Everyday Gourmet

By Kim Dannies

 Zest is best

Tangy, colorful citrus adds easy zip to spring foods – all you need is a plump orange or lemon. Wash the fruit with hot water and dry carefully. Zest fruit on a micro grater, or use a vegetable peeler to cut off long thin layers of the color. Avoid the white pith layer, it is bitter. Mince the zest strips in a mini-chopper or finely dice it by hand. Use the desired amount reserving the rest of the zest for another dish. Just like fairy dust, zest is best on just about everything.


Zesty Greek Chicken

Costco’s organic chicken breasts are the perfect size for this recipe, and they grill beautifully. This would make a gorgeous dish for Mother’s Day.

For 2 hours (and up to 24 hours) prep the following:

Marinate 6-8 chicken breasts in Ken’s Lite Caesar Dressing.

Combine 1-pint of grape tomatoes, quarter-cut

one-half cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

one-half cup of fresh basil, ribbon-cut.

Add the zest of a lemon or orange; salt and pepper to taste; and one-half cup olive oil. Stir and set.

Grill chicken. Place breasts side by side on a white platter and cover each one with a heaping spoonful of the olive mixture.

Optional finish: top with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil. Serves 6- 8.


Lemon Zest Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9” springform pan.

Finely grind the zest of 2 lemons and 2 cups of unpeeled almonds with one and one-fourth cups of sugar in a processor.

Prep 8 egg whites in a glass bowl; add a pinch of salt. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Gently fold the ground almonds and zest into the egg whites (maintain as much volume as possible.)

Using a strainer, shake in 6 tablespoons of flour. Gently fold it in until just mixed.

Spread the batter into prepped pan; bake 50 minutes.

Cake is ready when center pierce with toothpick is dry.

Cool 20 minutes, release from pan and serve with fresh mixed berries.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France.  She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to