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TWO EARLY-WINTER SALADS

TWO EARLY-WINTER SALADS

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday after T-Day. I was waiting for our guest to arrive and looking over the food… something just wasn’t right. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie… Hmmm. All soft cooked foods. We need something cold, raw, sharp.

It just so happened that a friend gave us with a bag of Fuyu persimmons.  He said he couldn’t get enough of them and they were $1 a pound near Sacramento, so brought them as a gift in exchange for sleeping on our sofa. I  like persimmons but… well, it’s more like I don’t dislike them, but there are fruits I like better. I like the idea of them more than I like to eat them.  Still, there they sat in their roundness, waiting for a purpose in life.

(In case you’re a persimmon neophyte. here is an explanation about the differences in persimmons – many varieties but two main types, and it is important to know which you are dealing with.)

I looked in the fridge and saw fresh celery. Maybe a persimmon Waldorf? Would that work? It did.

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PERSIMMON WALDORF SALAD

  • 2 Fuyu persimmons
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Peel the persimmons with a knife, removing the calyx (that’s the leafy part) and tough core). Slice them thinly and combine with the celery and onion.

Dressing:

You can use any oil-and-vinegar type dressing, but this is what I made.

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as safflower or canola)
  • 1 -2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or stoneground mustard
  • salt and pepper

Combine dressing ingredients and whip like crazy with a fork until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning – you may want more sugar or mustard. When it’s just right, pour over salad and toss.

This salad does not keep well after 24 hours so make it the day you intend to serve it.

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No sooner than I got home with a gorgeous emerald-green head of Romaine than the alerts came in: Romaine implicated in e-coli cases. Well, shit (so to speak). After a day of dithering, I threw it out. Now what?

It was cold Monday night. I’d had sad news on a couple of fronts, and I just didn’t feel like making some lean and healthy veggie dish. Dammit, I wanted comfort food. Since I’m the chief cook in the house, that’s what we had. Meatloaf (made with grass-fed beef and Italian sausage), macaroni and cheese, and… since I’m not a complete hedonist, I made this salad. It might be another take on Waldorf.

White cabbage is very good right now in the market and provides a super-crisp crunch. I found Arkansas Black apples in the natural food store – $2.29 a pound, but what price deliciousness? I was not surprised to learn they are probably related to the King David apple, another rarely-seen but incredibly flavorful apple. I knew there was fresh celery in the crisper.

This salad keeps very well for at least two days (my husband ate the leftovers the second day so I don’t know how long it might keep after that). It tends toward the excessively pale, hence the brightly-colored apple suggestion.

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WINTER WALDORF SALAD

  • 1/2 large head of white cabbage, chopped into about 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 very crisp, juicy, flavorful apples, preferably with vividly-colored peel
  • 2 cups sliced crisp celery

Wash the apples, core them, and cut into pieces that are easily bite-sized (i.e. less than 1/2″). Combine with cabbage and celery.

Dressing:

Any cole slaw-type dressing or creamy dressing will work, but I like this combination of celery seeds and anise seed with apple cider.

  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons canned evaporated milk, cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed, lightly crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Beat dressing ingredients together until blended. Pour over vegetables, toss, and let sit in refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PEARS AND CHEESE

PEARS AND CHEESE

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I bought some beautiful Comice pears at the farmers market without a definite plan for them. They were just so luscious, shapely, and evocative of autumn that I had to get them.  Fortunately,  my friend Sharon arrived at our house with this delicious dish. She brought it as a first course, but it could work just as well as a warm salad (I suggest placing each pear half on a bed of arugula or frisée, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, toasted walnuts sprinkled over), a side to chicken, pork, ham, duck, turkey, game, or as a dessert (perhaps with a little warm real maple syrup drizzled over).  It would also be great with sausages, ham, or bacon at breakfast or brunch.

If apples is what you have on hand, treat them the same way, with blue cheese or something different (extra sharp Cheddar or very aged real Gouda comes to mind). If hot sauce isn’t your thing, try brushing the pear halves with some port, sherry, Madeira, or Marsala.

With the holidays coming up, this is just in time for an easy way to serve a lot of people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm (not ripe) pear per person
  • Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, or other blue-veined cheese
  • Hot sauce of your choice (Sharon used Tabasco; I used Penzey’s Berbere spice)

Wash pears and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the core/seeds with a spoon or an apple or pear corer. (I will tell you right now, I have never seen a home kitchen with an actual pear corer. I didn’t even know they existed until high school ceramics class, back in the 1970s, where we used them for easily trimming wet clay bowls thrown on the wheel.)

Sprinkle the cored pear halves lightly with hot sauce, Berbere, port, or whatever. Then carefully place some sort of blue-veined cheese on top of the halves. I used about 1 tablespoon cheese on each half, but more is good too. Or less. Your choice.

Put cheese-topped pears in a baking dish. Bake at 350 – 375 until pears are easily pieced with a fork or knife, maybe 25 – 45 minutes. These can be made ahead and rewarmed.

 

THE ALOHA PIE OF YOUR DREAMS

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THE ALOHA PIE OF YOUR DREAMS

Four months?  Four months since I posted here? Apparently so. No idea what happened in that void, other than psychic pain and misery inflicted by the Giant Dorito in the White House, but let us not speak of that. Let us speak of the day when the sun shines again, which we hope will be very very soon.

Fast forward to happier thoughts.

We had guests come to dinner last night, including someone my husband hadn’t seen in more than 40 years. He barbecued 1/2 pound hamburgers. I made the guacamole, the oven fries, and this Aloha Pie.

Years ago I had a slice of Aloha Pie in a restaurant and it was just fabulous, but that restaurant is long gone. I tried a couple of recipes but they weren’t the same… until now.

This started as a recipe for Pineapple Cheese Pie from Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes Volume 1, which you should own because it’s full of retro-to-nearly-retro recipes that anyone can make and which are deliciously unconcerned with fat, salt, and sugar. My copy is stained, dog-eared, and falling apart. I will never let go of it. Anyway, I looked at that recipe and thought it could be improved upon with little effort.

And after all that, the guests didn’t stick around for dessert. Their loss. It was divine.

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This makes a deep-dish 10″ pie.

Note: Do not be tempted to use fresh pineapple. It contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin (in the cream cheese) from setting up.

ALOHA PIE

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed (or substitute another cookie like Nilla Wafers)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Crush the graham crackers by putting them in a plastic bag and whacking them with a rolling pin or similar implement of destruction, or putting them in a blender or food processor. Or you can do what I do and just put them in the pie plate and crumple them with your hands, not worrying if some pieces are bigger than crumb-size. Pour the melted butter in and mix it around. Pat the ensuing butter-crumb melange onto the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes and set aside.

Filling:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Using an electric mixer, blend all the filling ingredients together until smooth. Then add:

  • 1 can (about 1 pound, more or less) pineapple chunks in juice, thoroughly drained (use a good name-brand like Del Monte, not an off-brand. Also, use the juice for something else like a cocktail)
  • 1 firm-ripe thinly sliced banana

Fold those in carefully, then scrape all the filling into the baked crust and smooth the top.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

While that is baking, in the same bowl combine

  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat; nonfat or regular would work too)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Separately, put about

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

in a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat, shaking and stirring frequently, until it has a nice tan. Remove from the pan (if you leave it in the pan it will burn from residual heat) and set aside.

When the pie has baked its allotted 20 minutes, remove from oven. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over the top, then sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Return to the oven and bake another 5 minutes, then remove pie to a cooling rack. Let cool for an hour, then cover and store in refrigerator.

This was even better than I hoped for.

Vary this pie by leaving out the banana and coconut, in which case it would revert to Pineapple Cheese Pie status. Add some macadamia nuts or toasted almonds along with the coconut or in place of. Use vanilla extract, coconut extract, and/or a spoonful of rum in place of the almond extract.  If there are egg whites hiding in the refrigerator, skip the sour cream and top with a meringue instead.

I can’t think of anything you would want to garnish this with. This is perfect on its own.

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LEFTOVER CRANBERRY SAUCE

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Cranberry sauce is one of those foods at Thanksgiving that is like Charoset at Passover Seder: absolutely essential without which you cannot proceed, but for God’s sake don’t make too much because no one will take a lot. (I found this out the hard way at the one and only Seder I was invited to. How was I, a shiksa, to know this? Maybe that’s why I’ve never been invited to another one.)

Even though cranberry sauce keeps really well in the refrigerator – a good three weeks – it’s probably getting tossed because it’s taking up room. Too bad because it goes with turkey, ham, chicken, duck, pork, and is delicious mixed with all kinds of things like horseradish and applesauce.

But if you have some that you don’t know what to do with: mix it with a spoonful of prepared mustard, pepper, vinegar and a little oil. Toss it with some sturdy greens like Romaine, some sections of Mandarin oranges (in season now), thinly sliced red onion, and maybe a few stray beans if there are any in the fridge (green, black, pinto, garbanzo, whatever).  Maybe sprinkle with some feta cheese. Yes, it’s purple. Dim the lights if that offends you. It’s delicious.

WALDORF: NOT JUST SALAD

WALDORF: NOT JUST SALAD

Years ago I read a rather sweet story, possibly in one of my old cooking magazines, written by an elderly man about his one experience at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

He was an army private during WWII, on leave at home in New York one Christmas. He wanted to propose in a spectacularly romantic fashion to his girl (this was before flash mobs and YouTube) but was on a limited budget. So he wrote to the maitre d’ at the Waldorf Astoria. He explained that he would like to take his girl there for dinner on New Year’s Eve and propose to her at midnight, and told the maitre d’ his budget. I don’t remember now what the budget was, but it was low. Very low for the Waldorf-Astoria, but he didn’t know that.

Eventually he got a note back from the Waldorf-Astoria saying there was a table reserved for two on New Year’s Eve. He and his girl dressed in their finest and arrived at the hotel and were escorted to their table. They were presented with a hand-watercolored paper menu outlining what they would be served: consomme, breast of chicken, baked potato, vegetables.

The two lovebirds enjoyed their dinner. Afterwords, at a word from the maitre d’, the house band struck up their song, and they stepped onto the dance floor – where the young man proposed.

I don’t remember now what the bill was, or if it was comped by the Waldorf-Astoria, or how that was worked out. She said yes and that was the important part. It was only years later that the young man realized that his budget could not ever have covered the cost of the dinner, and that he had been given a great gift courtesy of the Waldorf-Astoria.

So I told you all that to get around to this.

I’m always a little surprised when people tell me they have never heard of Waldorf Salad. My mother always made it at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We never had it any other time, and I don’t know why not because it’s easy to make and goes with a lot of other foods. And I never think to make it except for a holiday dinner. It is credited to Oscar of the Waldorf  but actually was made elsewhere before he got credit. No matter.

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WALDORF SALAD

  • fresh crisp apples, preferably with pretty peel color
  • fresh crisp celery, preferably not stringy
  • walnuts
  • mayonnaise

This isn’t even a recipe: Chop apples, celery, and walnuts. Mix together with mayonnaise. Refrigerate until serving time. Proportions are up to you.

This can be varied in 58948594 ways. Grapes are a good addition, and so is avocado. Try sour cream instead of mayonnaise. Olives, chopped chicken, capers, oranges, cucumber, a spoonful of horseradish, yogurt, whipped cream….

This keeps well several days in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

 

BARBECUING YOUR DINNER

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BARBECUING YOUR DINNER

It’s the end of July and the cotton is high as an elephant’s eye, if you had any cotton. I don’t. I do know it’s hot and it’s gonna be hotter, so that’s when we do a lot of barbecuing.

In attempts to not heat up the house, we’ve been experimenting with cooking non-meat items on the grill, and it’s been pretty successful so far. Here are a few of the items we’ve made.

CORN ON THE COB

I know, everyone and their grandmother does BBQ’d corn on the cob, but they do too much work. You do not need to soak it, remove the silks, wrap it in foil, or any of those other tricks. You can trim off the excess silks at the end and maybe remove the stalk at the other end (which requires a cleaver or chef’s knife). Put the corn right on the grill.

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Turn them every now and then, letting the husks get brown all over.

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After about 25 minutes on medium heat, remove the corn. Put it in some sort of container like a shoebox and wrap with towels, foil, or newspaper to keep warm. This will keep the corn hot for at least 45 minutes.

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GRILLED EGGPLANT

Slice up your eggplant, peeled or not.

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Brush slices with olive oil (which you can add some seasonings to if you like) and lay on the grill.

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Brush occasionally with more olive oil. Flip slices as they brown (do not try to force them if they stick – they’ll let go of the grill when they’re ready).

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Remove slices to a plate when they’re browned and tender.

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FRUIT COBBLER

Summer fruit makes the best pie, but the the oven turned to 425 for an hour when it’s 118 outside is too much to think about. But fruit cobbler is easy on the grill. We used disposable foil pans, which (as it turned out) can be washed and reused several times.

Choose the sweetest, juiciest fruit you can lay your hands on. Here we used peaches and strawberries.

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Pour a little liquid into the bottom of the pan – apple juice, peach nectar, something like that. Keep the added sugar to a minimum because it tends to scorch like crazy.

Mix up a cobbler topping, either from scratch or from a mix like Bisquik – or even (for convenience’s sake) whack open one of those refrigerator rolls of biscuits. Spoon/scrape/lay the dough on top of the fruit.

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Put the cobbler on the grill and close the lid. The temp should be around 350 or a medium fire.

Check about every 10 minutes.

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When the dough is firm and the fruit is bubbling, it’s done. It won’t get really brown like it does in a kitchen oven.

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Remove from grill and serve right away, or let cool.

WELCOME TO HELL. LET’S HAVE A PICNIC!

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WELCOME TO HELL. LET’S HAVE A PICNIC!

If you’re reading this, I can still reach the keyboard. My cats are flatter than pancakes. I have lost all interest in any activities except idly thumbing through Christmas card catalogs, anticipating sub-freezing temperatures with pleasure.

FORECAST

Here is another Mark Bittman column  – more common sense than I’ll ever have, as well as humor and a little in-your-face. Picnic fare that is just as good at home.  Today is July 2;  this was published July 2, 2008. Good ideas if you’ll be outdoors on Independence Day, or if you just want some simple-to-make dishes to sustain you through the summer.

101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics

There is something both innocent and exciting about a picnic, even if you are only packing a few things at the last minute and heading down the street to the park. It may be nothing fancier than bologna or tuna salad on white bread, but you’re still likely to have a good time, which is probably why many of us remain devoted to the same picnic foods we’ve eaten all our lives.

But at some point, you may get the urge to vary the menu a bit. With that in mind, I’d like to make a few — or, actually, 101 — suggestions, ranging from snacks to dessert. With a little shopping, a little effort, and 20 minutes or less for assembly, you can create the kind of carry-out food that will put the local prepared food shops to shame while saving you a small fortune. No matter how faithful you are to your old favorites, I’ll bet you will find something intriguing here.

1 BEET SALAD Peel beets and grate them (a food processor will keep the juice contained). Add pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add bits of goat cheese and chopped parsley.

2 PESTO CHICKEN ROLLS Season and grill chicken cutlets. Brush lavash or any other wrap-type bread with pesto; layer with the chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula; roll up and cut on the bias.

3 CURRIED EGG SALAD Make egg salad with hard-cooked eggs, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion and, if you like, diced apple.

4 TOMATOES AND PEACHES Toss together sliced seeded tomatoes and peaches, along with thinly sliced red onion and chopped cilantro or rosemary. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

5 ROAST BEEF AND BLUE Start with whole-grain rolls. Smear blue cheese on one side and prepared horseradish on the other. Add red onion and thin-sliced roast beef, pork or lamb. Pack lettuce and tomato on the side. Potato chips are mandatory.

6 CORNFLAKE CHICKEN BITES Cut boneless chicken breasts into small pieces. Dip in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned crushed corn flake crumbs, cornmeal or panko. Pan-fry in oil, drain, cool and eat cold with celery sticks, with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

7 GRAPES AND CHEESE Mix feta cubes and green grapes (or grape tomatoes or pieces of watermelon). Add mint, salt, pepper and olive oil. A tiny bit of chopped fresh chili is good, too.

8 COLD PEANUT NOODLES Cook Chinese egg noodles or regular spaghetti. Drain and rinse. Toss with sesame oil, peanut butter (or tahini), sugar, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, black pepper (lots) and chili oil (optional). Pack shredded seeded cucumber, cooked shrimp and chopped scallions separately.

9 For gazpacho, combine a couple of pounds of ripe tomatoes, one of cucumbers, a slice or two of bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Chill and pour into a thermos.

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Gazpacho. See my recipe here.

10 Combine tomatoes and cucumber in blender with lemon grass (only the most tender part), cilantro, fish sauce and lime. Voilà: Thai gazpacho.

11 Mix peeled, grated carrots with chopped dates, cumin, minced chili, lemon or lime juice, mint or cilantro.

12 Slice a few bulbs of fennel and some tart apples; dice some jicama. Toss together with freshly chopped tarragon, basil or chervil (if you can find it), olive oil, salt, lots of pepper and lemon juice. Celery is good in this, too, as are oranges and cheeses, especially sheep’s cheeses.

13 Guacasalsa: Mash an avocado (it won’t get brown) into some salsa, even jarred if necessary. Don’t forget chips.

14 Cut day-old crusty bread into one-inch cubes. Just before leaving the house, combine it with chopped tomatoes (seeds are O.K.), chopped cucumber, chopped red onion and fresh basil. Pack dressing separately: olive oil, red wine vinegar, diced anchovies, capers, salt and pepper. Call this panzanella.

15 Toss toasted pita with olives, parsley and mint, salt and pepper, bits of chopped-up lemon (rinds and all; preserved lemon is even better), chopped seeded tomatoes, chopped seeded cucumbers and chopped red pepper. Take olive oil for last-minute dressing.

16 Thinly slice Savoy or Napa cabbage. Toss with thinly sliced red onion, half a diced jalapeño and handfuls of chopped cilantro. Dress with olive oil, lime juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

17 Halve cherry tomatoes; toss with equal-size pieces of firm smoked or regular tofu and soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, scallions and a pinch of sugar (or mirin if you have it). Add chopped Thai basil and/or cilantro and/or mint just before eating.

18 Toss cooked couscous with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, red onion, salt and pepper. Scoop out medium-size tomatoes and fill with mixture. Pack carefully.

19 Process a cup or two of cashews, a chili or two, some garlic, a splash of soy sauce and enough water to get the food processor going; fold in chopped cilantro or chives. Fill celery sticks and chill. This is the best celery-filler since cream cheese.

20 Poach a couple of pounds of dark leafy greens, like kale, collards or spinach. Drain, cool, squeeze dry and chop. Then toss with oil, salt and lots of lemon juice. Serve with more lemon, oil, salt and pepper. Call it horta.

21 Brown fresh corn kernels in hot oil with chopped chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lots of lime juice.

22 Cook whole unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet, turning occasionally, until collapsed and soft. (Or grill, or roast, or hold with a fork over an open flame.) While it’s cooling, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Chop the eggplant flesh (leave the peel behind) and roughly mash in the bowl. Add red pepper flakes if you like. Serve with pita.

23 Simmer one part olive oil, two parts red wine vinegar and four parts water with herbs, salt and pepper. Add chopped vegetables, firmest to softest — maybe carrots first, then cauliflower, then peppers — and poach until just getting tender. Remove from heat and chill overnight in the liquid. It’s giardiniera.

24 Cut zucchini into big chunks and roast or grill with olive oil (and, if you like, whole garlic cloves). Combine with chopped seeded tomatoes, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.

25 Toss cauliflower florets with oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a hot oven until browned and cooked; while still warm, toss with curry powder and a handful of raisins. Pour on the lemon juice.

26 Soak wakame or other seaweed in hot water until soft; drain and squeeze dry. Toss with chopped celery, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin (or honey) and rice wine vinegar. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

27 Clean a bunch of mixed mushrooms; quarter any large ones. Steam for about five minutes. When still warm, toss with sliced shallots, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, cracked coriander seeds, chopped fresh cilantro, sherry vinegar and more olive oil if necessary.

28 In a blender or food processor, combine ginger, a half cup or so light miso, a little more than that of walnuts, and enough soy sauce to make a sauce. Toss with cooked green beans or eggplant.

29 Steam or boil a bunch of asparagus; slice on the bias. Toss with orange segments, zest and juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with sesame seeds. Add little shrimp or shredded crab, lobster or chicken if you like.

30 Steam or boil green beans or asparagus; slice on the bias. Toss with thinly sliced red onion, matchstick-size pieces of prosciutto (or lardo if you’re in Colonnata), olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

31 Combine cooked or canned (and drained) black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas. Add diced red and green pepper, some corn kernels and a minced jalapeño. Season with lime juice, chopped marjoram or oregano, salt and pepper.

32 Cook lentils with garlic, onion and thyme. Toss with salt, pepper and fresh chopped herbs: marjoram, tarragon, chervil or basil. Dress with vinaigrette made with oil, vinegar and mustard.

33 Toss cooked or canned white beans with chopped seeded tomato, chopped anchovy, chopped olives, oil, lemon juice, lots of black pepper, salt if necessary and parsley.

34 Steam frozen (shelled) edamame or limas. Toss with chopped seeded tomatoes, cilantro, soy sauce and a suspicion of sesame oil. Salt and pepper.

35 Steam frozen edamame and chill. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, lots of chopped mint, salt, pepper, and as much shaved pecorino or Parmesan as you like.

36 Mix cooked rice and cooked lentils with very, very well caramelized onions. Add sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and, if necessary, a bit of oil.

37 Combine cooked brown rice with small, barely cooked broccoli florets and chopped pecans or walnuts and parsley. Dress with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon.

38 Combine cooked Arborio rice with thin pesto, peas, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper.

39 Soak a tablespoon or two of black beans in sherry or wine; toss with cooked rice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and cilantro.

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Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet. Scandalous!

40 Mix cooked couscous with olive oil; add pimentón, cumin, salt and pepper, chopped shallot or red onion, toasted slivered almonds and orange zest and juice. Cooked cauliflower is good, too.

41 Toss a load of chopped parsley with a little cooked bulgur — say three to one in favor of the parsley. Chopped seeded tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of lemon juice. Call this real tabbouleh.

42 Make tabbouleh as above and embellish with more vegetables — like cucumbers and radishes — and/or crumbled feta, or bits of cooked chicken. Or smoked tofu, or bacon, whatever you can think of. How can you go wrong?

43 Make potato salad with mustard vinaigrette. Add chopped cooked asparagus, peas, green beans, etc. Or steamed mussels.

44 Make potato salad with mayo and crumbled bacon, and add grated Cheddar, celery, onion and chopped egg. You don’t have to pack much else except blood thinner.

45 Roast or boil sweet potatoes, but not too soft. Make a blended vinaigrette with a little chili, cumin, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Pack separately and toss together with scallions and mint.

46 Make egg salad with sesame oil and seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, scallions and chilies.

47 Egg salad with chopped seeded tomato, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

48 Egg salad with sour cream, smoked salmon and chopped chives.

49 Take cold pizza and lemon. Squeeze lemon over pizza. Really.

50 Mix a couple of cups of cold leftover cooked short-grain rice (if you happen to have risotto lying around, so much the better) with three eggs. Form balls; insert a small cube of mozzarella into each. Roll in bread crumbs and refrigerate if convenient. Deep or shallow fry until golden. Packed carefully, these will be fine. Call them supplì al telefono.

51 Purée roasted red peppers (jarred are O.K., piquillo are even better) with feta, marjoram or oregano and parsley, olive oil and garlic. Serve as a dip.

52 Make burritos, using the biggest flour tortillas you can find: rice, beans, any stewed or grilled meat or chicken, cilantro, salsa.

53 Marinate firm goat or feta cheese in olive oil, with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, red and black pepper. You don’t need much of this, but it’s good.

54 Make a cheese ball: Mash together equal parts good grated Cheddar, crumbled blue and cream cheese, maybe thinned with a little sour cream. Shape into a ball and roll in fresh chopped herbs and/or hazelnuts. Take Triscuits. You think people won’t eat this?

55 Make simple syrup with rosemary; purée in a blender with watermelon, rum (optional) and lemon juice. Use more rum and call this a cocktail, or omit rum, add a little feta and eat with a spoon. Keep it cold in either case.

56 Use a spoon or melon baller to make equal size pieces of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, or, I don’t know, Charentais. Mix together and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt or (better still) chili, sugar, salt and lime.

57 (A) Make fruit salad, however you like it; pack it. (B) Take seeded papaya halves, well wrapped. Put (A) in (B), drizzle with lemon, and serve.

58 Husk and quarter strawberries; at the last minute, combine with a little chopped tarragon, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Goat cheese is good, too.

59 Cut melon into wedges and wrap thin slices of prosciutto around them. Stack in a container, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Take romaine lettuce and serve the wedges over the greens, with the accumulated juices as a dressing. It works.

60 Toss cornbread cubes with blueberries, lemon juice, olive oil and hazelnuts. Yes.

61 Toss chopped shrimp or shredded crab or lobster with lemon juice, chopped chives, salt and pepper. Use this to fill avocado halves. (If the avocado browns, blame me. It’ll still taste great.)

62 Boil potatoes, corn kernels and shrimp; drain and chill. Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges along with mayo mixed with garlic and crumbled saffron. Call this Aegean seafood salad.

63 Drain a can of good quality salmon (preferably sockeye). Mix with cannellini beans, chopped tomato, diced shallot, chopped black or green olives, chopped parsley and basil. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve on bread (scooped out ciabatta is very nice) or over greens.

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Sandy filed for divorce shortly thereafter. No one could blame her.

64 Combine a bunch of watercress or arugula with thinly sliced radishes and red onion; add flaked smoked trout or whitefish. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

65 Cut salmon fillets (the skin can be on or off) into serving-size pieces, and sear them in oil on both sides until brown; set aside. Sauté onions, garlic, fresh chilies if you like; deglaze the pan with one part red wine vinegar, two parts each red wine and water. Pour over fish and chill for up to two days. This will work with mackerel, chicken, pork, etc. Call this escabeche.

66 Make escabeche with white wine and vinegar, dill and lemon slices.

67 Pan-cook shrimp in oil. Separately sauté fresh and dried chilies with lots of onions and garlic; add beer, reduce and pour glaze over shrimp.

68 Mix good canned tuna with diced fennel, tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. No mayo.

69 Mix good tuna with mashed anchovies (packed in olive oil), grated Parmesan, bits of lemon and some lemon juice, olive oil and perhaps a thimbleful of Worcestershire. No mayo.

70 You want an idea for tuna with mayo, I know: Mix tuna with mayo and mustard; add capers and dill.

71 Cut chicken wings into two parts, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill or roast until crisp and golden. Whisk together mustard, honey and lemon juice, and toss with warm wings. Chill overnight (or eat them and take something else to the picnic).

72 Combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin and sake with a little sugar and sesame oil; boil for a minute. Use this to baste chicken thighs, pork or beef while you grill or broil it. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or chopped scallions — ginger and/or lemon are good too — just before serving. Call it teriyaki. Works with mackerel and other dark fish, too.

73 Make chicken teriyaki as above, then toss with a little mayo and perhaps more soy. Awesome.

74 Poach chicken and chop or shred. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil and herbs of your choice.

75 Pack in three containers: grilled sliced beef or pork, with its juices; watercress or arugula tossed with mint, basil and/or cilantro; a dressing of lime juice, sesame oil, fish or soy sauce and sugar. Dress greens; put meat and its juices over all.

76 Thinly slice grilled butterflied leg of lamb; toss with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, mint, feta and chopped red onion.

77 Grind chunks of lamb shoulder in a food processor with onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Make into small meatballs and sauté or roast. Serve sliced with pita wedges or in pita, with lemon, and a dollop of yogurt or tapenade.

78 Split small chickens or Cornish hens; grill or broil quickly, with lots of salt and pepper. Take them whole to the picnic with sandwich rolls, good barbecue sauce (O.K., and mayo) and pickles. Pick off the meat and go to it.

79 Cut quail in half, or not; marinate with salt, pepper, minced garlic, sage and oil for as long as you can — at least five minutes. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes.

80 Chop various salamis, mortadella, etc. and combine with chopped provolone, Parmesan, bell pepper, red onion and fresh oregano. Heavily dress in vinaigrette. Take shredded romaine lettuce for tossing. And bread, obviously.

81 Make chopped olive salad (I like onion, thyme, capers, a little garlic). Hollow out a medium-size round bread, or a few rolls. Put in olive salad and cured meats of your choice: ham, prosciutto, salami, mortadella, whatever; and provolone. Call this a muffuletta.

82 Slice open a good baguette and fill it with chopped or shredded cooked chicken tossed with fish sauce, chili, sugar, lime, garlic, scallions and Thai basil (or, in a dire emergency, regular).

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Blue sandwiches with daisies never caught on, and more’s the pity.

83 Fry chopped bacon until half done; add strips of boneless chicken and cook until done; pack. Take pitas, chopped seeded tomato, avocado, sliced red onion and shredded romaine. Assemble sandwiches in situ; dress with olive oil and cheap vinegar.

84 Blanch frozen fava beans in salted water. Pulse in a food processor with some mint or parsley until roughly chopped; season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Slice baguette and spread one half with fresh ricotta, then drizzle with olive oil. Spread the other half with the fava beans. Put arugula in there and sandwich-ize.

85 Butter both halves of a sliced baguette. Layer with thinly sliced cured ham — Serrano, prosciutto, Bayonne, York, whatever — and many halved cornichons. Call this une sandwich.

86 Halve a cucumber or two; scoop out the seeds. Slice it thin and salt it for a bit if you have time; in any case squeeze out some of the liquid. Combine it with shredded cooked chicken, ginger, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cilantro. On a baguette, it’s reminiscent of banh mi.

87 Grill a steak; slice it thin. Butter a baguette on one side; put Dijon on the other side. Pile the bread with steak, roasted peppers (canned are fine; piquillos are best), and something crunchy, like radicchio or fennel. A little blue cheese wouldn’t hurt either. Neither would avocado. (But not both.)

88 Cook peeled shrimp; little ones are best. Toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls. (In fact: cook anything; toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls.)

89 Dredge fish fillets in cornmeal. Sauté in abundant olive oil until crisp. Let cool a bit, then use for sandwiches, packing tomatoes separately.

90 Hard-cook some eggs; slice them. Sauté some spinach with oil and garlic until quite dry; chop. Make mustardy sandwiches with baguettes, rolls or any bread that can absorb some oil.

91 Cook fusilli or other cut pasta; rinse in cool water, but don’t bother to chill. Combine with chopped seeded tomatoes, cubed fresh mozzarella, chopped basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Good with olives, too.) Do not call this pasta salad, because pasta salad is no good, and this is.

92 Shred carrots and zucchini. Mix lime juice, soy sauce, grated ginger and sesame oil. Cook soba noodles, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss noodles with the vegetables and dressing.

93 Cook rice vermicelli and drain. Toss with kimchi, lots of cilantro and cooked chopped shrimp or chicken.

94 Cook garlic in olive oil until just sizzling; add clams (you can use canned clams but it will not be the same), and, cook, stirring, until they open. Remove, chop and combine with the garlic, oil, any liquid in pan, chopped tomato and cooked pasta. Add more oil as needed, with lemon juice, parsley, salt (if needed), pepper and oregano, if you like.

95 Combine equal parts honey and brown sugar with a little oil and bring to a boil; toss with good granola until the mixture is very sticky. You can add more nuts, or raisins and, yes, O.K., you can add chocolate chips. Line a pan with waxed paper or film with oil. Press mixture into pan and let cool. Call these granola bars.

96 Cook a couple of pounds of berries with some sugar and a little water until they break down. Layer in a plastic container with slices of good pound cake. Pour any remaining juices on top. You might want some cream.

97 Make sandwiches of angel food cake and ganache or fruit compote.

98 Mix peanut butter and cream cheese. Spread between two good cookies and make sandwiches. Or mix honey, lemon zest and cream cheese. Make sandwiches with ginger snaps.

99 Put sorbet (make it yourself if you have time) in a really cold thermos; it will be slushy by the time you open it. Add a splash of Champagne or Gewürztraminer if you like, maybe some mint, and eat like cold soup.

100 Take a container of melted chocolate thinned with cream or crème fraîche with strawberries, pineapple or bananas for dipping.

101 Take the makings of S’mores. Build a fire.

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