My husband Ted has a thing for smoothies, and it turns out that he's a darned good smoothie maker. In general, Ted's an out-of-the-box thinker, and he's that kind of cook, too. He starts by reading some recipes to get a sense of proportions, then he puts together his own combinations, sometimes weird and often wonderful. There's nothing wacky in this apple smoothie. It's cool and refreshing for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Use your favorite apple, and leave the skin on for a bit of extra oomph. And don't be put off by the color, which I admit looks a bit like medicine; the taste is pure apple.
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When we lived in Boston, friends with plots in the local community garden would deposit zucchini on our front stoop, and as we didn't have our own garden, my husband Ted and I relished the unexpected gift of other people's bounty. Little did we realize we were doing them a favor by taking those excess zucchini. Here in rural Rhode Island, it's common for folks to come to visit in late summer brandishing zucchini large and small, their eyes begging us to take those all-too-abundant vegetables off their hands. I love the small zucchini, tender enough to eat raw, or toss on the grill, or dice into this zucchini, bacon and feta quiche. (Save the canoe-size specimens for flotation devices. Or for soup.) Quiche tastes best at room temperature, which makes this recipe great for make-ahead entertaining.
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While I was cruising the aisles at the market the other day, a box of frozen artichoke hearts jumped out of the freezer case into my shopping cart. (I'm amazed at how often that happens to me. Does it happen to you, too?) As is often the case, I didn't have a plan for them, but I had beautiful farm eggs and a chunk of feta waiting to be called to action, and the idea for this egg and cheese casserole came together in an instant. I'm a huge fan of protein-based breakfasts, and almost forgot to snap some photographs before I nibbled away too much of this dish. The salty feta doesn't overwhelm; rather, it balances the creamy, mild artichokes. The casserole (call it a crustless quiche, if you prefer) would be equally good for a vegetarian lunch or light supper main course. Using plain artichoke hearts -- not the marinated ones -- and steaming the vegetables in the microwave keeps the casserole lower in fat, without sacrificing any flavor.
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Until I moved to Rhode Island a decade ago, I'd never heard of johnnycakes (which are also spelled jonnycakes, so let's get that out of the way up front). Johnnycakes, made of cornmeal and gluten-free, are to Rhode Islanders what pancakes are to the rest of the world. Most often they're served just like pancakes, with butter and a glug of local maple syrup. These savory two-bite roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan johnnycakes fit nicely into the end of the day, as a cocktail party appetizer or snack at a barbecue. As with any recipe that has just a few ingredients, be sure to use the best cheese, basil and pepper you can find. Serve them hot off the griddle, and spell them whichever way you like.
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