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Blueberry Ginger Salad — Sweet and Sour

by Jane Wangersky August 21st, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had five pounds of blueberries in my refrigerator, down from ten pounds a couple of nights before, and I was ready to do something new with them. Some were destined for freezer jam, many would be eaten on cereal or out of hand as snacks, and there were always pie and muffins, at least if the weather cooled off enough. But everyone already knows about all these.

Somewhere online I saw a recipe that called for blueberries combined with fresh ginger in a relish for pork teriyaki. Though I wasn’t sure about serving them at dinner with meat, the
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Chili Roasted Corn on the Cob

by Jane Wangersky August 14th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
grilled cornIt’s not summer for me unless I’ve had corn on the cob. Not that it’s my favorite food or anything -- I don’t eat a lot of it -- it’s just one of those tastes of summer and has been pretty much forever. It also gives me a chance to eat lots of butter and salt. And it’s in season now all over North America.

Garrison Keillor famously said the best way to cook corn was to wait until the water was boiling before you ran out to pick it. You can’t get much more local than that. It’s true
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Mix-in-the-Pan Cherry Crunch

by Jane Wangersky August 7th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
cherry crunchIt’s cherry season around here right now, and I got a good deal on them the other day at the produce store, since I was willing to overlook a few bruised ones. I ate a couple of the unbruised cherries, then stopped, because the inside of my mouth was beginning to feel itchy. It happens every time, so though I like cherries, I can’t really eat them raw. They have to be cooked to destroy whatever it is that causes the reaction in me.

We needed a dessert anyway, so I got to work. First, really wanting to avoid heating
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Green Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

by Jane Wangersky July 31st, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
gbeansplusWe get vegetables delivered every week, and unless I remember to check the order online and tweak it, what we get is the company’s selection of what’s in season. It usually works out pretty well even if I don’t remember to make any changes, because the produce is fresh and high quality. But every so often we end up flooded with something. At colder times of year I call it “attack of the winter vegetables”; right now it’s an onslaught of green beans. There’s nothing wrong with them, we just don’t want to eat them plain night after night.

So
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Lemon Pepper Potato Salad

by Jane Wangersky July 24th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
potato saladIt’s too hot to turn on the oven and make my lemon pepper oven fries, which is a shame because they’d go so well with the burgers we’re going to be grilling in the backyard . . . but that doesn’t mean we can’t have potatoes flavored with lemon and pepper. This occurred to me as I was thinking about potato salads made with vinaigrette instead of creamy mayonnaise-based dressings. Why not make one with a lemon pepper vinaigrette?

You may be able to find lemon pepper easily in the store -- if so, you’re way ahead of me. (They
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Make Pickles in Your Refrigerator – It’s Easy

by Jane Wangersky July 17th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
fridge picklesAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m (maybe a little too) wary of trying to can or preserve anything at home, which is why the only jam I make is the freezer kind. I’ve been doing this for years, but until recently I wasn’t really aware that freezer jam had a counterpart: refrigerator pickles. (I had noticed that when I marinated cooked beets in vinegar and spices, they seemed to keep for weeks in the fridge -- these pickles are made in somewhat the same way.)

Though I’m not as crazy about pickles as I was in my teens, they’re still one
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Make Your Own Jam With Gelatin – And No Sugar

by Jane Wangersky July 10th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
jamjarThough I'm usually a DIY kind of home cook, I don't make my own jam -- much. There's a fear of spoilage that seems to run in my family and keep me from wanting to can anything for winter. Still, nearly every summer, around the time when the raspberries get plentiful in the backyard, I make a batch or two of freezer jam. If you're not familiar with this, it's just what it sounds like -- if you plan on keeping the jam more than about a week, it'll have to go into the freezer. Like almost any homemade
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Salsa Aspic: Hot and Cool

by Jane Wangersky July 3rd, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
aspicYou might think of this as really thick salsa. Or maybe as Jello for the main course. Or as something like cranberry sauce -- it’s made of fruit (tomatoes are fruit), it’s jellied, and it’s meant to be served along with meat or another main dish. However you look it at, this side dish is perfect for dinner on a hot night, packing both coolness and spice.

Aspic has been largely unknown for years -- a friend nearly as old as me had never heard of it -- but I’m not sure why. Maybe the availability of instant gelatin desserts
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Asian Asparagus Salad — With A Touch of Sushi

by Jane Wangersky June 26th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
nori saladIt's asparagus season -- it must be, the stuff was half price the last time I went grocery shopping. Though asparagus certainly isn't the first vegetable I think of when I've got a salad to make, it's what we had this week, so it's what I went with. All I needed was some new, slightly unusual ingredient to pair it with.

On the Internet I found a recipe for appetizers made of asparagus wrapped in nori -- the sheets of roasted seaweed used for making sushi. The recipe also called for salmon, I think. It looked good, but I wasn't
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Ham and Cheese Salad

by Jane Wangersky June 19th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
ham saladWith a salad to invent and a lot of ham and cheese in my fridge, I began wondering why we’ve come up with ham and cheese, ham salad, but not ham and cheese salad. Well, as it turns out, many people have had that same thought, judging by the number of ham and cheese salad recipes you can find with a quick Google search. But my version is extra simple, and, unlike others, has no vegetables to put off the kids.

Ingredients:

1 cup diced (¼ inch) cooked smoked ham*
2 tbsp mayonnaise
½ tsp dry mustard (or to taste; my tester said
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Beets Stuffed with Cucumber Salad

by Jane Wangersky June 12th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
beet cuke saladBeets, like revenge, are best served cold, which means, like revenge, they take some planning. This beet dish is no exception, but once you’ve got your cold, cooked beet(s) at hand, it really doesn’t take much time or work. Yet it still looks pretty enough to be special. It also combines some of the elements of borscht -- mostly beets, set off by cucumbers and sour cream -- in salad form. Last but not least, it makes a nice change from pickled beets, while calling for way fewer ingredients.

Speaking of which . . .

Ingredients (for one serving, multiply as
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Monterey Olive Salad

by Jane Wangersky June 5th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
monterey saladI really meant to take a genuine New Orleans muffaletta to the potluck the other night, but, well, stuff happened, and I ran out of time to make the olive salad. Muffalettas and olive salad are a story in themselves, one that I may get around to one day. This time, however, I ended up just making a great big ham, cheese, and salami sandwich out of a round loaf split horizontally. It was fine, people ate most of it -- and the next day I had a whole jar of olives to play with.

They were, fittingly enough, salad
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