Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Preserved Lemon

August 21, 2012
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It’s been hot here in Southern California. Really hot. Hot, as in the lawn has turned crispy, hot. Hot, as in run the A/C all night long, hot. Hot, as in melt your ipad case in the car, hot. Yep. That last one happened to my husband. He’s lucky the ipad still works.

When the weather is as unrelenting as it has been, I only want to eat cold food, and salads like this one serve double duty. I make one each weekend, usually with some sort of whole grain, rice, or pasta and lots of vegetables mixed in. We eat them first with a piece of  easily grilled protein (chicken or fish grilled outside to keep the house cool). Then I’ll serve the rest of the salad later in the week as a quick veggie lunch or with something like leftover chicken tossed in. These Simple Sunday Salads

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Apple Cider Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Nutmeg

November 14, 2011
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Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, probably because it’s all about food and there’s no gift buying pressure.

Our family’s Thanksgiving tradition is a little different from most. It started back when my mother was a young graduate student at Berkely in the early 70′s. I remember it clearly and I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old at the time. We had about 25 people over to dinner and they were all “friends and orphans” with no family in the area and nowhere else to go. We didn’t have a lot of money, but somehow my mom managed to put on an amazing feast.
Over the years little has changed. We still have somewhere between 15 and 25 people at dinner, mostly friends and sometimes the occasional relative. The players have evolved to be a greater proportion my generation’s “friends and orphans” but the love and familial …

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Midsummer’s Garden Vegetable Ratatouille

July 28, 2010
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Is there such a thing as too much zucchini?
Oh yes, there is.
We went away for a week and our garden went crazy. It was scorching hot at home while we were in Panama and the garden responded as if breathing its last breath; it pumped out extra vegetables in a last ditch effort to get all its children off a sinking ship.

So what to do with all this bounty? Well, besides cooking up many of the other garden inspired recipes I have, I like to make a simple and fresh ratatouille. This dish is not only versatile, but freezes well for later when all the fresh vegetables are gone. See the end of the post for some ideas on what to do with extra ratatouille.

The vegetables are cooked in stages in this recipe. I did it this way for two reasons; first because I could not …

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Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

June 29, 2010
Thumbnail image for Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella My mother and I are a lot alike. People often confuse our voices on the phone, we've been known to (independently of one another) buy the same shoes, and we share the same Sicilian temper which flares up on occasion. But I am not my mother and this is not her justifiably famous macaroni salad. I can't compete, so I won't even try. In fact, I still don't know exactly what she puts in it, so I simply made up my own, and the two salads can stand proudly side by side, as individuals, just as we do. This salad is a twist on the traditional, adding in some old world flavors and the sweetness of fresh corn so readily available in summer. It's an easy side salad for a summer BBQ or picnic and makes enough for a crowd. Tell me, do you have a family recipe which you've tweaked or updated?
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Grilled Asparagus with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

April 13, 2010
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This fast and easy recipe exemplifies “spring” to me. There’s no story behind it, just a classic combination of fresh spring asparagus and sweet blood oranges. The flavors compliment each other and the colors are beautiful together on the plate.

If you’re not familiar with blood oranges they have a dark red color and taste almost like berries mixed with oranges. Sweeter than the typical orange, they are commonly found in the Southern Mediterranean, but it’s not uncommon to find them in the markets here in California. If you want, you can steam the asparagus but grilling it gives a slightly charred taste which balances well with the acidity of the vinaigrette and the sweetness in the blood oranges.

Before you start, get your grill ready or use a grill pan like this one; All-Clad 11-Inch Square Grill Pan. I don’t want to debate the merits of charcoal vs …

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Spicy Long Beans with Cashews

December 28, 2009


Spicy Long Beans with Cashews

I’m back! I know I’ve been gone longer than usual and I’m sorry for that, but the past few weeks have been difficult and busy to say the least. Without going into too much detail, I’ve spent some time focusing on my other web site, created a 116 page blurb book (which had to be done in time for Christmas), and dealt with a family member’s serious illness. In the process, I learned more about the current state of US hospitals and the medical system than I ever wanted to know. Suffice it to say, here’s to hoping 2010 will be a less chaotic and stressful year!

 This recipe is a quick and easy side vegetable for many Asian themed meals. The last time I made it, served it alongside some thai curry with shrimp, but it could easily go with a Chinese style stir-fry.

Long beans are also …

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