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Vegetables

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A cheap but authentic wok is best for this – a carbon steel one which heats up quick and is hot enough to properly sear food well (non-stick is an easy clean but never gets hot enough and produces more steam or humidity to the mixture resulting in more saucy stir fries vs. quick cooked, fresh and flavorful. A cast iron pan is also fine. But start with what you have. If you have a round wok bottom and a flat (regular, electric stove top) make sure you get the metal ring the wok sits in. I use both fresh garlic and ginger, as well as the added boost of some jarred stuff, which is always on hand. Plates from Chinatown (the blue and white patterned ones) are especially pretty for this dish. Serve with jasmine tea and dessert could be store-bought fortune cookies, restaurant almond cookies, and/or mango sherbet with mandarin oranges on top. 

There are a zillion mashed eggplant dishes. This one, is slices, marinated in a tangy lemon garlic vinaigrette. It would be at home on a summer table, a picnic, or with grilled, cold chicken. Have this once, and it will be a staple in your eggplant repetoire. It is also easier than the usual eggplant recipes.

You can also leave out the egg and flour dip, and just fry the eggplant slices in oil – minus their coating. Either way, is good.

 

A glaze of ginger ale, cranberry and orange juices sweeten this Rosh Hashanah potato casserole, which can be assembled a day or two before.  I prefer the addition of dried apricots and raisins but dried prunes are traditional. Canned mandarin orange segments or cubed canned pineapple would also be a nice change. Although Tzimmes is typically served at Rosh Hashanah, it is welcome at almost any Jewish festive meal.

Eat your lima beans! I promise these are different and one taste will launch a lifetime love affair. I was introduced to this lovely, simple, appetizer at Greek restaurant in Montreal called Molivos. A business colleague and I, enjoyed a power lunch, broiled snapper, and this memorable dish. It was so good, I returned again with a date and had an encore. A couple of days later, as luck would have it, the original recipe appeared in the food section of the Montreal Gazette.

The original recipe called for 4 cups (4 cups!) of olive oil (for a grand total of 1365 calories per serving!) but I have reduced it by more than half. There were in fact, more than one mis-steps in the original restaurant recipe and it was a reminder to me, to test, test, test - trust no one in the kitchen. But in the end, this simple dish was every bit as good as the first time I had it. There is no way I can convey how good this dish is. You just have to try it. Have a nice green salad, hard cooked eggs, and a fresh baguette near by to sop it all up. A perfect summer meal.
A hearty spud dish

So many people enjoy this simple salad. It is easy, keeps well and is refreshing in summer, at a bbq supper, or as a side with a meal. It doubles and triples well for a crowd.

I made this up a few years ago based on all the things I like in a traditional turkey stuffing. It is designed to be old-fashioned, flavorful, and easy and stop you from every buying stuffing that comes in a box. This is beyond pretty darn good. I am not above using a convenience product but when tasty, natural and quick and easy all converge, what's the point? Holidays should be about the real stuff - especially the stuffing.

Oven bake this incredible gourmet cranberry sauce. The oven deep bakes the flavor so the fruits meld just so, and no mixing and pot-watching for you. Just layer, bake, one stir and serve. So good –you’ll have to roast a turkey as an excuse to devour all the sauce. Recipe doubles well. As one of our testers pointed out, you can chuck this in the oven with the turkey to save burner space. Same tester (hey Jan in Vermont!) said and we quote "Hate to change the tried and true traditional things of Thanksgiving but change Is good and this cranberry sauce recipe is so, so good!".

Baked in muffin cups, this creamy, irresistibly cheesy Mac and Cheese bakes up into a perfect snack food, that is great for kids or dining for one. I make about a dozen Mac and Cheese muffins with this recipe and put the rest in a small casserole (that serves 1-2 people) Mac and Cheese which I freeze and heat up another time. Swop panko crumbs instead of soda cracker crumbs – either way, you’ll have a crisp, buttery top.

The trick here is to brown the matzoh in the oven first for more flavor. Baking this in a deep 9 or 10-inch quiche dish makes for a more attractive presentation but any ovenproof casserole is fine.

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