Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

by Jennifer

I’m going to come clean:  this recipe is supposed to serve 4 and tonight it really only served 2 and a bit.  Adapted from Gourmet magazine, it’s simple to make and delicious, but one of my children declared he liked it “except for the sauce”, and another decided she doesn’t like lemon;  the third gamely ate a couple gnocchi and called it a day.  Though I seem to recall that when I last made this dish, before kids, my husband and I ate the entire thing that time, too…..

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, not defrosted
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 lb. dried potato gnocchi
  • generous 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano

While you’re waiting for a large pot of salted water to come to a boil, simmer the peas, cream, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.

After 5 minutes, add the spinach in batches, tossing gently just until all the spinach wilts.  Meanwhile cook the gnocchi until al dente (they should all be floating on top), reserve some cooking water, and drain.

Remove pan with spinach from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice,

then add the gnocchi and cheese, stirring to combine.  Add some reserved cooking water to thin the sauce if desired.


Leek and Lemon Linguine, Provencal Bok Choy

by Jennifer

The linguine recipe has been adapted from Eating Well magazine;  the bok choy from Gourmet magazine.  This dinner, once everything was chopped and prepped, came together quickly, and was fantastic (if you like lemon, that is).  Serves 4.

Leek and Lemon Linguine

  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 1/2 lemons)
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced and well-rinsed
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • heaping 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan, divided
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • freshly grated zest of two lemons
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives, plus extra for sprinkling

In a large skillet or pot combine linguine, water, wine, lemon juice, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently,

until the linguine is almost al dente and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup chives, and continue cooking for another 1 – 2 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese and chives.

Provencal Bok Choy

  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf (or 1/2 California bay leaf)
  • 2 (3 x 1”) strips orange zest, slivered
  • 2 – 2 1/2 lbs bok choy, cut crosswise into 1 – 2” pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add garlic through orange zest and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add bok choy, tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper, lower heat to medium, and cook,

stirring occasionally, until the bok choy is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in parsley and discard bay leaf.

Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Oregano Oil; Dandelion Salad

by Jennifer

You can make the tomatoes and oil earlier in the day;  bring to room temperature before serving.  The salad greens, too, can be washed and spun dry ahead of time, and left in the refrigerator.  The salmon recipe is an adaptation from Gourmet, and serves 6, as does the salad.

Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Oregano Oil

For tomatoes and lemon-oregano oil:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 1 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 24 fresh oregano leaves, plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon

For couscous:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups pearl (also called Israeli) couscous – I used whole wheat
  • 1 3/4 cups no-chicken broth
  • 1 cup water

For salmon:

  • 6 6-oz. pieces salmon fillet with skin, preferably wild and sustainably caught
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise

For tomatoes and oil:  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper in a small shallow dish.

Heat olive oil in a 10” skillet over medium heat until shimmering, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Remove pan from heat and add the basil and oregano leaves.

Pour oil over the tomatoes.

Roast tomatoes in the oven for about 2 hours, until very soft but not falling apart.

When cool, use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a bowl, then pour the oil mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate container, discarding solids.  Stir lemon zest, juice, and chopped oregano into the oil.

For the couscous:

Heat olive oil in a 3-quart pot over medium heat.  Add the couscous and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 3 – 4 minutes.

Add broth and water, bring to a simmer, then cook, covered, for 12 minutes

or until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, another 10 minutes,

then stir in 3 TBS of the lemon oregano oil.

While the couscous is cooking, make the salmon.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with the rack in the upper third of the oven.

Arrange salmon skin-side down, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then roast for 12 minutes or until just cooked through.

To serve, divide couscous on plates, top with a piece of salmon, then tomatoes, olives, and a generous drizzle of lemon-oregano oil.

Dandelion Salad 

  • 4 oz. dandelion greens, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. escarole, inner leaves preferred, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toss together dandelion greens, escarole and parsley.

Whisk together lemon juice through pepper.

Pour dressing over greens and toss well to combine.

Leek and Mascarpone Cheese Risotto, Grilled Asparagus

by Jennifer

This risotto, adapted from Cooking Light, is wonderful, requires a little forethought.  You make the broth first, so either leave enough time beforehand, or make it up to a day before.  The easiest way to wash leeks is to chop them first, then rinse them well with cool water in a colander.  I served the risotto with grilled asparagus:  prepare your grill, take one bunch of asparagus – about a pound or so – and toss it with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill for about 5 minutes or so, turning once, until lightly charred but still crisp-tender.  Serves 4 – 6.

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 large leeks, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup basil, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1” pieces
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBS chopped preserved lemon OR zest from one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine water, 2 cups chopped leeks, 1 cup parsley, 1/2 cup basil, and salt through celery in a large pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower heat to a simmer and let broth simmer for about 35 minutes.

Drain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized pot, discarding solids.  If you felt like measuring it (I did not), you should have about 5 1/2 cups broth.

Add a pinch of saffron to the pot and keep the pot on low heat.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add remaining leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add wine and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.

Add 2 cups of hot broth and cook, stirring frequently,

until liquid is almost absorbed.

Repeat with another 2 cups of broth.  Add remaining broth, and when liquid is almost absorbed,

add remaining parsley, basil, mascarpone cheese, Parmesan cheese, preserved lemon or lemon zest, salt and pepper, stirring well until cheeses melt.

Serve immediately.

Lemon-Olive Oil Muffins

by Jennifer

This adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe makes 12 muffins.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 TBS milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350, and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk together flours through salt in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt through egg whites.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until combined.  Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

While the muffins cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth.  Spoon glaze over cooled muffins and let the muffins stand for a few minutes until the glaze has set.

Lemon-Blueberry Scones

by Jennifer

This is my adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe;  they freeze well, too.  Use fresh blueberries when they’re available in season.

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • grated zest of a large lemon
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • about 1 tsp sparkling white sugar or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour through salt in a food processor and pulse a couple times.

Add butter and pulse a few times,

until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Add the zest, lemon juice and buttermilk,

and pulse until the dough just begins to come together.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring the dough together to form a roughly 8” long oval.  Gently press frozen blueberries over surface of dough.

Fold dough in on the left and right, like you’re folding a piece of paper to go into an envelope.  Gently fold dough over in half.  Press dough into a roughly 7” circle.

Transfer circle to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Cut circle into 8 equal triangles, and separate them from each other slightly.  Brush scones with egg white and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Lemony Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta, Hearts of Palm Salad

by Jennifer

This pasta recipe uses one skillet, and the liquid reduces to a creamy sauce for the pasta.

Serves 4.

  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. lemon pepper pappardelle (I use Trader Joe’s brand) or fettucine
  • 12 oz. bag frozen artichokes
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • chopped parsley for serving

Heat 2 TBS oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat;  add shrimp and cook just until they turn pink, 2 – 3 minutes.  Transfer shrimp to a clean bowl.

Heat 1 TBS oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat and add garlic, cooking just until it’s fragrant.

Add pasta, artichokes, wine, water and sea salt and bring to a boil on high heat, stirring.

Lower heat to medium-high, enough to keep a steady boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, about 9 minutes.

Right before the pasta is finished cooking, add the lemon zest, juice and shrimp, stirring to combine.  Serve with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Hearts of Palm Salad – adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4.

  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped hearts of palm, from a 14.5 oz. can
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine tomatoes through salt and pepper in a bowl, tossing well to combine;  cover and refrigerate at least one and up to a few hours.

When ready to serve, divide the lettuce on 4 plates, and top with the tomato/hearts of palm mixture.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.