How can a woman be expected to name a favorite from among her children? Impossible, isn't it? And yet... and yet... I have to say that this turkey soup, packed with dark leafy greens, chewy fregula sarda and peppery Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, is my new favorite soup. It's a near-perfect balance of protein, pasta, vegetables and cheese -- the four food groups of soup! Substitute freely: ground beef, pork or chicken for turkey; kale or chard for escarole; Israeli couscous for fregula sarda; vegetable broth for chicken broth. Make a big batch and portion some out for the freezer, where you'll be glad to find it on a cold winter day.
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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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For years -- well, for decades -- I cooked barley only one way: in soup, with mushrooms and carrots and rich beef or chicken stock. So I missed out on decades of amazing warm and cold barley salads, and now I'm making up for lost time. Or for lost tastes. This barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad came together after a quick pantry raid and a short hop to the herb garden for some of the curly parsley I'm growing this year for the first time. The strong, salty flavors of the artichokes, tomato and cheese, plus the lemony flavor of a zahtar-based dressing, provide just the right counterpoint to the creamy barley. For a vegan salad, omit the cheese, and add some kalamata olives.
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First published in June 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. Marinated mozzarella cheese takes just minutes to make, and a few days to steep in the good flavors of the herbs. For a quick appetizer, just add toothpicks.
Who was more ingenious, the Provencal cook who first tossed together a few herbs growing on a hillside and gave it a fancy-sounding name -- herbes de Provence -- or the person who thought to market those herbs in an adorable ceramic crock ?
(You have one of those iconic little crocks on your spice rack, don't you? Me, too.)
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