Zest for Life


Citrus can imbue the winter months with a touch of sunshine. The cheerful colors of these in-season fruits add a much-needed zest to winter meals. This is the perfect winter menu to prepare when you are craving a bit of sunshine.


I love to serve this cocktail as the very first course. I often use fresh orange segments in the prosecco, but you can substitute canned mandarins if needed. Who wouldn’t love the merry color of mandarins mingling cheerfully with prosecco?

Serves 6

  • 1 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 bottle Prosecco
  • Cointreau (optional)

Divide the mandarin oranges among six champagne glasses. Pour over the mandarins and then top each glass with a splash of Cointreau if desired. Serve immediately.


The title of this recipe sounds fancy and time-consuming, but I can make it in under 30 minutes. I’ve written the recipe instructions so that you don’t remove the lobster meat completely from the tail. The meat is pulled out lightly and then rests on the shell of the tail. This makes for a nice cooking surface as well as a lovely presentation when the lobster tails are served.

Serves 4

  • 4 lobster tails
  • ½ stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, zested
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

To prepare the lobster, place the 4 tails, bottom side down, on a sturdy cutting board. At the front of the top of the tail, cut down the center of the shell, with kitchen shears, almost through to the tail.

Then carefully lift the lobster meat out of the shell, keeping the bottom part by the tail connected. Then rest the lobster meat back on the shell. The shell will be used as a cooking surface, and it makes for a beautiful presentation, too. Place the prepped lobster tails on a baking sheet.

Next, heat the butter and garlic in a small pot over medium-low heat. When the garlic butter is just melted, add the cilantro leaves and lime zest. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Reserve half the butter to brush over the lobster tails. Sprinkle the tails with a little salt, pepper, and paprika.

Preheat the broiler and then place the baking sheet on the center rack. Broil the lobster tails 5 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the lobster tails. My lobster tails were rather small, and only took about 5 minutes to be cooked through but still succulent. Overcooking lobster tails will cause them to be tough.

Once the tails are done, place them on a platter, drizzle with some of the remaining butter, and serve.


This is my no-fail rice recipe. Lime zest adds more flavor with less tartness and coconut cream gives it a tropical flair. Cilantro completes the flavor profile.

Serves 4

  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 lime zested
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the coconut cream, water, lime zest, chopped cilantro, and salt.

Add the cup of Jasmine rice to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and then stir in the hot water and coconut cream mixture.

Cover with foil and then place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes and then fluff with a fork. Garnish the rice with additional chopped fresh cilantro and serve.