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In Italian, “torta” simply means a sweet or savory cake. A traditional Italian torta usually includes ricotta cheese, parmesan, parsley, and onions. There are also variations that contain meat and some that are completely vegetarian. These vegetarian tortes sometimes contain artichokes and herbs for flavor. This torta is made in a springform pan instead of a traditional pie pan.

I have made potato tortes many times through the years, but this summer, not only did I have an abundance of potatoes but also an abundance of yellow squash from my CSA share. So I thought why not combine them. Turned out delicious. Serve with a mixed green salad and if you want a side of meat, grilled sausage would be good. This torte also makes an excellent antipasto course. Serve at room temperature cut into thin wedges.

Summer Squash and Potato Torta

8 servings

Ingredients

1 green onion, finely minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 1/2 pounds yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil.
In a mixing bowl combine the green onion, Parmesan cheese, flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture.

Layer 1/2 of the squash slices in concentric circles on top of the potatoes/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with a second layer of the potatoes, cheese mixture, squash slices and cheese mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the top Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake until the potatoes are almost tender, 90 minutes. Remove the foil; bake uncovered until the torte begins to brown and potatoes are tender, about 90 minutes longer.

Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove the sides of the pan and place a serving plate on top. Turn the torte over and remove the pan bottom. Cut the torte into wedges to serve.

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Panzanella

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small country bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic, grated
11/2 lbs ripe, meaty tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
Half an English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the bread preparation:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad:
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, mint, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Italian Style Grilled Tuna

For 2-3 servings

Ingredients

12 oz fresh tuna fillets (albacore and yellowfin, 1/2-inch thick, cut into serving pieces
1/2 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tablespoon each of coarse salt and coarse black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating the tuna

Directions

Combine the lemon zest, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the tuna fillet and rub the herb and garlic mixture into the fish, coating evenly on all sides. Let stand 10 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan.
Grill tuna steaks 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Serve with the salad.

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Pasta With Chicken Meatballs In A Fresh Tomato Sauce

Using chicken for the meatballs is a good choice in making this recipe since I think they make for a lighter meatball that compliments this delicate sauce.

Ingredients

8 ounces spaghetti or fettuccine
1 1/2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
Warm Italian-style chicken meatballs, recipe below
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

Directions

If you can, prepare the tomatoes several hours in advance.
Combine tomatoes, garlic, salt, black pepper and olive oil in a pasta serving bowl. Set aside for several hours to help develop the flavor.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain.

.Add the warm meatballs and basil to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Add the pasta and toss with the meatball mixture. And a few drizzles of olive oil. Top with the cheeses and serve.

Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red bell peppers minced
2 tablespoons onion minced
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound ground (organic) chicken

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Cool to room temperature.
Mix the peppers and onions with the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Add the meat and combine. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
Coat a baking sheet with rimmed edges with non-stick spray or line with heavy-duty foil and roll meatballs into 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared pan and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Keep warm while the pasta is prepared.

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On these hot summer days, grilling your dinner outside instead of heating up your kitchen is a much better plan. To make a successful meal on the grill, I have a few tips that I have learned over the years that I can share with you. I can not speak about charcoal grilling – only gas grilling- because that is what I use. Be sure to purchase a grill with several different burners – mine has three. That way you can create direct and indirect cooking which will prevent overcooking or burning your food. Have a good meat thermometer handy, also. Another tool I have recently started using is a grill mat that can withstand very high temperatures and prevents your food from burning. What is amazing is that you still get grill marks. Use this mat to cook delicate foods, such as seafood or small vegetables that might fall through the grate. Just wipe clean with a wet paper towel and you are set for the next grilling session. It is called the Kona Mat and use this link to find out more.

Using the direct and indirect grilling technique is important in producing good tasting food. To cook indirectly: On a gas grill, leave one burner off and place the meat on the grate directly over the cool burner. For a charcoal grill: pile all the coals along the sides of the grill and place the food in the center, away from the hot coals. Place a metal drip pan beneath the grate where the food will sit, to collect juices as it cooks.

  Direct Heat Indirect Heat
Food placement Above flames or coals Adjacent to flames or coals
Temperature 500°F or higher 350°F to 400°F
Cooking Times 25 minutes or less More than 25 minutes
What to grill? Kabobs, tempeh, tofu, veggies, sausages, steaks, burgers and most seafood Whole chicken or turkey, ribs, roasts or leg of lamb
Bonus! Wood chips can be added to a charcoal grill for an extra smoky flavor

Often a combination of both methods is used. For example, a 1-1/2-inch-thick steak, or bone-in chicken parts can be seared or browned over direct heat for a short period of time and moved to the indirect heat area to continue cooking internally without excess browning.

For a majority of cooks, grilling means cooking a hamburger or steak. But did you know that seafood and vegetables are transformed on the grill into special meals?

Coriander-Rubbed Red Snapper with Grilled Fennel And Plums

In this recipe, I used the Kona Mat to cook delicate seafood and fruit.

For 2 servings

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
12-13 oz red snapper fillet, skin removed
Vegetable oil
1 fennel bulb
2 medium plums

Dressing
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high with the BBQ mat on the grill.
Combine the spices in a small bowl and stir in the oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Quarter the plums and slice half the fennel bulb into ½ inch slices, leaving the core on the bulb.
Drizzle the fennel slices and plum quarters with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Coat one side of the fish with half the coriander mixture and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Place the fish with the spice mixture side down and the fennel on the BBQ mat and grill for 5 minutes. Coat the fish with the spice mixture and turn it over. Turn the fennel over and place the plums on the mat. Grill for 5 minutes more. Place the grilled fennel and plums on a serving dish and drizzle the dressing over them. Serve the grilled salad on individual plates, cut the grilled fillet in half and place on top of the grilled fennel/plum mixture.

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Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad

Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.

For 2 servings

Dressing
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper

Salad
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

Directions

To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.

To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.

To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Ingredients

6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

directions
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 499 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.

Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the bread is golden and cheese is melted and golden brown. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.

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African immigrants in the United States come from almost all regions in Africa and do not constitute a homogeneous group. They include peoples from different national, linguistic, ethnic, racial, cultural and social backgrounds. As such, African immigrants are distinct from African Americans, many of whose ancestors were involuntarily brought from West Africa and Central Africa to British North America by means of the Atlantic slave trade. African Americans whose ancestors were forced into slavery and Africans who emigrated to the US have all contributed numerous qualities in the development of the US as a nation and have greatly influenced our culinary world.

Since the 17th century, enslaved Africans and their descendants have had a profound impact on what Americans grow and eat. Watermelon, okra, yams, black-eyed peas, and some peppers are all indigenous to Africa. Fruits and vegetables brought from Africa flourished in America in large part because enslaved Africans planted their own gardens to supplement the meager rations provided by their captors. These plants eventually made their way from gardens of the enslaved to those of some of the wealthiest and most prominent people in the country, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, whose gardens were planted with heirloom seeds from Africa. Enslaved African chefs left their mark on certain cooking methods, while also developing recipes that are now staples in the American diet, particularly in the American South. Dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, pepper pot and the method of cooking greens called Hoppin’ John (a dish made with greens and pork) are all examples. “The method of deep frying of fish or barbecuing meats were all documented in West Africa before the transatlantic slave trade,” says Kelley Deetz, director of programming at Stratford Hall and who is also the author of Bound to the Fire, which explores how Virginia’s enslaved cooks helped invent American cuisine. “These dishes and ingredients were essential to the formation of Southern, and eventually American, food.”

The continent of Africa has seen many changes in migration patterns over the course of history. The influx of African immigrants began in the latter part of the 20th century and is often referred to as the “fourth great migration.” About three-fourths of all immigrants from Africa went to the United States after 1990. This trend began after decolonization, as many Africans moved to the U.S. seeking education and an escape from poverty, and this trend has been steadily rising over time. Originally, these immigrants came with the sole purpose of advancing themselves before returning to their respective countries. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of African immigrants interested in gaining permanent residence in the U.S. One major factor that contributes to migration from Africa to the United States is for job opportunities. It has been relatively easier for Africans with advanced education to leave and enter the international labor markets. In addition, many Africans move to the United States for advanced training. For example, doctors from different African nations move to the U.S. in order to increase their skills and gain more economic opportunities.

African immigrants tend to retain their culture once in the United States. Cultural bonds are developed through shared ethnic or national affiliations. Some organizations like the Ghanaian group Fantse-Kuo and the Sudanese Association are organized by country, region, or ethnic group. Other nonprofits like the Malawi Washington Association is organize by national identity and are inclusive of all Malawians. Other groups present traditional culture from a pan-African perspective. Using traditional skills and knowledge, African-born entrepreneurs develop services for immigrants and the community at large. In the Washington area, events such as the annual Ethiopian soccer tournament, institutions such as the AME Church African Liberation Ministry, and “friends” and “sister cities” organizations bring together different communities. According to estimates in 2000, there were 8.7 million African American families in the United States. The ten states with the largest populations of African Americans are New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan, and Maryland.

The migration of Africans to Europe and the US has introduced a range of African culinary dishes to the world. Ethiopian and Moroccan foods have made their mark with popular restaurants in urban hubs like London, New York, Paris, and Washington DC. Traditionally, African cuisines use a combination of locally grown fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, and meats. African cuisine can be broken down largely into styles from Central Africa, East Africa, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, South Africa, and West Africa. Heavily influenced by spices, African recipes are known for their intense flavor and often include combining sweet flavors such as dried fruit, ginger, and cinnamon with garlic and onions.

The historical record indicates chickens were known in ancient Egypt by 1,400 BC, and later in the Greek and Roman empires. When they first arrived in sub-Saharan Africa is unknown, but they are now common throughout Africa as in the rest of the world. A similar bird, the guinea fowl, is native to Africa and is widely raised there. Both are often called kuku in many African languages. Nsusu or soso are words for chicken in the Congo region. Every culture has its own way of cooking chicken. One classic method of preparing chicken in Africa is to stew it in a peanut and tomato sauce (this basic recipe goes by many names in different parts of Africa). Another delicious African chicken dish is Poulet Yassa, which is chicken marinated in an onion-mustard mixture. The African kitchen is traditionally outside or in a separate building apart from the sleeping and living quarters. By far the most traditional and to-this-day the most common sight in an African kitchen is a stewpot filled with meat and vegetables (often greens) simmering over a fire. The pot usually sits on three stones arranged in a triangle, and the fire slowly consumes three pieces of wood that meet at a point under the pot.

Here is another traditional recipe for chicken.

Piri-Piri Chicken with Piri-Piri Sauce

Piri-Piri (sometimes spelled peri-peri) is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’, or ‘strong pepper’ and refers to an African-style chili sauce. Piri-Piri Chicken is marinated in a hot chile pepper marinade, then grilled. This dish evolved in Angola and Mozambique (once Portuguese colonies) after Portuguese explorers and settlers brought American chili peppers to Africa.

The most basic piri-piri marinade recipe calls for just oil, cayenne pepper or minced fresh hot chile peppers, and salt. Many piri-piri recipes add an acidic liquid (usually lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or possibly wine or liquor) which adds a tang and tenderizes the chicken. More elaborate versions also include additional flavorings and spices.

This recipe makes quite a bit and since I cook for two most days, I cut the recipe in half. This dish is delicious and the chicken turns out quite tender and juicy. The sauce has a bit of a kick but not overly spicy.

6-8 servings

Ingredients

4 lb chicken cut into parts or 4 lbs of your favorite chicken parts, about 8 pieces.

Peri Peri Marinade
3 red chilies (reduce for less heat or remove seeds), finely chopped or use 2 tablespoons red chili paste
1 green chili, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Peri Peri Sauce
3 tablespoons reserved marinade
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken parts and blend well.

Reserve 3 tablespoons of the marinade in a small storage container and the coat the chicken with the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.

Hear an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan.

For the Piri-Piri Sauce
Add reserved marinade, water, and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to boil. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and keep warm.

To cook the chicken
Place chicken bone side down on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken over once more and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and drizzle the sauce over the grilled chicken.

African Cucumber Sambal

Ingredients

2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 green chili (jalapeno pepper), minced
1 teaspoon sugar or natural sweetener (honey, agave nectar, etc.)
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 mint leaves, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well to cover.


Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
The Sambal will store up to 4 days refrigerated in a tightly covered..

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Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cows-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Sometimes I add Italian black olives to the salad for a change but it is not traditional.

Ingredients

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Turkey Scaloppine

Ingredients

1 lb turkey breast cutlets
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Minced fresh parsley and lemon wedges for serving

Directions

Flatten turkey to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In another shallow bowl, beat egg and water together. In a third shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese.

Dredge turkey in flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture and coat with crumbs. Place on a plate and let stand for 5 minutes.


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook the turkey cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink and the coating is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 8 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook for one minute. Pour in the heavy cream and, then, stir in the tomato paste. Bring to a low boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.

Off the heat, stir in the basil and the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls with grated Parmesan on the side.

Serve with a green salad.

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Potato Salad

Ingredients

2 lbs whole small unpeeled red skinned potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/4 cup minced bread and butter pickles
1/2 a large sweet onion finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large pot with a lid. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook the potatoes with the lid ajar until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes into a storage bowl. Add the pickle juice and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so.

Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and taste to see if the salad needs salt. Add black pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator until serving time.

Basic Barbecue Sauce

This is a delicious sauce to have on hand during the summer grilling season. Use it to baste chicken or to top hamburgers and hotdogs right off the grill.

Yield: about 1-1/3 cups.

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Few drops hot pepper sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

BBQ Ribs

Prepare the rub and marinate the ribs one day ahead.

Rub Mixture

1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Ribs

1-2 St. Louis-cut spare rib racks
BBQ Sauce, recipe above or your favorite sauce

Directions

Combine the rub ingredients in a small dish.
Prepare the ribs by removing the silver skin or scoring it between the bones on the underside of the ribs.
Place the ribs in a baking dish and coat the sides of the ribs with the rub.
Allow the ribs to sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Roast the ribs, meat side up, covered with foil, in the oven for 3 hours.

To finish on an outdoor grill
When the ribs are done baking, heat the grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack.

Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce and place them on the grill. Grill the ribs, basting with more BBQ sauce and turning occasionally until they begin to char about 5 to 6 minutes.

Cut into serving pieces and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping.

To finish indoors
Remove the ribs from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slather the tops of the ribs with the BBQ sauce.
Return the ribs, uncovered, to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes.

Vegetable Kabobs

For every 2 servings

1 small zucchini
1 small green bell pepper
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian salad vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Cut the zucchini into 6 diagonal slices
Cut the bell pepper into 8 pieces
Place the cut vegetables and cherry tomatoes in a mixing bowl, Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate at room temperature for several hours.

Thread the vegetables on one skewer and the tomatoes on another, Place the skewers on the grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving plate.
The kabobs can also be grilled on a stovetop grill pan.

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For every two servings:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cups thinly sliced bell peppers, all colors
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
12 oz sustainable, harpoon-caught swordfish or mahi-mahi, 2 inches thick
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, fennel seed, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and the garlic starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano, thyme, and paprika. Add bell peppers, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Add capers and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes more.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Brush fish with the remaining tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the fish, turning once halfway until the flesh is opaque, 12 minutes total, depending on thickness. Transfer the fish to a clean cutting board and cut into 2 portions.

Arrange the fish over the Peperonata and top with basil.

Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F. Oil an 8-inch square baking dish.

Halve the squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half.
Arrange squash in the prepared baking dish, cut sides down. Bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands that will look like spaghetti.
Heat the oil and butter. Add the pepper. Pour over the squash and toss. Add the cheeses and toss again.

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