Everything about this dish falls into the splurge category, especially if you live here in the Northeast, where shrimp come from elsewhere and Meyer lemons do not grow on trees. However, the holiday weekend approaches, and who deserves this over-the-top indulgent appetizer more than friends and family coming to the first official celebration of the summer season? There's nothing complicated here. Steam, poach, broil or grill jumbo shrimp. Mix up a fresh sauce with Greek yogurt and fresh dill weed and, if you can find one, a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. Simple, elegant, and sure to be the first dish to disappear at any party.
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The small market in my village surprises me on a regular basis, despite the fact that I shop there two or three times every week. On the day I found both a locally made habañero salsa and a spice mix used in the sauce for Rhode Island's famous New York System weiners, I knew I had to pair the two in a recipe. At first I'd planned to fold the salsa into the meatball mixture, but it buried the taste of the spices, so the salsa became the dipping sauce, and the weiner spices really shine in these meatballs. If you don't live in Rhode Island, you can make your own weiner spice mix. The key ingredient, celery salt, gives these meatballs a distinctly Ocean State flavor. The meatballs make a great appetizer, or you can toss them with pasta or serve on a pizza, as we did in our Rhode Island Recipes cookbook. Make a double batch and stash some in the freezer.
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Until I moved to Rhode Island a decade ago, I'd never heard of johnnycakes (which are also spelled jonnycakes, so let's get that out of the way up front). Johnnycakes, made of cornmeal and gluten-free, are to Rhode Islanders what pancakes are to the rest of the world. Most often they're served just like pancakes, with butter and a glug of local maple syrup. These savory two-bite roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan johnnycakes fit nicely into the end of the day, as a cocktail party appetizer or snack at a barbecue. As with any recipe that has just a few ingredients, be sure to use the best cheese, basil and pepper you can find. Serve them hot off the griddle, and spell them whichever way you like.
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Sometimes we overlook the obvious, the recipes that seem so simple, too simple, and we forget that those simple recipes often are really, really good. So there we were, my husband Ted and I, stuck in the house with a storm on the way. I'd planned to cook a few recipes to share with you, and I opened the refrigerator to start pulling out ingredients. That's when I saw the eggs, already hard-boiled. How could I resist deviled eggs? I always have lemons and capers in the pantry, and some fresh parsley (or dill) was a perfect addition. These deviled eggs came together in minutes, and, as it turned out, resistance was futile. Before we knew it, Ted and I had devoured the entire batch. Lemon caper deviled eggs will be a sure hit on your holiday menu.
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