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Zest For Lemons

I can easily live without the lemon variety of automobiles, but I can’t live without lemons in my kitchen for cooking. Lemons are always on my shopping list, along with the many herbs I can’t cook without. Lemons spell fresh to me, not only in fragrance, but in the added zip they add to countless meals. Try the Chicken Piccata or any of these other zesty lemon dishes.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or traditional breadcrumbs if unavailable)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-3/4 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon drained bottled capers, rinsed and chopped
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thin slices of lemon
Lemon zest, for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Place two of the breast halves on top of plastic wrap. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat pounder until about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining 2 breast halves.

Mix breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper in a shallow pie plate. Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Working in two batches, place the chicken in the breadcrumbs mixture and turn to coat on all sides. Shake off the excess crumbs and add to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Pour off the fat from the skillet and return the skillet to the heat. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring to pick up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer, turning often, until warmed through and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add butter and capers. Season with salt and pepper and heat just until the butter has melted. Serve on warmed plates with a spoonful of the skillet sauce, topped with lemon slices, lemon zest, and parsley. Serves 4.

8 oz. spaghetti
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain and place spaghetti in a greased 1-1/2-quart casserole dish. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Pour mixture over spaghetti in casserole dish. Mix well. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through. Remove from oven and add grated Parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

3 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Small sprig of rosemary (hold stem and strip leaves, discarding stems)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook until tender. Combine the remaining ingredients. Drain potatoes; add lemon mixture and toss to coat. Serves 2.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

The Chocolate Icebox Pie in the August issue called for 6 Tablespoons of milk, but failed to say how to use it. Melt the 10 oz. chocolate bar with the milk over a double boiler or over water on low heat, stirring frequently.


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