Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Meal Favorites by Amy Jo

Today, I am honored to introduce you to my friend Amy Jo.

She is the mother of not one, but TWO sets of twins.  She is a great cook, and a very thoughtful friend.
(She's also my VT for the time being!)

Amy Jo blogs over at Blessings Come in Twos

I hope you will enjoy what she shares with us today!

I love Spring. With all it brings- I especially love the new aromatic herbs -juicy fruits and local vegetables from the farmers market we haven't seen in months. Out with the heavy in with the light.

I have seleced some of my favorite recipes for a Spring Meal for you to enjoy with family friends and anyone who loves to eat.

Happy Spring Everyone.

Baby Green Salad with Blueberries Melon and Strawberries
6 Cups baby lettuce greens or arugula
1 Cup blueberries
1 Cup honeydew Melon
1 Cup hulled and sliced strawberries
5 Mint leaves finely slivered
carmelized pecans on top for presentation(optional)
thinly sliced Cucumbers also optional

Rasberry Vinaigrette
1 Tblsp rasberry vinegar
2 Tblsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tblsp olive Oil
salt to taste

Whisk together all ingredients of vinaigrette. Toss greens with vinaigrette until lightly coated. Scatter the fruit over the greens and drizzle a little more dressing. Garnish with mint and nuts cut just before serving.
Recipe from "Raising the Salad Bar" by Catherine Walthers

Shrimp and Asparagus in a Lemony Basil Alfredo Sauce over Fettucine
•1 pound Shrimp, deveined and peeled
•1 small bunch of Asparagus
•1 box Fettucine pasta
For the sauce:
•3 Tbsp Olive Oil
•2-3 Tbsp water
•1 Shallot, diced**
•5-7 Basil Leaves, chopped**
•1 Lemon, zest and juice
•1 1/2 cups Light Cream
•1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
•Salt and Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the fettucine, al dente, according to the package directions.
Steam asparagus, chop into small pieces, and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add shrimp to the pan and cook about 5 minutes until they are completely cooked through. They will be pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

Add a small amount of water to the pan, over medium heat, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of shrimp stuck to the pan. Continue scraping the bottom of the pan until the bits are loosened and water has mostly evaporated. **See note below.**
Then, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the chopped shallot and cook until slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the cream and the zest. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly.
Add the cheese, basil, and the juice from 1/2 the lemon (about a Tbsp) to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Continue simmering for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a bit more cream or milk to thin it out.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add a bit more lemon juice, if desired.
Add shrimp and asparagus to the sauce for a few seconds to reheat. Toss the fettucine in the sauce.
(Serves 4)

** This step is called deglazing. Those little caramelized bits in the pan are called sucs. There’s some yummy flavor in those sucs, as long as you don’t burn them. The cool water will sizzle in the hot pan and help loosen the sucs while you scrape them up. This step will prevent the bits from burning on the bottom, while preserving the shrimpy flavor for the sauce. A bit of stock or white wine would work well for this step too, but water is just fine. If the sucs burn, clean out the pan before cooking the shallot.
Recipe from

Lemon Yogurt Cake
(makes one loaf)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
Recipe from " Barefoot Contessa: At Home" Cookbook


  1. great yummy recipes and a great family...double blessing.

  2. Mmmm, i am definitely trying the shrimp and asparagus and the baby green salad for our Easter Dinner.....looks so delicious and the ingredients is not so complicated ! thanks a lot!

  3. everything looks delicious!!!! For sure I will be making that cake next weekend for mutual, my young women are gonna go bananas over it!!!!

  4. Just plain beautiful to look at, and even better to imagine eating!!


  5. Love the recipe and I am going to try it for sure. Thanks for sharing! LeAnn

  6. Looks SO good! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. OH, these look wonderful!! I am always looking for great recipes!! Thank you.

  8. I made the lemon cake for my Young Women's meeting today but I fear it might not make it there! It's so yummy!

  9. Ooo! I will have to try these!

  10. I have an awesome menu this year.........Remembering last year and how awesome It was  to be part of your blog.