Summer

cabbagesaladpsWhen you start shredding napa cabbage an amazing thing happens. It explodes. Napa cabbage grows so densely that a relatively small or medium head of cabbage not only weighs a ton, it seems to expand when you cut it up. So after shredding two heads there was no room to fit the already shredded red cabbage in the mix. I also realized there might be someone who didn't like cilantro and making two batches would allow for a little more choice of flavors.

The red cabbage cole slaw included shredded red and yellow peppers and carrots. The napa cabbage cole slaw included slivered green onions and cilantro. Both were quite tasty and tasted different though the Asian inspired dressing was exactly the same.

I like to make the cole slaw the night before I serve it. It tastes better if it has some time to mellow out a bit and soften. The other trick to making cole slaw is to add things like cilantro and green onion at the last minute, right before serving, because neither of those ingredients improve the longer they sit around.

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keylimecheesecakeThis is one of those desserts you make when you are in a pinch for time.  It's quick, it's easy...easy, as in...no baking skills required, since it's a no-bake dessert.  It's the dish you make when you get a call Saturday morning to come for a barbecue that evening and you are to bring dessert.  You'll have just enough time to get to the store and get this made.

Better yet, stock all the ingredients at home (with the exception of the kiwis) this summer, get it thrown together when the call comes in, and pick up the kiwis on the way.  You can easily add them at serving time.

The taste of this is really nice and refreshing...I guess I never put lemon and kiwi together as a flavor package but it works really well together.

Give it a try! It's a true time-saver!

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farrosaladInsalata di Caprese is one of those classic Italian recipes that shouldn't be reinvented. It's so simple and delicious just as it is—sliced mozzarella layered with sliced tomatoes and basil leaves and drizzled with olive oil. But there is room for reinterpretation, especially when you take those familiar flavors and ingredients and turn them into a whole new kind of salad.

I love grains in all their many forms, but they are most interesting when left whole and unadulterated. Wheat berries, for example, are wonderful in a salad. The Italian grain farro, which is related to spelt, is another whole grain that makes a great salad. This recipe combines farro with the ingredients of a classic Caprese salad. All the components that make a healthy and refreshing salad are right here.

Instead of sliced mozzarella and tomatoes, I use small bocconcini and cherry and cocktail tomatoes. For added tang, I drizzle the salad with red-wine vinegar. Serve this salad in place of the usual pasta or macaroni salad at your next picnic. It's perfect as a side dish for grilled meats, like steak or chicken. But it can even make a terrific light appetizer. Add some whole grains to your diet with this recipe. It will have you going back for seconds—even thirds.

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easydressingHomemade vinaigrettes are so easy that there is no reason to ever slather your greens in store bought dressings.

After I mix the ingredients together, I like to store mine in a small mason jar, so that I can shake it well before using (in case the oil and vinegar have separated).

The addition of a small amount of mayonnaise helps keep the dressing stabilized. I usually use Champagne vinegar, but a good red wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice will work as well.

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Fruit-dessert1So as the days of summer dwindle, so does my supply of summer fruit. The bowl that I filled on Thursday with the bounty from the farmers’ market was down to a few lonely items by Sunday.

I was gonna make a cake or a tart or a cobbler or a pie but a) everybody’s so annoyingly calorie-phobic and b) I’m too lazy. (Isn’t Labor Day supposed to be Labor-free?) So I embraced my inner sloth and just threw together something so simple you barely have to be conscious to make it.

The hardest part was locating my cherry pitter, which I’d received as a hostess gift some time in the ‘90’s from someone who didn’t know me well enough to know how seldom that tool would see the light of day.

I only had a few cherries, so the task of pitting them was over before it could become annoying. I threw them into a saucepan, added my two remaining nectarines and what was left of my berry stash and cooked ‘em up with a little sugar, lemon and orange zest. Now I’ve got this lovely, almost labor-free compote and only one task remains. Hint: it involves an ice cream scoop.

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