Things We Love in April

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints


For 4

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 or 2 summer squash (about 8 ounces in all), very thinly sliced

Scant 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 long pieces of baguette, sliced diagonally

Olive oil and garlic for the bread

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, sauté for 1 minute or so to warm, then add a splash of water and cover. Cook over medium-high heat until the squash is soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, add the rosemary and lemon zest, toss it with the squash, and then season with salt and pepper.

2. Lightly brush the cut surface of the baguette pieces with olive oil, then toast until golden and crisp. While the bread is hot, rub the cut surfaces with the garlic. Spread the baguette pieces with the ricotta, then overlap the squash on top. Season with a bit more pepper and serve.


Serves 4

1 cauliflower (about 11/2 pounds), broken into small florets, the core diced

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for tossing the pasta

1 onion, finely diced

2 pinches of saffron threads

1 large clove garlic, minced

Scant 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Sea salt

8 ounces pasta shells, snails or other shapes

Grated aged cheese or crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Steam the cauliflower florets and core over boiling water for about 3 minutes. Taste a piece. It should be on the verge of tenderness and not quite fully cooked. Set it aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saffron and cook,stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 6 minutes or so. The steam will activate the saffron so that it stains and flavors the onion. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, and a few pinches of the parsley, give them a stir, and then add the cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower to coat it with the seasonings, add 1/2 cup water, and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender, just a few minutes. Season with salt, toss with half of the remaining parsley, and keep warm.

While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta in the boiling water seasoned with salt until al dente. Drain, transfer to a warmed bowl, and toss with a few tablespoons of oil and the remaining parsley. Taste for salt, then spoon the cauliflower over the pasta,wiggle some of it into the pasta crevices, grate the cheese on top, and serve.

With Shrimp: When wild Gulf shrimp are in season, take advantage of their sweet goodness. Peel 1 pound shrimp, then sauté them over high heat in olive oil until pink and firm, after 5 minutes or so. Toss them with chopped garlic and parsley and divide them among the individual pasta plates or heap them over the top of the communal dish. Omit the cheese.

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Why shouldn't your pooch stretch out on his or her own elegant daybed? This handcrafted "Fido's Fancy Daybed," one of the new pieces of pet furniture at Dallas-based Wisteria, is upholstered in durable, 100 percent linen. The cushion has a removable cover that can be thrown in the washing machine. And the neutral palette is perfect for any room in the house, from an elegant living room to an indoor porch. The bed can hold a pet up to 100 pounds (dimensions: 32 inches by 241/2 inches by 16 inches). While you're on the website, just try to resist checking out the company's exclusive puppy pantry, doggie suite crate and puppy gates, too -- for pet lovers, it's a tall task. Daybed, $399, plus $75 processing and delivery. Wisteria, 6500 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 100, Dallas; 214-350-3115,


With a spunky, mod-meets-modern aesthetic, the just-launched Kate Spade Saturday line boasts snappy somethings for everyone, from teapots and tall glasses to sneakers, sundresses and skateboards. Topping the must-own list are these casual kicks by pf flyers ($65) and cherry-red round-framed sunnies ($50). Find it all at


You can practically hear the tinny brring-brring from a handle-bar-mounted bell when you see these retro bicycles coming 'round the bend. Australia-based Papillionaire Bicycles crafted these easy-riding cruisers after Amsterdam city bicycles, and they're available in four charming styles (our favorite, the "Sommer," comes with a basket!), a variety of speeds ranging from one to eight, and several colors, including pink and, the newest shade, olive. Design and buy your own bicycle (or just load up on cool accessories like water bottles and rain ponchos) at


If it is April, it must be time for Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival. And indeed, April 18-21, it is just that time. The Thursday through Sunday festival is one long weekend of feasting on art, music and booth food. This year, for the 28th annual event, 208 artists will participate (do you think the numbers were coincidental?), selling works that range from $50 for reproductions to four-figure amounts for one-of-a-kind pieces. To see samples of the artists' work before you go, visit the gallery at www.main

ence-main-st./the-art/. The family-friendly event will host its Main St. Creates! area with arts and crafts activities for children in the outdoor studio. The festival is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Free. For more information, visit www.mainstreetarts


Spring's finally here, heralding the return of garden parties and alfresco lunches. So toss those heavy leather hobos and satchels aside and accessorize with a colorful zip-top clutch instead. Easy, chic and ultraversatile, they're roomy enough to include every essential -- even an iPad! -- and priced so reasonably, you can treat yourself to one in every color. It's the perfect way to pop an outfit this season, and here are three of our favorites:


Madame Alexander does not look bad for 90. To celebrate nine decades as the world's premier maker of collectible dolls, Madame Alexander is making a very limited edition "Cissy" doll, dressed as she would have been in 1923, the year the company was founded. The elegant, blue-eyed Cissy (she's the "Madame") wears a 1920s navy-blue georgette dress with a taffeta sash, pearls and bugle beads on the waist and skirt. Her brunette hair is styled in a low bun with finger waves in front, and she's wrapped in a rhinestone-clasped fur stole. She carries two small cloth dolls as her "children." This very special doll is available for pre-order and will be shipped in September. Just 125 will be made, so avid collectors should reserve one now. $1,500, or 800-229-5192, ext. 2253.


Design Hotels, the 244-member collective of unique hoteliers, has compiled a book of its fabulosity. It is available as a curl-up-and-read travelogue with 800 pages to inspire traveling ($77), or for the truly design obsessed, it comes in an oversized 55-pound edition, still 800 pages, affixed to a small, black, custom-designed table with Alvar Aalto stool ($3,231). The book as coffee table was a Kramer brainstorm years ago on Seinfeld, and we never thought we'd actually see it on the marketplace, but here it is. Available through



Schola Cantorum of Texas consistently has been lauded by critics as one of the finest vocal groups in the state. Recently it was one of three choirs asked to sing for Van Cliburn's funeral. The Fort Worth-based chorus, made up of more than 60 volunteer singers, closes its 50th anniversary season with a concert at 7:30 p.m. April 15 at Arborlawn United Methodist Church (5001 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth). "In this concert, we're looking back at favorite music ... and the next-to-last piece is a look forward to the next 50 years," says executive director Archie Bailey. Titled "Music for Those We Love," the wide-reaching program will include Gabriel Faure's beloved Requiem, as well as a contemporary piece by living composer Tarik O'Regan. The choir will premiere a piece by Brian Edward Galante commissioned in honor of director Jerry McCoy for its 50th anniversary titled Look Down, Fair Moon -- a setting of verses by Walt Whitman. And notably, it will sing the Russian folk song, translated as The Ducks Are Flying By, that members sang, a cappella, as Cliburn's casket was recessed from the church at the funeral. The piece, Bailey said, will be dedicated to Cliburn and to his survivor, Thomas Smith. Tickets, $20 ($18 for seniors), may be purchased at, or at the door.


Spring makes us think of all things green and grown, and that includes lots of vegetables making their way from our garden to our plate. Deborah Madison's stunning new Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, $40) sheds more knowledge on 12 families from the edible plant kingdom than you may have ever imagined. Madison, considered an expert on vegetarian cooking, offers more than 300 recipes and explains how the components of the dishes can complement each other. But if you're a gardener or plant enthusiast, you'll want to keep it on the shelf for more than just the recipes. It offers a wealth of horticultural, historical and botanical information, including tips for buying and growing. (On the current kale craze, she writes: "Why didn't we see kale when we were growing up? It's not as if it's a new plant; in fact, it's been around for a very long time. My guess is that when the farmers' market movements got going, farmers needed a reliable vegetable, one that would grow easily month after month, and kale was their answer.") Find Madison's recipes for Summer Squash Tartines with Rosemary and Lemon; and Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Plenty of Parsley and Pasta online at

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