To get to the trains in Boston's Back Bay Station, you navigate between two of those famous Northeast donut shops and a vendor selling Jamaican meat patties from his cart. On most days I can resist the temptation of lattes and chocolate glazed doughnuts, but the aroma of curry wafting from that cart pulls me in. The last time I walked through the station, I promised I would make Jamaican meat patties for you. Though I prefer mine with extra-lean ground beef, you can substitute freely with ground chicken or turkey, pork or even goat, which is a Caribbean favorite. The filling comes together quickly from ingredients you already have in your pantry, and to make it even easier, use store-bought discos (empanada dough), another pantry staple, for the wrapping. If you have time, make a double or triple batch. Freeze them after they're baked, and reheat in a warm oven whenever you're ready to serve. These tasty little hand pies make a great take-to-work lunch, and a popular party appetizer.
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When our friends Mary and Michael took us to Arthur & Pat's, their favorite beach-side breakfast place, a couple of weeks ago, my husband Ted ordered pumpkin banana pancakes that disappeared before I had a chance to taste them (how's that for a recommendation?). So, when he suggested waffles with the same flavors, we made a batter, and tasted, and added, and tasted, and added, until we got as close as we could to the pancakes Ted remembered. Afterwards, though the waffles were so very good, I realized what was missing: the sea air. Everything tastes better when you're near the water, but I promise that, even inland, you'll fall hard for these waffles. Don't forget to freeze a few to pop in the toaster for afternoon snacks.
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The arrival of Spring triggers in me an instant, visceral aversion to Spring cleaning. I don't know why -- perhaps a lifelong rebellion at being told what to do, and when to do it. This year, though, I've been cleaning out cupboards, storage boxes and shelves nonstop since March. Tucked away in a forgotten file, a cache of recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines years ago contained more than a few recipes I still wanted to try. One of those little scraps of paper inspired this mango and raspberry crisp. I had a nectarine that was perfectly ripe, so I combined it with the mango; I think any stone fruit (apricots? plums?) would be delicious. The almond topping, a last-minute inspiration, made these little crisps crunchy and gluten-free.
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A couple of weeks ago, my cheesemaker friend Christine arrived with a log of her glorious chevre, and also an early experiment with a beeswax-rind goat gouda that was out of this world. Every bit as ethereal, the fresh, yeasty pizza dough her husband made for us (thank you, Ross) begged to be played with, right then and there. We divided the dough into six equal pan pizza portions -- each one just the right size for one or two people -- and cooked them one at a time in a small nonstick frying pan on the stove top. It was the perfect way to indulge our individual topping fantasies, combining homemade cheeses with produce from the farmstand and herbs from my garden, and a great idea for family pizza night or a pizza party. Create a toppings bar, with a selection of cheeses, vegetables, fruits and herbs, and let everyone decorate the pizzas of their dreams.
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