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"To read a book about a country's cuisine isn't simply to go looking for 'good things'; it is also to better know - by means of the recipes - the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast."

~ Ginette Olivesi-Lorenzi, La Cuisine Mentonnaise

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking (The Savoring Series)
by Lori De Mori

Part of the Savoring Series, which is one of my favorite series of books about Regional Cuisine, Savoring Tuscany is a beautiful book filled with sumptuous recipes and delectable writing about the cuisine and culture of Tuscany. As with all the books in the series, Savoring Tuscany is put together beautifully and all of the recipes are well written and presented. The recipes that we tested were all superb and the book is an excellent source for fans of Tuscan cuisine.

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Recipe - Cucumber Chile Lime Shrimp
by Wen Zientek-Sico

This Mexican inspired dish makes a wonderful appetizer or main dish. Try serving it with some very cold cerveza and a fresh green salad for a festive Mexican dinner on a hot summer night.

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Cucumber Chile Lime Shrimp

The first time I tasted chile peppers and lime together I thought I was in heaven. The unexpected pairing is one of my favorite taste combinations. I have paired them with cucumber and shrimp, yet another inspired combination, for a refreshing main dish or appetizer. The bite of the chile is cooled down by the presence of the cucumber and lime for a taste that is well balanced. During the summer months I also like to add corn fresh off the cob for a delightful mixture. This dish makes an excellent main course when paired with rice or orzo, a great salad over mixed greens and a wonderful appetizer when served alone.

3 pounds cooked shrimp
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 minced garlic cloves
5 seeded and chopped red chiles
1 peeled and diced cucumber
6 sliced scallions
juice from 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Clean and devein the shrimp if they have the veins intact and set aside. Heat the wok over medium heat until hot, then add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and chiles. Stir-fry for one minute or until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Increase the heat to medium high and add the shrimp. Stir-fry for one minute, or until the shrimp are heated through. Add the cucumber, scallions, lime juice, and sugar. Mix well and stir-fry for one minute or until the cucumbers turn translucent. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes