True confession: I'm not wild about chickpeas. A bad dinner party entrée served to me more than thirty years ago left a permanent scar on my taste buds; the host, a newly-minted vegetarian, served undercooked chickpeas that felt like tiny pellets assaulting my stomach. To this day, I'm leery of recipes that call for dried chickpeas, and except when making hummus, I always give canned chickpeas a second cooking, if only for a few minutes. This recipe for roasted chickpeas with raisins, parsley and mint takes that approach: a quick roasting at high heat to give the chickpeas some depth of flavor, then a toss in a sweet vinaigrette with fresh herbs from the garden. Vegan and gluten-free, this would be perfect for a light lunch or potluck.
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Now that my husband Ted has declared kale pesto his favorite, I'm finding other ways to use the basil I planted in my herb garden to make a winter's worth of pesto for the freezer, and I'm also finding other ways to work this kale version into my summer cooking. Pasta with kale pesto, shrimp and tomato won our hearts, and I can't wait to make it again with cherry tomatoes from the garden in a month or so. The surprising thing about kale pesto is that it doesn't taste like a dark leafy green at all; it's redolent with garlic and cheese, just like pesto Genovese made with basil, but the flavor is a bit lighter and brighter. If you prefer, omit the shrimp in this recipe, or substitute shredded rotisserie chicken to make an easy dish even easier.
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Old-fashioned curried chicken salad, the kind you find in the supermarket deli case, seldom floats my boat. Too much curry powder makes it bitter; too much celery overpowers the curry. Too much mayonnaise drowns it all. If that sounds familiar, then this curried chicken pasta salad with apricots and cashews just might restore your faith. Start with big chunks of chicken, add your favorite small pasta (I love the mini penne and mini bow ties), some crunchy Granny Smith apple, plump dried apricots, and cashews. Use mango-studded Major Grey's chutney in the dressing. Make all of the components ahead, and combine at the last minute for a very fresh, fruity, un-gloppy chicken salad.
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No doubt about it -- I'm a stem gal. Always have been, always will be. Yes, broccoli florets are sexier, but I've always been partial to the stems. Peel them and slice them, or julienne with your mandoline. Or, let someone else do the work while you buy ready-to-cook broccoli slaw from the supermarket. That's what I do, and as a result, I'm eating a lot more fiber-filled, Vitamin D-rich, detoxifying broccoli these days. This version of broccoli slaw salad, with honey-mustard yogurt dressing and the tartness of lime, makes a perfect side dish for grilled beef, chicken or fish.
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