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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

minimuffins2

These mini muffins only take 10 minutes to mix, 10 minutes to bake. Plus they are packed with energy and low in sugar.

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rwbsalsa

Red, white, and blue dishes make a Fourth of July picnic feel festive. Combine strawberries, jicama, and blueberries into a salsa for blue tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

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cukesalad1

For a refreshing summer salad, combine cucumber, avocado, and mint with a little olive oil and lime juice.

We’ve been holding our church services at Spontaneous Celebrations, a community center in Jamaica Plain. I was standing outside after the service in the bright sunshine with Rebecca and Jenny when I noticed there were huge bunches of mint growing between the sidewalk and the bottom of the stairs.

Mint can take over a garden like an invasive weed, so I had no qualms about helping myself to a bunch of mint. It’s wonderful to not only have a mint in a vase to perfume the air but also to keep it handy to chop into salads, or add to a glass of refreshing ice water or lemonade.

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mousse4

Don’t even bother with the words, “vegan” and “tofu.” Just let “silken chocolate mousse” roll off the tongue. It’s as creamy and delicious as it sounds.

I haven’t been too successful cooking with tofu at home. It’s just not that appealing to me in texture even though I know its benefits as a protein in meatless dishes. In order to make the golden tofu that I enjoy so much in Thai restaurants it takes some skill with corn starch and patience to brown it just right in cooking oil. I haven’t mastered that well enough to do it for the low-level midweek cooking I prefer.

But use silken tofu to make chocolate mousse in a blender? That I can handle.

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Bundtcake1

A few weeks ago we threw a party for a colleague who was retiring after nearly 43 years of service to The Christian Science Monitor. In addition to being one of the nicest persons in the newsroom, Ross Atkin, a longtime sports writer, was also the presenter of baked goods. Without fail, so much so that we could set our Monday morning breakfast plans to this routine, Ross cheered the early hours of new week with a home baked treat.

He didn’t make enough to feed the entire newsroom, so you had to make sure you got work at least on time to run to the kitchen and pick up one of that day’s offerings ranging from cookies, muffins, bars to the occasional Bundt cake.

So at the 11th hour before the party (as in the afternoon before) I thought it would be a neat idea to bake Ross something from the pages of the Monitor as close as possible to the time he had first arrived in Boston as a fresh college graduate from Indiana on June 21, 1971.

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salad

As a city dweller, I don’t have the luxury of stepping outside onto the cool night grass to fire up the backyard grill and fill the air with the smell of smoky burgers, marinated chicken breasts, and melt-in-your-mouth salmon fillets.

So when the urge strikes for a bit of warm salmon to toss into a salad or serve alongside tender-crisp asparagus I turn toward this technique for oven-roasted salmon perfected by America’s Test Kitchen. It is hassle-free and provides some consolation to the fact that it is illegal to grill off my deck three stories up. (Apartment and condo dwellers across Boston break this rule all the time but my condo association happens to be very, very vigilant. My next-door neighbors moved in not knowing this rule and days after they had set up their brand-new grill they were harassed for months until they finally found a buyer for it.)

salmon

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Borscht

Amid the medal count predictions, fears of terrorist attacks, and complaints of no hot water (or even finished rooms) from the media hotels, you may have missed this fact from Sochi: Olympic officials estimated that 70,000 gallons of borscht (beet soup) will be served during the 2014 Winter Games.

The Monitor’s reporter at the Games, Mark Sappenfield, asked me via Twitter if I was planning to do a Russia-inspired food blog post. (Go follow Mark, @sappenfieldm, you’ll get his honest impressions from Sochi as he reports on his seventh Olympics and encounters things like a $100 laundry fee for a load that would fill half a basket.)

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Sweet potato chili

chili1

Winter cooking is all about root vegetables, cutting back a bit on meat, and making big pots of soups and stews to serve up by the bowlfuls to friends or freeze for another day when I don’t feel like cooking from scratch.

When this sweet potato chili came across the transom from Family Circle, I was intrigued. It’s a slow cooker recipe, too. I don’t have a fancy slow cooker. I have a 1970s orange-yellow slow cooker with a missing knob. It’s nothing like the squat, chrome-trimmed counterparts of today’s slow cookers, but I like the Danish modern style of my simple cooker, despite its major flaw.

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saffronbuns1

Note: I had to repost this again today since yesterday’s post seemed to have gone corrupt. I blame the pranks of Lussi!

In Sweden, Dec. 13 marks St. Lucia Day, a day traditionally when the oldest daughter of the family wears a white robe, a red sash, and a wreath of lit candles on her head as she delivers coffee and saffron buns to the rest of the family still huddled in bed against the cold and dark morning.

St. Lucia is one of the very few saints honored by Lutheran Scandinavians (Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, and Danes) and in some parts of Italy. I’m not exactly clear who St. Lucia was, except that she did some self-sacrificing behavior for the good of others. The legends and stories differ depending on the region of the world.

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Squash coconut curry soup

squah soup

I wanted to host some friends to watch “Sound of Music Live!” on NBC with Carrie Underwood so I sent out an enticing e-mail promising hearty soup, bread, and freshly baked cookies. Somehow I managed to convince three friends to show up.

About five minutes into the production, the soup was stealing the show. “This is melt-in-your-mouth good,” said Christy. “Can you give me the recipe?”

Rebecca, who had arrived announcing she had already had dinner, had two bowlfuls.

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