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    5 Recipes

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    Hubs and I made this salad after watching an episode of Michael Chiarello's cooking show, and it was FABULOUS! He showed this as a salad to go with a full meal, but we served it as a main dish salad for 4 with a little leftover chicken on the side, and it was wonderful - light but very satisfying and crisp - for a hot summer day. I'm posting this one so I don't lose it.

    Recipe #383102

    This is a moist cornbread which you can customize to your own taste. My Gramma used to make this, and she was pretty free-wheeling with the additions - chopped up leftover bacon or breakfast sausage was not unusual to find in it, and left over corn from Grampa's garden, cut off the cob, was a frequent addition. My husband LOVES hot stuff, while I can't figure out why anyone would conceivably want their mouth to feel like angry wasps have swarmed to attack - I even swell up! When I make this just for him, I substitute Jalepeno for the red bell pepper, and sometimes I will substitute sautéed, cooled and drained chopped onion for the scallions, but it comes out perfectly every time. The 'secret step' which makes this cornbread so moist is to allow the batter to rest, so don't try to save time and skip it. This is a great make-ahead for taking along to a picnic, party, or friend's house for a participation dinner.

    Recipe #382934

    Dried Hibuscus Flowers, known as 'Jamaica' give the 'tart' component to this summer quencher, and the resulting drink is absolutely, and shockingly, gorgeous. The hibiscus has a very high acidity, which you have to balance with the sweet, fragrant strawberries. This one takes a bit more time to make, but it's worth it. Purchase the 'jamaica' flowers at your local Mexican specialty store - they last quite a long time if stored properly.

    Recipe #382226

    A big glass 'vittoleros' canister of freshly made, wonderfully refreshing Agua Fresca in a rainbow of colors can be found on the counters of the best authentic neighborhood Taquerias - I look forward to them in the summer heat, but since I have no tolerance for spicy hot food, I don't get them too often. Many of these 'Fresh Waters' are regional Mexican and Salvadoran, but some of them are simply common sense. The best of them are subtle, balanced, and not overly sweet. With so few ingredients, the quality of the material used to make it is essential. If you feel the need to dress the drink up, use garnishes - thinly sliced fresh fruit, lavender flower stems place in the glass like swizzle sticks, or herbs frozen in the ice. This is great for a backyard or patio party, particularly if you have one of those wonderful glass tap jars to serve it in which will display the jewel-like color, but be certain to keep it on ice. This keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it in ice cubes, then once frozen turn out into plastic bags or storage containers to enjoy later.

    Recipe #382212

    This is the greatest hot weather dinner ever, particularly on those 105 degree summer days in Walnut Creek when the car AC poops out on the way home from work and cooking seems like just too much work. Don't go to Burger Clone, just stop at the grocery store for some English cucumbers and grab the dressing from the cupboard and the frozen shrimp from the freezer, and whip this up. I go to the local Japanese Grocery a couple of times a year and invest in a 24 oz (710 mL) bottle of 'Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar', add the brown sugar and throw it in the cupboard for whenever I feel the need and I always have a bag of shrimp in the freezer - I like the precooked 50/70 size, but have used up to U12's (sliced in half or cut into pieces)for this. The special equipment you will need is a Japanese Mandolin Slicer (around $25.00) from the same Japanese specialty grocer, which I use for a lot of other things around the kitchen - like slicing lemon paper thin - and which is tiny and easy to store. Options include substituting lump crab for the shrimp, but you should arrange the crab on the top of the salad just before service, not start it in the bottom of the bowl like you would with the shrimp. My family much prefers chopsticks for this, but that is your choice. The amount produced in this recipe is enough for two hot hungry people as a main dish for dinner, or you can serve up to 6 people as a salad course, but don't be surprised when they demand seconds... This is a very forgiving dish, and a good one to make one time from the instructions and then just start playing around with whatever you feel like adding. Shredded radish or carrot is a nice addition, as would be finely chopped ham or leftover poached chicken.

    Recipe #381818

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