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Help me find the latest winning recipe ideas!

Yes, I read their names, but I want to know the recipe ideas they submitted--ah, nevermind, I can do a page search for their name to find their winning entries. Duh!

Cook the Book: 'The Bon App├ętit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook'

Winter: soup! If you don't have a crockpot of beans going (shame!), use chicken broth, and add orzo and greens, top with shaved Parmesan--takes about 20 minutes.

Spring: "sort of" sandwiches--I like pita bread filled with sliced radishes and cucumber, parsley and tzatziki, or broiled open-faced ww bread with tomato slices and cheese (top with crumbled oregano and call it "almost pizza").

Summer: fruit, cubed and doused with lime juice, maybe a bit of hot sauce and cilantro; ceviche (finely diced takes only 30 minutes to "cook") and tortilla chips; Romaine leaves with a sour cream-mayo-herb dip or mustard vinaigrette; potato salad (OK, this has to be made the night before, but I suggest one always make plenty as leftovers taste better).

Fall: crusty sourdough bread with cheese, seasonal fruit, roasted veggies (sliced thinly, and cooked in a high oven, they take about 30-45 minutes).

Like choosing a favorite child, this is tough! Obviously, having things like twice-baked potatoes, chili, etc. in the freezer would help. If one has fresh fruit and veggies, or bread and cheese, or even nut butter and jam, the prep-to-table time is about 10 minutes max. Likewise, it takes no time to flame-heat a tortilla, add shredded cheese and peppers or whatver you like.

Fabulous topic and opportunity! Thanks :)

surplus OJ?

I am jealous re delivery and vacation! I could drink a quart a day--and, well, I like it with salt! Have you considered a variation on lemon chicken?

***Orange Chicken Sauce***
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon water
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar)
for directions:

If you have freezer space, definitely go with the suggested popsicles and oj cubes. The latter are great to add to extra tart lemonade or strong iced tea instead of sugar.

I don't think orange juice is acidic enough to marinate ceviche, but it's a great addition to tropical salsa (mango, peppers, etc.) and boy, a bit of frozen oj mixed with vanilla ice cream....add a little pineapple, it tastes a bit like an Orange Julius.

I hope you find some fun things to do with it that you and your family enjoy. As a rule, I like my fruit in and of itself, as, e.g., part of a cheese or dessert course, but so many folks love something sweet with everything!

Have you ever tried just a splash of citrus juice in plain or soda water? Also, orange ice cubes are really nice in cranberry juice.

Spear a grape into the oj ice cubes for a fun surprise. (Grapes freeze beautifully.)

Some people like the flavor of chocolate and orange--I don't--but it's worth a try.

Best wishes on whatever you try!

Why Don't Recipes Include Salt Amounts?

Oh dear! Salt can be tricky for a new cook, in all the ways others have mentioned. I hope I can add a little :)

When a recipe calls for "salt to taste" it means taste it first, then if you think a little salt would help, add some, "because most people who have tasted this recipe like a bit of salt with it."

I break "rules" all the time, mostly regarding seasoning; I encourage new cooks to experiment, too--except in baking where precise measurements are much more important. As I eat a lot of raw foods, it's easy for me to pick up a cucumber, tomato, radish, celery stalk, lemon, orange, cantaloupe or watermelon and just take a bite. From there I can choose salt, pepper, vinegar, cheese, etc. or nothing at all. But my taste preferences will likely be different from yours. Say I'm making chicken broth: I add a lot of onions and celery, plus lemon juice--those nearly negate the need for salt.

Salt is one of my favorite seasonings (and crucial in preserving), but because I like the look, feel and taste of the expensive or imported ones (Maldon is my most affordable), I save it for garnish and wouldn't (i.e., can't afford to) put it in pasta water. In fact, I don't always put salt in pasta water, and maybe I should, but I got on a low salt kick and perhaps I just got lazy. The few times I cook pasta it's almost always in leftover veggie water, or with a bouillon cube (which is mostly salt), or some variety of seaweed.

By switching to a larger grain/flake size, I've found I use less salt--a goal one should consider, especially if you eat processed foods and/or don't read labels. If you've been eating "fast foods," you probably have developed a love for salt, but for the wrong reasons. Take French fries--ever tried oven fries? Slice (leave the peel on), toss with olive oil, a pinch or two or three of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (add rosemary, yum!); cook until the texture appeals to you. Serve with dips or eat as is. They don't become nasty overnight like fast food fries do.

Depending on the soil, fertilizers, water conditions, etc., my celery may taste very different from my neighbor's. I'm no nutritionist, but excess sodium in many American's diets can cause health problems, as can sugar, fat, and other stuff that is OK in smaller doses, but devastating in larger amounts.

I hope these comments give new cooks some confidence :)


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