During a raging rain storm, when you can't work in the garden, you have time to do many things. Read a book. Take a nap. Build a fire in the fireplace. Talk to the cats. Root around in the pantry. This tomato vegetable soup with cheese ravioli is a forgiving soup. If you want to use up a bit of potato, toss it in. Fresh chives from your garden? Add a handful. Some shreds of rotisserie chicken? Sure, why not? Let Mother Nature have her temper tantrum. After all, you have a perfect pantry, and you can always make soup.
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Although this recipe originated in Jamaica, it's popular throughout the Caribbean, and you can see why, can't you? These orange-spiced carrots look happy. That's because they are happy, after bathing in sugar, ginger, and orange or mango juice. The recipe couldn't be easier: Shred some carrots, using a food processor fitted with a shredding disk; cook the liquid and aromatics; dunk the carrots in the liquid; let everything get happy together for a quick few minutes. This dish tastes just as good cold as hot, so you can make it a day in advance. Serve as a side dish to not-too-spicy jerk chicken.
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Does this ever happen to you? You make a grocery list, trot off to the store, buy everything on the list, bring it home, unpack, and then scratch your head and wonder what on Earth you'd planned to cook. I can't remember what I had in mind for a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes -- cookies? cupcakes? -- but from now on, it's going to be this broccoli slaw salad, inspired by the garnishes traditionally served with Indian curries. Cashews, raisins, and toasted coconut give crunch and sweetness to the broccoli, which is tossed with a curry-spiced Greek yogurt dressing. Call it a side dish, or a main dish for lunch. I promise you'll be buying coconut more often, because you're going to love this salad, so please do as I forgot to do -- write down, somewhere, what you're planning to make with it.
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Every day, green shoots (chives! daffodils!) appear in the garden where snow and mud used to be, so I'm pushing the season and planning ahead for picnics and porch dinners. You really can't have a party without cole slaw, at least not in New England. There's nothing wrong with the traditional cabbage-and-mayo recipe, but this smoky spicy cole slaw seems tailor-made for barbecue. I love to make it with Rhode Island's own Cowboy Ketchup, a magical blend of ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce flavors; you can swap in your own favorite homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce. To keep this slaw on the lower-fat side, I use two parts nonfat Greek yogurt to one part mayonnaise. Make the slaw a day or two in advance, and serve it cold, atop your favorite ribs, hot dogs or burgers.
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