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Stuffed Peppers ♥ My Aunt's Retro Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: My aunt's recipe for green peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, fresh corn and rice or another starch such as quinoa, then topped with a tomato-y sauce and melt-y cheese. Low carb. Weight Watchers 2 to 4 points, depending on size. My 3x5 recipe box is gill-packed with 'retro' recipes that date to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Thing is, the recipes weren't 'retro' then, not back when I copied ingredients and cooking instructions onto neat 3x5 index cards. They were just the recipes that my mother, my aunts and my older cousins were cooking. They were just recipes from good cooks feeding their families. They were just my family's best recipes, the family favorites, the ones we all loved. So it felt funny to make my dear Auntie Gloria's Stuffed Peppers again for the first time in many years. Today's 'whole food' cook in me was tempted to substitute the can of tomato soup her recipe calls for with, say,

Stacked Ratatouille ♥ A Fun Summer Recipe

Another hit recipe from our favorite cookbook this summer, Seven Fires by fascinating Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann. Appearance-wise, it's dramatic; preparation-wise, it's ever so simple. It's just sliced rounds of baked (and "burned"!) eggplant, tomato and summer squash, topped with a lemony spinach if you like. Works as well for one or two as for a crowd. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Weight Watchers friendly. Whole30. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Who remembers the 2007 movie Ratatouille ? I watched it again recently on a rare wet and chilly summer night, snuggling into the story as much as a warm blanket. It's a classic, just like the classic French dish called "ratatouille" which the movie brought into the mainstream. (And taught a whole generation, perhaps two, how to pronounce the word. Can you say rat-uh-TOO-ee?) It's a sweet pleasure, made for laughing out loud during a movie for two or in a theater with a crowd.

Raw Eggplant Salad ♥ Recipe

Today's unusual salad recipe: Small pieces of raw eggplant tossed with celery, olives and capers. Surprisingly pleasant! Vegan. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point. So. Can we eat raw eggplant? Yes! Do we want to eat raw eggplant? Yes again. The inspiration for this simple summer salad came from a few slices of eggplant leftover from another recipe, just hanging out there on the counter whispering, "Try us, try us, we'll taste great, maybe." They'd been dipped in nothing more than olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. How would the raw eggplant taste? Good! The eggplant's white flesh is pleasantly spongy (definitely NOT mushy) and the skin provides great texture as well as color contrast. I do think that texture's especially important to consider when adding other ingredients, you don't want the whole salad to be soft, some crispness is important. I also suspect that the more-tender Asian eggplant is the appropriate choice here, versus the b

Pickled Beet Dip ♥ Easy Recipe!

Today's vegetable recipe: A quick and easy dip made with pickled beets, cream cheese and horseradish. Quite addictive, smeared on bread. Great color for outdoor gatherings. Low carb. No surprise that I loved this beet dip -- yes, when you collect beet recipes , people starting calling you the Beet Queen for good reason. But I didn't expect everyone else to love this beet dip -- but they did! The dip starts with a jar of pickled beets and whizzes up in the food processor in just a few minutes. It keeps too -- making it easy to make ahead and keep on hand for several days. Because you'll ask? Yes, the color is really truly that pink! THREE DAYS LATER: Brilliant! My friend Tanna from the Dallas food blog My Kitchen in Half Cups made this dip using homemade pickled beets and substituting canned beans for the cream cheese! She served the dip at a 'Little Bites' Dinner detailed in a post called, Pink, Purple, Red or Rouge . PICKLED BEET DIP Hands-on time: 10 m

Mixed Fruit & Vegetable Salad ♥ Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: An unusual and refreshing salad, a bright mix of chopped fruits and vegetables tossed with no more than salt and pepper and a little cinnamon. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point. Vegan. No added fat. So why is it that 'vegetables' are usually served as a side dish and 'fruit' as dessert? This salad really surprised me. Not only is it pretty -- isn't it pretty?! -- but instead of being a 'savory' salad, as expected, it's a 'sweet' salad, despite having no added sugar. The fruit alone adds so much sweetness to the crunch of the vegetables -- it made for a wonderful light dessert two nights in a row, and I can't wait to make it again. The salad's texture was best shortly after it was mixed but the flavors melded beautifully after resting a few hours that I'm happy to say that it can be made in advance a few hours or even overnight. You could use any vegetables, I suppose, but the cantaloupe and apple,

Barely Roasted Asparagus ♥ Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: A lesson in timing, how barely roasting fat spears of spring asparagus turns out something entirely new: crisp with good 'snap', garlicky and glorious. Vegan, low-carb and Weight Watchers 1 point. This is the time of year when a reader might complain, "Alanna, are you cooking anything except asparagus?" (Yes, it really happened, in 2007 with the oh-so-lovely Asparagus Omelet with Remoulade Sauce .) Every year, my answer is the same. Well, no. The good news for readers is that this means that I've collected dozens of asparagus recipes . But this year in particular, when I'm lucky to have asparagus five minutes from the dirt, there's just no getting enough of it. This new technique ranks right up there as a top-top favorite way to cook asparagus. It's also one of the easiest -- and quickest -- ways to roast asparagus. When it comes to roasting asparagus, it's a question of timing, timing, timing. TOTALLY ROASTED

Avocado Dip ♥ Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: A Middle Eastern avocado dip, smoother than guacamole but otherwise similar. Very impressive appearance when served in the empty avocado shells - positively gorgeous, if I may say so myself! Low-carb and vegan. So May 5th passed without the hoped-for, planned-for, considerably-anticipated Cinco de Mayo party, something about a calendar mix-up and a dining room with fresh paint but so far, no floor. Oops. But I couldn't get the shouts for 'Mexican food' 'MEXICAN FOOD' ' MEXICAN FOOD ' out of my head and so, piecemeal, put together a menu's worth of dishes over the course of the week, including this gorgeous Avocado Dip. Funny thing is, this avocado dip isn't Mexican at all, but Middle Eastern! It adds tahini (the sesame paste) and is mashed to a smooth dip rather than the loose chunks of Homemade Guacamole , say. I found it quite luscious and very pretty partied up in the empty avocado shells, a snap to do. AVOCADO DIP