Pasta Salad with Shrimps

In this salad, the hot pasta will wane the spinach and soften the squash. Firm tofu, cut into cubes and cooked in a nonstick pan, can be used in place of shrimp.

  Mixed salt and ground pepper
  200g short pasta, such as fusilli
  1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise
  1/3 cup roughly chopped pitted olives
  4 lightly packed cups baby spinach 
  1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  400g large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. 
2. Drain pasta, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with squash, olives, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the oil. 
3. Season with salt and pepper
4. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. 
5. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. 
6. Season with salt and pepper. 
7. Top pasta with shrimp.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Cookies are a sweet and tender cookie with wonderfully crisp edges. Sugar Cookies are once made primarily during the Christmas season, they are now a year round favorite. They are delicious whether dressed simply with a sprinkling of colored sugar or frosted with royal icing.

Sugar Cookies:
  3 cups all purpose flour 
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  1 teaspoon baking soda
  1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1 cup granulated white sugar
  2 large eggs
  2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:
  2 large egg whites
  2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Sugar Cookies:
1. whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a seperate bowl. 
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 
3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. 
4. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. 
5. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. 
5. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.
6. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  
7. Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)  
8. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking. Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you can sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sparkling sugar.  
9. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours or overnight.)
10. Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.
Makes about 36 cookies.

Royal Icing with Egg Whites:
11. In the bowl beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. 
12. Add the sifted sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more sugar or water. 
13. Add food coloring, if desired. 
14. The icing needs to be used immediately or put in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air. 



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