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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Sometimes we overlook the obvious, the recipes that seem so simple, too simple, and we forget that those simple recipes often are really, really good. So there we were, my husband Ted and I, stuck in the house with a storm on the way. I'd planned to cook a few recipes to share with you, and I opened the refrigerator to start pulling out ingredients. That's when I saw the eggs, already hard-boiled. How could I resist deviled eggs? I always have lemons and capers in the pantry, and some fresh parsley (or dill) was a perfect addition. These deviled eggs came together in minutes, and, as it turned out, resistance was futile. Before we knew it, Ted and I had devoured the entire batch. Lemon caper deviled eggs will be a sure hit on your holiday menu.
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On any given Sunday morning, you can find me standing at the butcher block counter in my kitchen, all-important first cup of coffee within easy reach, eggs and shredded cheese and odds and ends of vegetables arrayed before me. Even without coffee -- even in my sleep -- I can preheat the oven and whip up a breakfast casserole in less than ten minutes. And half an hour later, when my household wakes up, something like this broccoli, mushroom, egg and cheese casserole will be there to greet them. I'm a huge fan of protein-centered breakfasts, and I also love egg and cheese casseroles for lunch or worknight dinners. Unlike souffles, egg casseroles aren't fussy, which is good to know if you're planning to cook while not quite fully awake.
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