Sooner or later the day will come when you have to feed a vegetarian. It may be a neighbor you're entertaining, or a colleague from the office. Maybe one of your children brought a vegetarian friend home from college. If you’re lucky, the vegetarians in your life are willing to eat dairy products or fish. Then it's no big deal. The real problem comes when you find yourself providing dinner for a true vegan. But don't worry, I've got you covered.
(Vicki James) I think of cherries as the jewels of summer. They are as deeply colorful as rubies, and like fine gems, they are rare, only with us a short time each year. Sadly, cherry season will soon be coming to an end. Make the most of this glorious fruit in the waning days of summer. Make clafoutis!
I recently gave a dinner party for a special group of people who had given the rehearsal dinner on our daughter’s recent wedding weekend. I wanted the menu to be excellent and commensurate with my gratitude for their generous contribution. Since Bastille Day was the following day, I decided on a vaguely French menu. Because of the torrid heat this summer, I wanted to make at least one course cool and refreshing. “I know! I’ll make vichyssoise,” I exclaimed. So what if I’d never made it before. So what if it actually is not really French. I decided some culinary license was in order and began to search for recipes.
On a recent rainy Saturday, we decided to order in Thai food from a local restaurant rather than go out. I ordered a Thai beef salad off the menu hoping it would be similar to Nuer Nam Toc, a wonderful spicy sour creation that I had enjoyed at other restaurants. Sadly, when the food arrived it was quite different and my hopes were dashed. “No problem,” I decided. “I’ll just see if I can find a recipe and make it myself tomorrow.”
I understand. It's Friday evening and you've had a hard week. The cupboard is bare, but you can't face the idea of fighting the crowds at a restaurant and standing around for an hour until your little square gizmo starts jangling and lighting up. You finally get to a table, but it's a good twenty minutes before anyone shows up to take your order. You figure if you finally get something to eat by 9:00 you'll be lucky. So instead, you go home and pick up the phone and call for pizza delivery.
(Vicki James) This terrific recipe would be a great choice for either Easter or Passover, if you are serving a small group. Under the constraints of the pandemic, most of us are (or should be) planning a much smaller celebration this year. But we still want to make food that feels like more special than the usual fare we are eating these days (i.e. canned spaghetti-os and such). These exotic flavors will transport you to Biblical times in the Holy Land. Za’atar is a seasoning mix that has been in use in the middle east since ancient times.
The foundation of Za’atar is a wild thyme that grows in abundance in that region of the world. A modern blend is produced by Morton and Basset and contains thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, oregano, marjoram, coriander, and cumin, with a dash of chili pepper thrown in.
If you are trying to do the Meatless Monday thing – and good for you if you are – you may be looking for some yummy suggestions that will fill the bill (and your tummy). This recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so good you might not want to save it for Mondays. I promise it’s a great and easy meal to prepare at home any night of the week. It only takes minutes to prepare. Oh, the comfort of the precious pillow-like gnocchis! The richness of the butter toasted pine nuts! Meat or no meat, it’s a treat!
by Vicki James
Pasta Shells with Shrimp and Garlicky Bread Crumbs
After I made the yummy crab carbonara featured in my last post, I still had half a can of beautiful lump crabmeat left over. What to do? Then I suddenly remembered a wonderful summer salad I had not seen on a menu in a long time – Crabmeat Louie. I remembered eating this delicious dish in my youth, but it seems to have fallen out of favor over the years, which is a shame. No one knows when or where it was first served. It seems to have originated in San Francisco or Seattle to showcase local Dungeness crab, sometime in the early 20th century.