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Posts Tagged ‘zest’


Butternut Squash Risotto - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This was an incredibly easy weeknight dinner after a week of long and involved meals. You can also potentially use up holiday leftovers, since I pre-roasted the squash the day before and added the mashed squash right at the end. It still has all the holiday flavors, but it’s great all winter long.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1/2 butternut squash

2 cups arborio rice

zest and juice of 1 orange

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, warmed in the microwave or on the stove (you could substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 cup grated parmesan

Roast the squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes on a baking sheet with some of the olive oil brushed over it. It will become soft and you can scoop out the flesh. Mash up the squash well.

Meanwhile, saute the shallot and garlic in the remaining olive oil. Once they have softened, add the rice and allow to toast for a minute until they start to look a little translucent. Add the white wine and allow to cook down. Add the thyme and a little chicken stock. Continue to add stock slowly as it cooks away. It should have enough liquid to just cover, about the consistency of oatmeal.

When the rice is almost al dente, add the orange juice and zest along with the mashed squash. Stir to combine and allow to cook together for the last few minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Butternut Squash Risotto - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Crispy Orange- Scented Brussels Sprouts - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I created this recipe one night this week when we had only a few minutes to cook dinner but wanted some green veggies to go with some braised chicken. The lovely crispy leaves add texture and the orange zest gives it a light, citrusy aroma. It’s going to become a holiday favorite, and you can make it tonight in 20 minutes.

Crispy Orange-Scented Brussels Sprouts

1 package brussel sprouts, bottoms sliced off and mangy leaves removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

Zest of 1 orange

Slice the brussels sprouts in 1/4 inch slices, so that you have very thin slices and strips of sprouts. Some will fall apart, and that’s fine. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the edges of some of the leaves start to brown. Sprinkle the zest on top and stir through before serving.

Crispy Orange-Scented Brussels Sprouts - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I had a bunch of the Italian ladyfingers used for tiramisu, but no time or mascarpone to make the original. This is a pretty Americanized version, but I could just call it Lemon Pudding or Lemon Trifle and that would be fine too. No matter what you call it, it was a lovely end to the meal and I would make it again.

Lemon Tiramisu

1 box vanilla pudding, cooked to box instructions

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup Limoncello

1/4 cup Marsala

16 Italian ladyfingers

Combine the cooked vanilla pudding with half the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and vanilla extract. In a bowl or container big enough to fit the ladyfingers (one at a time), combine the rest of the lemon juice, Limoncello, and Marsala. Dip the ladyfingers one at a time into the mixture, long enough to absorb some liquid but not so long that they get soggy. Place in a single layer in your baking dish or cups. Spoon a light layer of the pudding mixture on top. Alternate layers until you’ve filled your dish. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but it’s best if you can wait at least a couple.

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I’m a big fan of quinoa because it reminds me of pasta but it’s actually a seed so it’s healthier. You can basically treat it as you would any small pasta and it works, although my favorites are either mushroom-based or citrus-based. When I saw these beautiful snap peas at the farmers market, it seemed like a natural fit for a healthy Sunday lunch.

Quinoa with Snap Peas and Mint

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)

1/2 cup white wine

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1.5 cups snap peas

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon mint, chopped

Saute the onion and garlic in a little extra virgin olive oil until they soften. Season with salt. Add the quinoa and allow to toast for a minute. Add the chicken stock and wine and let cook until the quinoa softens. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and zest, and honey and stir through. Add the snap peas and cook for the final minute. Top with the mint and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil when you serve it.

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As you might know by now, I love citrus. The olives in this recipe give it a nice salty, earthy bite and balances out the bright freshness of the citrus. Cooking this couscous in the juice really brings out the citrus flavor without adding fats like cheese and butter. I happened to find kaffir lime leaves and have tons leftover after making Thai curry, so I threw a couple in here. Feel free to leave them out, but I would suggest throwing in another herb or a bay leaf.

Mediterranean Citrus Couscous

1 cup whole wheat couscous

2 cups freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice (preferably more orange than lemon but whatever you have)

zest of the citrus used

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped (optional)

Bring the juice to a boil and add in the kaffir, garlic, zest, and salt. Let it reduce down a bit and then add the couscous. Boil according to package instructions– the liquid should cook off but you can drain it if you have leftover. Stir in the olives and parsley.

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I’ve had two really memorable and fantastic vacations to the Florida Keys, thanks to the suggestion of an old friend and coworker who loves the Keys. As soon as we go over the bridge leaving Miami and enter the Keys, life seems to slow down and everything seems right. We stop for some fish tacos and a landshark, and vacation has started. A slice of this key lime pie and I’m back there, fresh off a boat from a day of fishing and watching the sunset while some paddle surfers float by.

Key Lime Pie

1 package of graham crackers (1/3 of a 1 pound box)

5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

2/3 cup key lime juice, freshly squeezed

zest from the key limes

1 can condensed milk (14 ounces)

1 cup heavy cream, very cold

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 key lime, sliced for garnish

Combine the graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar in a food processor and process until it’s the consistency of wet sand. Butter a 9 inch pie pan and pour the graham crackers into the crust. Press down so that it creates one even layer and goes up the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Beat the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl with an electric mixer for a couple minutes until frothy. Add the condensed milk and beat together. Lower the speed and add the key lime juice, beating until just combined. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie shell and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until set. Let cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour.

Beat the cream with the powdered sugar until it’s in stiff peaks. Decorate the top with as much whipped cream as you like. Garnish with some key lime slices.

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This salad says Spring to me like nothing else. It’s bright, green, and fresh looking and the salty bite of the pecorino gives it beautiful depth of flavor. The mint makes it even more refreshing and it pairs well with anything. It’s still cold and rainy here in New York, and this is a much needed reminder that Spring is just around the corner.

Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad

2 cups fava beans, shelled from the outer layer

1 cup arugula

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped mint

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Pecorino shavings

Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for 2 minutes so that you can remove the white outer shell. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking. Pinch one end of a fava so that the bean inside pops out.

Combine the shelled favas with the arugula, lemon juice and zest, mint, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Plate with some of the pecorino shavings on top to garnish.

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