All summer I practiced with my slow cookers, adapting recipes from cookbooks and blogs, modifying some of my own stove top and oven favorites to the low-and-slow cooking style of these wonderful little machines. I knew the day would come when I would give zucchini a try, yet I feared turning it to complete and utter mush with hours of cooking. The solution? Add it at the end, so it stays firm and flavorful. This quinoa with zucchini, mushrooms and chicken sausage, a satisfying one-pot meal, requires just five minutes of prep, and delivers big flavor, with no mush. Practice makes perfect.
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Indexing recipes so you can find them easily on The Perfect Pantry is one of the toughest parts of my job. After all, who am I to dictate that this avocado and edamame spread should be a lunch dish? I enjoyed it for breakfast, and again for mid-afternoon snack, and then I gave the rest away to someone who ate it for a light summer supper. And then I went out and bought another avocado so I could make it again the same day. Please try this, even if you think you don't love soybeans. The creamy, sesame goodness will win you over.
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When I turned 13 years old, my grandparents gave me the gift of a summer in Israel in honor of my bat mitzvah. I lived on a kibbutz, worked in the orchards and the chicken coops, and learned to love foods I'd never tasted before, like pomegranates, which we plucked from our own trees, and falafel, and hummus. It's so easy to make your own hummus. All you need are canned chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic (essential), olive oil, and a food processor or blender. Add whatever flavorings you have in the pantry. I love this sun-dried tomato and basil hummus; if you have your own slow-roasted tomatoes, substitute those for a more intense tomato flavor.
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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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