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Crunchy Peanut Slaw

Chinese Cabbage

1 big bowl of slaw, serves at least 8

1 medium head green cabbage or Chinese cabbage, outer leaves removed
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 bunch green onions
1 cup chopped cilantro (about two big handfuls unchopped)
Salt and pepper

1/2 cup light oil, like canola
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

Shred the cabbage very finely. The fineness of the shredded cabbage is really what makes this salad; you want it in in threads, almost, and with the threads chopped into bite-size lengths. Toss with the peanuts in a large bowl. Chop the scallions, including the green and white parts. Toss the scallions and chopped cilantro with the cabbage, seasoning very lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preferences of sweetness and saltiness. Toss with the cabbage. Garnish with a few more peanuts and serve.

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Quick Fried Eggplant Parmesan

Fried Eggplant
1 large eggplant
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup flour or breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Rosemary or oregano to taste
Sliced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Peel eggplant and slice it, lay it out, salt it well, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. Then pat it dry with a paper towel. The salt draws out moisture.

Dip it in egg, then flour or bread crumbs with dried herbs and salt and pepper added. Rosemary is a good herb for this, as is oregano. Fry in oil, high heat, 1/8”-1/4” deep, until brown and cooked through (a few minutes). Place on paper towel to drain the oil. I usually melt cheese on top with a slice of tomato (it’s quicker).

Serves two

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Kale Chips

Kale Chips

1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

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Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup 8 cups chicken stock
6 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 leeks (whites only), thoroughly washed and sliced
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream

Put the chicken stock, potatoes, leeks, celery, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Boil until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend the soup until smooth. Pour the soup into a medium pot; add the cream and simmer until the soup has thickened, about 20 minutes.

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Ratatouille There are many variations on this French country dish, so feel free to make changes to suit your tastes. The recipe can be canned or frozen if you make a large batch.

1/2 lb eggplant
1/2 lb sweet peppers (red and/or green)
1 lg yellow onion
1 lb mushrooms
2 lbs tomatoes or 1 large jar prepared tomato sauce
4-6 garlic cloves
1/4 cut olive oil
1 small hot pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
oregano, parsley, basil, salt to taste

Cut first 4 vegetables (and tomatoes) into 1″ chunks, place into deep casserole dish or roasting pan and sprinkle with salt, herbs and red pepper. Crush or rough-chop garlic cloves and sprinkle over vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over all vegetables and toss together.
Roast vegetables in oven at 350 degrees for about an hour to hour and a half, stirring gently every 30 minutes or so. If you’re using tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes, stir it in after about 45 minutes. Roasted vegetables should be soft and liquid should be mostly evaporated. Tomato sauce will get thick and dark as the flavor concentrates.

Sprinkle on shredded Parmesan before serving if desired. An optional cooking method is the caramelize the onions in a pan, then toss all ingredients together (including tomato sauce) in the crock pot with a little red wine. Cook on low for about 10 hours.

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Summer Squash Fritters

Summer Squash Fritters1-2 summer squash
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp oil
basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, oregano, etc. (optional)

Grate a squash. Put it in a bowl and add salt. Let it sit a few minutes.
Squeeze out the excess water. Add eggs, flour and baking powder, oil, and any spices or herbs you like.
Fry in a heavy frying pan (I love iron) with just a coating of oil. The small amount of oil in the batter keeps it from sticking.

Other vegetables can go well in this recipe too. Later in the summer you can add onion, garlic, green pepper, etc. and it will be a little different.

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Roasted Beets with Pasta

Roasted Beets with PastaYoung beets, peeled and diced
Beet greens, chopped (and de-veined if you want)
Garlic scapes, chopped
Pasta of your choice
Pine nuts
Dried currants (you can substitute chopped raisins or dried cranberries)
Olive oil
Garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil diced beets in a small amount of water until almost soft. Add the greens and chopped garlic scapes. Cook a few minutes until everything is done. Meanwhile, make some pasta of your choice. When everything is cooked, mix the pasta and beets, and, while still hot, add chopped basil, pine nuts, dried currents, and a good extra virgin olive oil. Some mashed garlic is good too, if you like raw garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Sicilian Kale with Garlic

Sicilian Kale with Garlic

1 large bunch of kale, rinsed
olive oil
garlic cloves (as much as you dare), minced
coarse salt to taste

Cut the stems off the kale by folding the leaf in half along the stem and make one cut just inside the stem. Then chop the stemless leaves up a bit. Boil them in ½ cup water until tender. Drain the water and add minced garlic, and good olive oil. Cover the pot for a couple of minutes just to heat the garlic a little. Add coarse salt to taste. This recipe is from my friend’s Sicilian grandmother.