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July 16, 2014

Slow cooker shredded hoisin beef, for sandwiches, sliders, or lettuce wraps

Slow cooker shredded beef wrapped in lettuce leaves: sweet and light.

Although the kitchen has been hot, hot, hot for the past few weeks, I'm keeping my cool, with a little help from the slow cooker. In the summer, I eat cold salads more often than not, but when I do cook, I make enough to stash in the freezer, to carry me through the dog days. This shredded hoisin beef appeals to eaters of all ages, it freezes perfectly, and it's a flexible filling for sandwiches or sliders, or light and lean lettuce wraps, depending on who wants what. Hoisin sauce contains sugar, and though rice vinegar cuts the sweetness a bit, we still call this "hoisin beef candy" in our house. When you're slow cooking to shred, please try my technique of cutting the meat into quarters, and browning each piece on all sides. With more surface area, the edges get nice and "burnt", almost like barbecue. The lip-smacking sweet sauce will dribble down your chin, also just like barbecue. Top sandwiches or wraps with some raw crunchy vegetables (I like radishes and carrots) for contrast.

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June 5, 2014

Seven super sandwiches for summer weekends

The ultimate bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, with garlicky Green Goddess dressing.

In the house where I grew up, tuna salad sandwiches ruled. Nobody really liked peanut butter and jelly, and tuna from a can was easier to make than egg salad, which ran a close second in the sandwich race. We didn't go in for fancy: tuna, Miracle Whip (yes, really), sometimes a slice of tomato, and mushy bread. It doesn't sound terrific now, but when I was a kid, that was nirvana in my lunchbox, and I could eat that sandwich every day.

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December 5, 2013

Green goddess bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich recipe

Green goddess bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, outstanding at any time of year.

With a gazillion seasonal recipes flooding the Internet -- Thanksgiving and Chanukah collided last week, Christmas and New Year's recipes are piling up, and elaborately-decorated sugar cookies just might take over the planet -- I'm here to offer you, quite simply, the very best bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich I've ever tasted. I can't take credit for it; that honor belongs to Picco, a little pizza restaurant across the street from my house in Boston. Their BLT is off the menu until tomato season next summer, but I couldn't wait that long to have it again, and I don't want you to wait, either. Spring for a single out-of-season heirloom tomato at the market, if you must; this BLT is worth it. Salty, garlicky, herby green goddess dressing seduces the crisp bacon, juicy tomato and crunchy lettuce in a way that plain old mayonnaise cannot. Two pieces of toasted or grilled bread (Picco chars theirs in wood-fired ovens) hold it all together. Stairway to BLT heaven, I promise.

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October 17, 2013

Chili powder (Recipe: turkey tacos)

First published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. We love this spicy turkey filling in tacos, on salads, or as the topping for a rice bowl with a dollop of guacamole and a big plop of sour cream. 

Super easy turkey tacos.

Some like it hot.

I like it really hot.

I like it hot enough to make my scalp tingle, my sinuses drip, and my eyes water. (Do I need to mention that I'm talking about food now, not the weather?) I wasn't always like this, but a trip to New Orleans years ago started me down the pepper path, and there is no turning back.

Sometimes, though, unadulterated heat isn't the goal. When I want a more complex depth of flavor in Mexican and Southwestern dishes, I often reach for chili powder.

Are you confused by the whole chili/chile thing? Many people are, and product packaging doesn't really help, with the willy-nilly and often interchangeable use of chile, chili, chillie and chilli.

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September 5, 2013

Recipe for roasted shrimp tacos with avocado peach salsa

Roasted shrimp tacos with avocado peach salsa.

Here in New England, summer -- and everything in the garden -- comes crashing down, literally, in the first two weeks of September. Ripe peaches plop from the trees, and we hurry to scoop the last tomatoes off the vines before they fall and rot. No one wants to give up on summer, so if you're in denial, like I am, try these roasted shrimp tacos with ultra-fresh avocado peach salsa. Juicy tomatoes and peaches, and creamy avocado, dribble down your chin, in a way that makes you believe that summer can go on forever. I always have shrimp in my freezer, but if you have scallops or salmon or other mild fresh fish, go ahead and substitute. A few pickled jalapeños on top, or extra cilantro, would be great. Pack these tacos to go, for an end-of-summer beach party or picnic.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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