Archive for July, 2011

1 easy way to zest up any dish

Back in culinary school, I had a chef-instructor who was known for her love of lemon juice. Adding it to dishes, she would say, is like “Adding bursts of sunshine.”

Very true. A squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice can really brighten a dish with tang. But there’s an often overlooked piece of that lemon, lime or other citrus that can add an equal bite: the skin, aka the “zest.”

If the juice of a fresh lemon packs rays of flavor, then pieces of zest are like culinary meteorites for your mouth.

Adding the zest of a citrus fruit can enliven any number of foods, from salad dressings, pancakes and rice to ice cream and, one of my favorites, cheesecake. And for those counting calories, it’s a bonus to know that the zest, like little bits of herbs, add nearly zero calories.

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Let freedom and feasting ring: Fourth of July recipes

This holiday weekend we’ll be celebrating all things freedom here in America. We’ll also be doing a lot of feasting in the process.

Burgers and dogs will assuredly be a staple on many barbecues come July 4, but if you’re looking for some other stars for the day, check out the recipe ideas below. You’ll find a link to my original post here on, where you can find step-by-step instructions and photos on how to make it.

Here’s to a happy, delicious Fourth!

  • BBQ sauce: If you’re going to have some sort of meat on a barbecue, this is a must. Try my version for a real kick.
  • Tapenade: This olive-based spread is amazing on crostini or as a dip for veggies.
  • Homemade Salsa: You’ve got the chips, now make this. All you need is a blender, knife and a can opener.
  • Corn avocado bacon salad: Need I say more?
  • Summer relish: This stuff works magic on burgers and hot dogs.
  • Oven-baked potato fries: These make baked potatoes look soooo boring.
  • Orzo salad: This pasta salad is great for those wanting a lighter side dish.
  • Couscous: Another light, no-brainer dish that’s a great side.
  • Homemade vinaigrette: Got a whisk? Then you can make this.
  • Hummus: You can make it yourself for a fraction of the price.
  • Pasta salad: Two words: Dee-lish.

And remember: If you’re cooking meat, make sure it is actually done before stuffing it in your mouth or serving it to others. How can you know when it’s done? Find out HERE.


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