in a previous blog: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/roasted-chicken-and-butternut-squash-soup. It wasn’t really that cold this weekend so I’m not sure where the urge to soup-things-up came from but nonetheless, I love soups and am glad I now have a few containers of Minestrone in the freezer.

Last night’s dinner was the Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash soup and when asked by you know who,“what’s for dinner”? and I told him, I got a less than enthusiastic reply.  I was informed that soup didn’t sound like much of a meal.  First of all I had to remind him that he has had it before and has remarked that “its a meal all by itself” because this soup is chunky, thick and full of chicken too.  So I thought about it and had recently seen a pasta recipe that I considered light- so why not make that as well.  Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce was delightful, I loved it and I never really told you know who that it had cream in it.

Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1# Linguine

1 tsp. Olive Oil

2 Shallots, minced

1 cup of Heavy Cream

1 TBSP Lemon Zest (1 lemon)

2 TBSP Lemon juice

Cook pasta and reserve 2 cups of  pasta water.  Drain and return to pot.  Cook shallots in oil in small pot over MEDIUM heat till tender (4 min).  Add cream and lemon zest and bring to boil and cook until slightly thickened ( I stirred almost constantly) about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper.  I added some pasta water at that point, judging the consistency as I like it.  I also sprinkled some grated cheese over the top also.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

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Image via Wikipedia

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

Now that I have OD’d on Reese’s peanut butter cups, malted milk balls and eaten more than my share of snack-size Snickers, I figure it’s time to start planning the Thanksgiving Day meal.   I came from a family who served the same side dishes year after year (TRA-DISH- UN)!  During the years my kids were growing up and Thanksgiving was a meal shared with the extended family, TRA-DISH-UN again ruled and certain sides were absolutely mandatory.  Now you may be thinking I’m talking about Candied Sweet Potatoes or Giblet gravy or well you know…but what I mean is stuffed artichokes, stuffed mushrooms and a certain bread stuffing. That was how the first 40 Thanksgivings went down.  I’m not criticizing those meals because I loved some of the family traditions we had;  Like sitting at the table from 1pm till 9pm.  After the main course, we would put a big bowl of grapes, apples and tangerines on the table and a bowl of mixed nuts (in the shells of course).  Then the coffee was brewed and the pies came out.  And once those dishes were cleared off the table, we played games.  It could be anything from Monopoly, Family Feud or Trivial Pursuit ( you can see the chronological progression in the choice of games).

Fast forward and for the last 20 years or so, I have let my autonomy and creativity take hold.  It’ has resulted in a file folder chock full of assorted recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner.  Stuffing has evolved through sausage, chestnut, cornbread and herb.  Depending on who’s at the table, the sides might include an old favorite such as string bean casserole known in my house as White  Trash Casserole (my kids term, not mine) or even (yuk) canned cranberry sauce.

All of this distertation is not really digression but rather a lead in to my idea of posting several dishes from Thanksgivings past and present over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe it’s a warning to those of you who don’t cook or who don’t like to vicariously cook through reading recipes.  So you have been forewarned and let the recipes begin!!!!


2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and cut into large match sticks

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Grated zest of one orange

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Place parsnips in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.  Turn parsnips into large roasting pan and roast, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, 10 -15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add juices and zest, and toss to coat.  Return to oven and roast until parsnips have caramelized, 5 – 10 minutes.  Transfer to warm bowl and serve.

Serves: 6-8     Time: 15-20 minutes

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