Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ushering in Spring

How quickly the month went as we ushered in spring. The Southwest region jump starts a new season with gorgeous blooms everywhere. A return trip to Tucson Botanical Gardens showed a whole new scene. What a difference six weeks makes. Step inside and enjoy an early spring. 

The butterflies exhibit was a scene of frenzied activity.
I had to be really quick to get these shots.

This meal was the perfect ending to a day enjoying an early spring.

Mango-Chutney Salad
Cook's notes:This is not your standard deli style chicken salad with mayo, celery, and sometimes, chopped up eggs. No, this one is the kind that you get when you go to lunch with the ladies at 'Tea Room Restaurants' all across the country. But it did get a huge stamp of approval from my husband.
Plain Greek Yogurt can be substituted for the mayonnaise. This recipe can be easily doubled. Use the ratio for dressing equal parts of mayonnaise and mango chutney. Curry spice is strong so I recommend starting out small with 1/2 tsp. taste then increase as needed.
The curry and chutney is what makes this salad really take center stage over traditional chicken salad.
Recipe adapted from and serves 4
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, diced or use a deli rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 3 TB. green onion,chopped
  • 3 TB. Miracle Whip or lite mayonnaise
  • 1/2-1 tsp. curry
  • 2 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 3 TB. mango chutney ( I tested with Major Grey's Chutney)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds-reserve 1/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup dried cran-raisins (plump up in a cup of boiling water and drain) or substitute 1 cup sliced red grapes 
  • 1/2 cup crisp apple, diced
  • glazed walnuts or almonds
  • optional: 1 small can of water chestnuts, drained and diced 
  • Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl mix chutney, mayonnaise, green onions,curry powder and parsley flakes.
  • Add in diced chicken, 1/2 cup nuts, cran-raisins or grapes, apples, celery
  • Chill several hours. 
  • Serving options: on a bed of lettuce with rest of nuts as a garnish , or as a croissant filling or as an appetizer placed in mini-phyllo cups. 

Lemon-Rosemary Coffee Cake
Cook's notes: A perfect coffee cake for lunch, brunch or tea. Fresh or dried rosemary compliments the lemony flavor. Buttermilk makes it very moist. A 9 inch spring form pan was suggested for baking but I substituted using a 9 inch round cake pan.
recipe adapted from Southern Living February 2012.

  • 1 large lemon or 2 medium ones
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. apple pie spice or 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter cubed
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1-1/2 tsp. dried rosemary 
  • 1/3 cup prepared lemon curd (found in aisle with jellies)
  • powdered sugar for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees-line bottom and sides of cake pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Zest lemons to equal 3 TB and squeeze lemons to equal 5 TB juice.
  • Reserve 1 TB. zest and 1 TB. lemon juice.
  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse 3-4 times until blended or use a mixer.
  • Add in small butter cubes and pulse 6-7 times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs or use a pastry cutter.
  • Add in baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon or apple pie spice and rosemary, beat on low until blended.
  • Add to flour/butter mixture buttermilk, egg, 4 TB. lemon juice and 1 TB. lemon zest, beat till smooth.
  • In a small bowl mix 1/3 cup lemon curd, 1 TB. lemon juice and 1 TB. lemon zest, whisk until well combined
  • Pour half batter in prepared cake pan or springform pan, spread evenly over batter the lemon curd mixture, add rest of batter on top and smooth out batter.
  • Zest a bit of lemon over the top of batter and bake for 35 minutes. 
  • Cool 30 minutes on a cooling rack then remove foil and continue cooling lemon cake on rack.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, those flowers, those butterflies...thanks for this gift of spring. I appreciate it on a brisk Minnesota day.