italian lemon slush

italian lemon slush cocktail

I can’t imagine there’s anything I wouldn’t love about the city of Venice. Since I haven’t been there yet I remain a vicarious traveler; picturing a sepia-colored city like no other, floating over an ancient network of canals, all those mysterious alleyways winding through a landscape of crumbling palaces.

Twenty-seven summers ago my best friend took off in the direction of Europe, with no real itinerary or return date. I’d planned up until the last minute to go with her, saving all my waitressing cash in a box under my mattress, but drama overrode – it became suddenly necessary that I break up with my then-boyfriend and find a new apartment. How unromantic!

lemon peel syrup for italian slush

Everything worked out fine in the end, but missing that adventure was my regret. In the middle of her travels, my friend called me from Venice; she was running out of money but still hoping I’d change my mind and meet her there in Italy.

I felt a tiny bit jealous that she was in a place I’d only ever dreamed about seeing, until she described the harrowing time she was having there; getting off the train alone in the middle of the night, finding the Piazza San Marco teeming with rats and also a few human ones intent on stealing her backpack and who knows what else.

It can happen in any city anywhere, but somehow, knowing it was less than paradise at that moment in Venice made it a little easier to accept what I was missing.
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spicy scampi with rosemary cannellini

spicy-scampi-cannellini-recipe

What’s your back pocket way to put dinner together when life has been too hectic? You know those days; when there’s no plan, not much fresh stuff in the refrigerator and hardly any energy left to think about cooking.

I can hear someone saying “I order takeout” – and I get that. I do too! After long days cooking for other people during my other job, there are many nights when I’m perfectly happy to leave dinner in the capable hands of Someone Else.

spicy-scampi-rosemary-cannellini-recipe

But there’s still something a lot more satisfying about cooking at home, creating a simple meal from what’s on hand. I rely on some basics to carry me through those days. I keep shrimp in the freezer, and along with a few other pantry staples - including cannellini beans, tomatoes and dried pasta or rice, dinner is served.

Defrosting the shrimp in a big bowl of water takes less than 15 minutes, and if your shrimp happen to be already peeled and deveined the rest of this recipe will take barely 15 minutes more.

Otherwise, if you’re able, make cooking a collaborative effort and employ a (hungry) kitchen helper to do the peeling while you open a bottle of wine and chop some rosemary.

Rosemary will keep in your fridge for a week or more and can survive indoors as a houseplant during the colder months, which in my book makes it a staple. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to smell and to cook with.

spicy-shrimp-cannellini-recipe

spicy scampi with rosemary cannellini

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound jumbo (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  2. 1 tablespoon crushed garlic (3 or 4 cloves)
  3. 1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
  4. ½ - 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary and Italian parsley
  8. 1 cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained
  9. ¼ cup canned tomato puree or passata; such as Pomi
  10. 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the garlic, fresh and dried chili, ½ teaspoon salt and the olive oil.
  2. Place a medium (10-inch) skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp mixture in one layer. Cook 1 minute; turn the shrimp over and toss in the herbs and cannellini. Stir in the tomato puree and ¼ cup water; bring to a simmer cook a few more minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Add the butter and swirl until it melts into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  4. Serve hot over cooked pasta or rice.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/02/spicy-scampi-with-rosemary-cannellini/