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Archive for April, 2010

Like lemon?  Then you’ll love these zesty and moist cakes with a sweet lemon glaze. Perfect for a brunch, picnic, or taking to the office to share.  The eggy cake batter includes 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest, which gives a hint of tang on the inside.  But it’s the double dose of lemon on the outside that really puts these over the top:  shortly after taking the cakes out out of the oven, you drizzle a sweet lemon syrup on top, allowing the liquid to soak in.  Later, you frost the tops with a creamy lemon glaze.   Adapted from Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe here.

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Veal, or meat from a young calf, is not something I eat or cook with often, but when done right it’s amazingly tender and flavorful and much lower fat than other cuts of beef. The classic Italian veal preparations of piccata (with lemon and capers) and milanese (with arugula or basil and tomato salad) are my favorites.  Both start with a basic seasoned, breaded, pan-fried cutlet.

To make the perfect “schnitzel,” as the Austrians like to call it, you dredge your veal cutlet first in flour, then in egg wash, and then in seasoned bread crumbs.  Over medium-high heat, pan-fry in olive oil for just a couple of minutes on each side.  The key to a great piece of veal is not to overcook it, otherwise it will become tough and chewy.

Top off your schnitzel with a wonderful summery salad of diced tomato, cubed fresh mozzarella, and strips of fresh basil — all tossed in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. And on the side, add any steamed fresh vegetable that catches your eye in the produce section or your local farmers’ market.  Tonight the beans were looking fantastic, and they tasted even better.

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After a little hiatus from this space in March, I’m kicking off April — and capping a beautiful Easter Weekend — with this wonderful, simple shrimp and pasta dish. I find myself increasingly drawn to “simple” preparations, like this one, in which the flavors, colors, textures of the individual elements of a dish shine for what they are.   The vibrant colors of the fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp Italian parsley and wild caught shrimp play big when tossed lightly with spaghetti in an olive oil, white wine, onion, garlic sauce.  The juices from the shrimp give the sauce added depth and a couple pinches of dried red pepper flakes give it a little punch. The dish does not have a lot of ingredients and doesn’t take long to prepare, but it’s packed with flavor.  I really love how healthy and light this is, too. Perfect for a warm spring or summer evening meal with a tossed salad and crusty bread.

Spaghetti with Shrimp Sauce

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 pound ripe roma or plum tomatoes

3/4 pound spaghetti

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped

Red pepper flakes, salt/pepper to taste

(1) Boil spaghetti, drain and set aside.

(2) Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes over low heat in a large fry or saute pan.  Then add shrimp and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to overcook.

(2) Add the white wine and cook until liquid begins to evaporate, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add tomatoes and seasoning to taste, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.

(4) Toss spaghetti in the pan with the sauce and shrimp, topping with the fresh chopped parsley.

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