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Taste of Spring April 5, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Light, Food.

PhotobucketIs it just me, or does lemon just taste like spring?  I mean, yes, the “season” for citrus fruit is winter and all, but it’s just so bright and, well, springy, you know?

I’d even go so far as to say “summery,” but I kind of feel like I’d be getting ahead of myself.  After all, the snow has barely melted!

Meanwhile, my parents stopped on their way home from their vacation the other evening (they’d spent a couple of weeks in the Carribean), and my mother fished a mostly-yellow lemon out of her pocket that she’d picked with her own little hands.

Now you can be pretty sure she didn’t pick that after their flight landed in Buffalo!


Anyway, I do like to keep plenty of  citrus on hand – lemons, limes, grapefruits – to help brighten up the dreary days of winter, as well as those days of early, impatient spring.

Come on, spring!

When last month’s Cooking Light arrived, it was clear that I’m not the only one who likes a little citrus sunshine during the last gasp of winter – there was an entire feature on Meyer lemons.

PhotobucketUnfortunately, I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen a Meyer lemon, let alone eaten one.  I do understand that they’re a bit sweeter than regular lemons (possibly a citrus love-child of a lemon and a mandarin orange?), but also that they can usually be interchanged with regular lemons with minimal damage to the dish.

So here we were, plenty of lemons on hand, a new, lemon-fresh issue of Cooking Light, and some chicken breasts.

PhotobucketNot without some trepidation, we went ahead and made Cooking Light‘s version of chicken piccata.  Not a lot of trepidation, mind you – we’ve been pleasantly surprised by virtually all of the CL recipes we’ve tried.

But chicken piccata – that’s browned  chicken breasts with a lemon sauce.

A lemon butter sauce.

Take it from a former farm girl – slash – ag major – butter is full of fat.

And all the experts tell us that fat is, well, fatty.  And, so they say, not good.


Well, all the experts are telling us that except the ones who tell us that fat equals flavor.

Which is also true.

I like those experts much better.

I mean, have you ever tried  reduced fat, or, heaven forbid, non-fat cheese?  Yeah, not only do you lose flavor, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired.

But we’ve noticed that Cooking Light doesn’t seem inclined to play that old switcheroo game – they don’t try to make real food using fake ingredients.


Ultimately, we ended up comparing the Cooking Light chicken piccata recipe to another, non-light recipe (maybe from Joy of Cooking – I don’t actually remember), and it was virtually the same – a slight reduction in the amount of butter called for, and that was it.

But really – lemon juice, white wine, chicken broth, plus the fond in the pan – as long as there’s some butter involved, it’s pretty hard to screw up, you know?


And so, our lovely spring chicken piccata, made with one lemon, anyway, that was hand-picked by my vacationing  mother – while slightly “lighter” than what may be traditional – was still mighty tasty.  And lemony.

Add bonus points for using ingredients that are usually floating around anyway, and even more because it was quick and done on the stovetop in one pan – we’ll make this chicken piccata again, for sure!




1. Nicole Aka: Nicko - April 5, 2011

I always enjoy reading your blog posts, you always cheer me up so I would like to just say thank you for blogging 🙂 oh… and that chicken looks YUMMY!

Thanks, Nicole. I hope you’re well. . . I haven’t heard from you in ages! And definitely try the chicken – it was very good! 😀

2. Cristina - April 5, 2011

That looks absolutely divine. It reminds me a little bit of a spicy garlic lime chicken I make often. I’m going to have to give this one a try.

I love citrus with chicken, especially in the summer – when we can marinate a bit, and toss it on the grill. And garlic and lime. Mmmm. 🙂

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