Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring has sprung - well, sorta


     I feel like the groundhog that is finally emerging from her buried cave, shaking off the last sleepiness of winter, and now ready to embrace the beauty of Spring.  Well, almost.  Since we live in sunny South Florida, our Springtime is 37 hours long.  We are already well into summer weather, highs in the 90's with 248% humidity.  With the now constant hum of the air-conditioner in my ears, I learn to adjust as this weather will only last for nine more months.  Then we will get our 42 hours of Fall.


     Principessa (my Mom) and I recently hosted a Saturday luncheon.  Not something we usually do, but we did want to take advantage of the beautiful day and share it with our wonderful friends and family - our way to celebrate Spring, however fleeting.  We decided to change it from the normal 'ladies that lunch', and allowed some of our favorite guys to join us, and of course The Babe.  We had so much fun, drinking our wine spritzers in the middle of the day, that I am sure we will now do this more often.  We decided to make a medley of salads, and served them with crusty ciabatta rolls heated in the oven.  I turned to my Ina Garten cookbook, and imagined what she will make for our lunch on the beach at her home in the Hamptons someday.  I am not holding my breath on that dream, as we have all come to know that she's not the best at granting wishes lately...

Dijon Chicken Salad

*The roasting of the chicken and shrimp is a step you do not want to skip - the flavors come thru beautifully!

Dijon Mustard Chicken Salad
 ~ Ina Garten


  • 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken in large bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, add the broccoli florets to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, until crisp tender, drain, and place into a bowl of ice water until cool. This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.
For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, wine, mustards, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add enough sauce to the warm chicken to moisten well. Add the tarragon, broccoli, and tomatoes and mix gently to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Shrimp & Scallop Salad

Roasted Shrimp & Scallop Salad

~ Ina Garten


  • 2 1/2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
  • 1 pound sea scallops - I added the scallops to this salad since they are the Babe's favorite
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons small-diced red onion


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, rinse the scallops. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp and scallops on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together themayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the shrimp and scallops are cool, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature.

The Ladies Wine Spritzers
Fill a stemed wine glass with ice.  Add 4 ounces of wine of choice, red or white, chardonney or pinot grigio, there is no right or wrong on this cocktail.  Top with 2 ounces of lemon-lime soda and 2 ounces of club soda or seltzer.  Garnish glass with a slice of lemon or lime.  Start sipping, and let the gossip begin!  

Drink happy!  Happy Spring!

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