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Sautéed Cucumbers ♥

Today's easy cucumber recipe: For all of us, including me, who stop at 'salad' when thinking what to make with a surplus of cucumbers, here's a new take, a quick sauté. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
We're eating like rabbits this year. Wait, that's not quite right, let me say it differently.

The truth is, we are not eating like rabbits because the neighborhood bunnies are. They munch-and-crunch on the garden's baby zucchini and nascent tomatillos while the resident humans chew on cucumbers the size of bats, all the rabbits deign to leave behind. The resident Mr. McGregor has declared war, preparing for battle with the big guns: bottles of hot sauce and jars of cayenne pepper.

Back to the cucumbers. I've cooked cucumbers twice this week and both times was pleased how the gentle cucumber flavor emerges while much of the crunch, albeit softer, remains.

The first time, I sautéed the cucumbers with onion and crispy bits of leftover homemade…

Tossed Caprese Salad ♥

Today's easy summer salad recipe: A 'tossed' version of the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad that we call 'caprese' that's usually served as a 'composed' salad, all perfect and arranged but here is carefree. Vegetarian and low carb. Weight Watchers 2 (Old Points) and 3 (PointsPlus).
Check the price of fresh mozzarella these days and yikes, odds are, our eyes will get as big as the mozzarella balls themselves, at least if they are the real thing, not the mass-produced, made-some-time-this-year 'fresh' mozzarella balls from Trader Joe's, say. (Don't get me wrong, however, Trader Joe-style quality fresh mozzarella has its place, given the price. But to my taste, this just isn't it.)

Surprise surprise, Whole Foods often has fresh mozzarella on sale during the summer-tomato months, some times half the price of my local groceries.

Toad in a Pattypan Hole ♥

Vegetables for breakfast? You bet! Just cut a pattypan squash into slices, remove the centers to create a ring and add eggs cupped by leaves of fresh basil. Very pretty, very tasty!
This time of year, UFOs show up at the farmers market. Oh wait, they're not UFOs, they are satellites! Oh wait, they're not satellites, they are pattypan squash! Not sure what I mean with the UFO and satellite references? Here's a photo of pattypan squash.

These little guys (and some times, not-so-little guys) may look daunting but really, pattypan squash belong to the family of summer squash that includes the more familiar zucchini and yellow squash. Pattypan squash are just so cute, I want to grab them all up and let them sit pretty in a basket on the counter, reminding me that, glory be, it's summer.

But glory be, pattypan squash are too good, cooked, to let sit around just looking pretty. This is a great way to cook pattypan squash for breakfast, especially for large pattypans which a…

Raw Beet Sandwiches ♥

Today's open-face sandwich, perfect for summer's best vegetables: Thin slices of beet, tomato and cucumber on good bread. You're gonna have to try this one to believe it, I know I did.
Okay, so this is one recipe I never imagined eating, let alone sharing. (Barring the question whether a simple vegetable sandwich even qualifies as a 'recipe'?) But some times you just go with your gut. Or trust the experience of a cook whose food you have learned to love – love – over the years.

Back in March, my friend Nupur Kittur who writes the food blog One Hot Stove taught a food class for a group of St. Louis food bloggers in one of the fabulous kitchens at Kitchen Conservatory, the top kitchen store and cooking school in St. Louis. "Indian Street Food" was the theme and oh my, what a feast we did eat. (Want to see more? I've posted pictures from our class on Flickr.)

But it was Nupur's simple sandwich that most captured my own attention. (Or maybe it was t…

Chilled Green Bean Salad with Rosemary & Garlic Oil ♥

Today's summer salad recipe: Just in time for the summer's first green beans, a simple salad, nothing more than beans tossed in oil infused with rosemary and garlic but somehow, somehow so much more. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 or 2 points. Happiness Quotient 100.
Tis a magical thing, when summer and the first beans arrive on the same day, a sign that something just might be 'right' with the world. So it happened on June 21, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere, what the Finns and other Scandinavians call 'Midsummer.' I wore a dress from Finland, I cooked my favorite Finnish recipes, especially the oh-so-lovely Finnish Summer Soup (kësakeitto) and a favorite fruit dessert I intend to make all summer long, just to sample all the variations.

But the beans, oh my, the beans. They'd been off the bush no more than 10 minutes by the time they plopped i…

Weight Watchers Spinach Dip ♥

A healthy veggie dip, my variation of the spinach dip from Weight Watchers. Fresh and bright! Full of healthy spinach! Great for Meal Prep. Low Carb. Low Fat. No surprise, this recipe is already Weight Watchers Friendly and I've updated it to be Freestyle Friendly as well! Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.
On warm summer nights, I love that "gathering moment" before supper. The meat is on the grill, the salad waiting in the refrigerator. In hand is a glass of something cold and wet, occasionally what my sister Adanna calls an "adult beverage". These few minutes bridge the day's busy-ness and the evening's relaxation.

So during the summer, I make one homemade veggie dip after another, some quick concoction that will last a few days, one celery stick at a time. This is my adaptation of the Feta & Spinach Dip from Weight Watchers. I've modified it some, starting with 8X the spinach and substituting first low-fat sour cream and then non-fat Gree…

Southwestern Potato Salad ♥
Weight Watchers Friendly Potato Salad

Today's recipe: A new take on potato salad, laced with southwestern-style flavors such as chipotle, lime and cilantro. Dramatically lightened with my new technique for mayonnaise-based salads, the addition of buttermilk. Weight Watchers, you'll love this potato salad, it adds up to just 1 or points, down from 4 points in the inspiring recipe.
Survey a potluck table and one ingredient will stand out: mayonnaise.

Potato salad. Cole slaw. Broccoli salad. Pasta salad. Seven-Layer Salad. So many favorite summer salads are dressed in mayonnaise. To my taste, this makes them all taste the same: like mayonnaise. To my taste, a mayonnaise dressing is too thick, too gloppy. Plus, we all know the calorie implications of heavy mayonnaise salads.

I loved the idea of a potato salad with southwestern flavors, I even thought about roasting some poblanos and roasting some corn, akin to Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle. (One reader made it over Memorial Da…