Whether the idea for this salad originated with a neighbor's gift of some kale stalks, a few gorgeous strawberries in the refrigerator, or a bag of sliced almonds I found in the freezer when I was searching for walnuts, I really can't remember. What I do know is that the combination is magical: sweet strawberry, bitter kale and crunchy almonds, bound together with a yogurt-based vegetarian Caesar salad dressing. For the longest time, I never added fruit into green salads. I can't imagine why not, as the sweet bite of fruit really makes a salad pop. Strawberries are available year-round in my local markets. While they're not the same as garden-fresh berries, they're fine here, and the color brightens up my cold weather salads.
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What's the difference between green cabbage and red cabbage? It's not only color that sets them apart; though both are super low-calorie, red cabbage packs more than ten times the amount of Vitamin A, beneficial for vision and immune system health. Red and green cabbage taste exactly the same, and that's what matters when it comes to swapping one for the other in dishes like this chicken and cabbage salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing. If chicken isn't your thing, use leftover cooked roast beef or stir-fried tofu. If blue cheese isn't your thing, I urge you to give it another chance, or you can substitute feta cheese. The tangy dressing really makes this dish something special. Make the salad a little bit ahead, and the cabbage will soften and mellow.
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In Something's Gotta Give -- yes, yes, it's a chick flick, and I love it -- the most romantic scene catches Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in their bathrobes, in her kitchen, at night, sharing a pan of eggs by candlelight. I think eggs are romantic, too. Maybe it's because they're warm and familiar, or just so silky soft and sensuous. If you love eggs, here's a simple little herb and ricotta frittata a deux. All you need are eggs, fresh herbs (whatever's left in your garden), creamy ricotta cheese and a bit of sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, an onion, candles, and two forks. Or, make this as a treat for yourself, and eat it straight from the pan while watching the movie in your bathrobe.
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A new-to-the-blog reader, who happens to live nearby in Rhode Island, mentioned recently that she's been reluctant to try some ethnic recipes because she doesn't believe in single-purpose ingredients. Of course that's the premise behind this site, to use what's in our pantries in more than one way. This recipe for roasted green beans and potatoes with creamy sesame dressing proves the point. If you have a tin of tahini (sesame paste) in your pantry, odds are you're planning to make hummus. I love hummus, and I've shared recipes for asparagus, lemon-onion, and roasted red pepper and garlic hummus, but there's so much more you can do with tahini. Like peanut butter, which makes a good substitute, nutty tahini blends with tangy ingredients like buttermilk, lemon or yogurt to make wonderful and unexpected salad dressings and sauces with Middle Eastern flair. Use any vegetables you have on hand; I like beans and potatoes, but bell pepper, onion, broccoli, zucchini or eggplant -- or all of them together -- also would be delicious in this recipe.
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