Massaged Collard Greens Salad with Smashed Croutons

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Allow me to please post … my new favorite salad of all time! This is just beyond. It’s a salad to make you forget about the steak on your plate. I could eat a whole bowl for lunch. Yeah, it’s one of those.

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The original recipe called for young, or baby collard greens, and that seemed important as you’re eating them raw in this salad. And collards can be a bit bitter; usually they are cooked to avoid too much of the bitter factor. Except that I couldn’t find anything but regular old adult collards at my grocery store. Do the babies have a particular season? I haven’t yet googled anything on this subject.

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All I know is that I picked up the regular collards with a hint of trepidation, wondering if this would work, and then I walked past the kale and had an “aha!” moment that would make Oprah beam with pride (okay, maybe not): I remembered that massaged kale salads are/were all the rage (are they still? We don’t eat kale here thanks to Matt’s allergy/”allergy”), and I figured that I could just massage collard greens and make them much more palatable in their raw state.

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Maybe you already knew this, but turns out – my hunch was correct! You can totally massage collards the same way as kale, and it turns them delicious and perfectly at home in a salad. I am now officially obsessed with massaged collard greens salads. You simply must try this one, very, very soon. Enjoy!

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Source: adapted from Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
4 (3/4 inch thick) slices of Italian white or semolina bread, cut on the diagonal
1 clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of collard greens
Juice of 1 lemon
About ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Lightly brush about 1 ½ tbs olive oil on one side of the bread slices. Rub the garlic clove on the oiled side. Arrange the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the slices are golden brown and crisp, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the baking sheet to a trivet and prop the slices of bread up on the rim and let them cool. Cooling this way prevents steaming.
Rinse the grit off the collards and shake or spin them dry. Use a knife to cut the tough stem out of each leaf. Roll the collards lengthwise into a cigar-shaped tube, then thinly slice them into ¼-inch ribbons. Transfer to a mixing bowl. With clean hands, massage the greens for about 1 minute, tossing as you go and making sure you get all of them.
Use the garlic halves and rub the salad bowl you’ll be serving in with them. Discard. Add the collard greens, separating the ribbons as needed. Add the remaining 2 ½ tbs olive oil and the lemon juice. Don’t toss yet.
Just before serving, chop the bread slices into chunks, and then crumble the chunks over the salad. Add the Parmesan cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste, and then toss everything together. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Bacon Margaritas

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I promised (on my Facebook page earlier this week), and now I’m delivering: my chipotle bacon margaritas!!! Back story as to how this drink came about – when I made Bacon Salt for my Secret Recipe Club pick, Matt immediately insisted that some of it be reserved for rimming a margarita glass.

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I concurred, enthusiastically, but the question then became: on what kind of margarita? Bacon is of course salty and smoky, and since this is my brain we’re talking about, chipotle immediately came to mind. Sigh. No surprise there.

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Oh well, I stand by it! Especially after tasting this bad boy. It is so delicious. Yes, it is spicy, and definitely salty. I use one sugar cube in here to cut the spiciness, but this really isn’t a sweet margarita. The smokiness of the bacon really melds with the spiciness of the drink. I just loved it!

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I minced up half of one chipotle in adobo for this drink, and depending on the size of the holes in your strainer, you may end up with little bits of chipotle floating in your drink. That didn’t bother me at all, I liked it in fact, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, I’d advise straining your cocktail through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup with a pour spout, then pouring the drink into your glasses.

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I hope all you chile head-bacon fiends will enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
4 oz. silver tequila
2 oz. orange liqueur
2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 sugar cube
Half a chipotle in adobo, chopped
2 tbs bacon salt
¼ tsp chipotle chile powder
Ice
Lime wedges, for rimming

Directions:
Add the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, sugar cube, and chipotle in adobo to your cocktail shaker. On a plate or other flat surface, mix together the bacon salt and chipotle chile powder. Using a lime wedge, run it well over the rim of 2 margarita or martini glasses. Carefully dip the edges of both glasses in the bacon salt. Make sure it’s well coated all around.
Add ice to your cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for several seconds. Strain into your glasses. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 drinks

Three Peppercorn Grilled Chicken Wings

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Sometimes the best meals we have come not from careful planning, or thinking long and hard, or thoroughly perusing our cookbook collection. Sometimes they are the result of off-the-cuff spontaneity that involved a very small percentage of our brain power. It’s frequently said that the average human only uses ten percent of their brain (no clue if that’s true, by the way) – I think I used maybe one percent to come up with this casual dinner.

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Seriously thrown together, and yet the results were one of the most amazing and delicious meals we’ve eaten all summer. The wings were grilled perfectly, to ensure crackly crispy skin with moist, tender meat, and the peppercorn rub gave a lovely bite that really awakens your palate with every taste. They tasted rather sophisticated, almost Parisian – a nice twist for the ubiquitous chicken wing.

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I really cannot recommend these highly enough. As much as Matt loooooves my buffalo wings, he declared these in the top five chicken wing meals he’s ever eaten. And that, my dear reader, is very high praise. If Matt doesn’t like something, he will tell me.

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Oh, and I just love the vindication of meals like this – where you acted on barely an impulse, put so little thought into cooking something, and it turns out to be one of the best meals you can remember in a long time. It’s nice. So much nicer than when you put tons of thought and planning into a meal that turns out so-so. But that’s a different conversation for another time.

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I hope you love these as much as we did! Enjoy!

Source: spice rub adapted from Burgers, Fries and Shakes by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
2 tbs green peppercorns
2 tbs pink peppercorns
1 tbs black peppercorns
1 tbs granulated sugar
½ tbs kosher salt
1 family size package chicken wings, split and tips saved or discarded

Directions:
First make the peppercorn rub. Using a mortar and pestle, grind all the peppercorns by hand. Work in batches if need be. You want them to be cracked, not powdery. Alternately, you can fill a clean pepper grinder and crank them all out on the coarse setting. Or, place the peppercorns in a clean coffee or spice grinder and grind until coarse, but not down to a powder.
Place the peppercorns in a bowl. Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly with your fingers. Set aside.
Preheat your outdoor grill to very high heat. Oil the grates. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and add the peppercorn rub. Toss to coat thoroughly.
Place the wings on the grill, not touching each other, skin side up. Cook about 6 minutes, then flip the wings so they are skin side down. Cook at least another 6 minutes, possibly longer. Double check with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 F when done.
Remove the wings to a plate and let them rest about 5 minutes. Then, dig in with lots of napkins!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme this week is Fabulous Fall Foods! I’ve met the theme requirements – this chowder features butternut squash (a fall produce item), and it tastes amazingly fabulous. Thank goodness the theme wasn’t Fabulous Fall Food Photography, because then I would have a major problem.

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I found this recipe in one of my many cookbooks, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen. In the cookbook, there is no picture of this recipe. I now understand that. When you think about any kind of butternut squash chowder, you think of it being a gorgeous orange-ish color. But as you can plainly see, this chowder is rather green, thanks to the spinach. So I’m left with the problem of the pictures not entirely matching the recipe description, which is probably precisely why ATK didn’t include a photograph in their cookbook!

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Ah well, what are you gonna do? I promise from the bottom of my heart that it’s delicious, misleading color and all. And when I make it again, I will include the spinach again! Other than it messing up the chowder’s color, I actually do love it in there. It adds significant healthful properties, and it really cuts the squash’s sweetness.

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I have to admit, I don’t love it when winter squash soups are too sweet. I never add any brown sugar, and I love ingredients like bacon bits, bacon fat, and salty cheeses to cut the richness. The spinach only adds to that. So in the end, I really love this chowder, even if I don’t love my pictures all that much. I hope you will love it too!

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Oh, and be sure you check out all my other Sunday Supper peeps – they’ve brought some drool-worthy perfect-for-fall recipes to the table today!

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:
At least 4 oz. bacon, chopped, more if you want it
1 onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch (roughly 8 oz.) adult spinach, stemmed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced fresh sage
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
Pour out all but about 2 tbs bacon fat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened. Add the thyme, nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Now add the flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook out the pasty, raw flour taste. Slowly add up to 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring out any lumps and letting the whole thing thicken up nicely. Shut off the heat and add this mixture to your slow cooker insert. Also add to the slow cooker, the remaining chicken stock, vegetable stock, half the squash, and the bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss the remaining squash with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat work surface and carefully transfer the squash to the center of it. Gather it in the center and fold the foil up around it to create a foil packet and lays somewhat flat. Lay the foil packet on top of the soup in the slow cooker. Close the lid and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the squash in the slow cooker is tender and completely cooked.
Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Open it, being cautious of steam hitting you in the face, and then pour the squash and the juices into the slow cooker. Add the spinach leaves. Stir them in, then cover the slow cooker again and cook another 30 minutes, until the spinach is nicely wilted.
Shut off the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Then hit the soup with an immersion blender. Take your time and be sure the soup is really well-pureed. Now stir in the cream and sage, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.
Serve in bowls garnished with the bacon bits and grated parmesan.

Appetizers and Drinks

Soups, Stews, Chili, and Casserole

Salads and Side Dishes

Main Dishes

Desserts and Baked Goods

Sunday SupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

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It’s official – football season is here!!! We’ve been at it for two weeks now, both college and the pros, and it’s a mixed bag for me personally. Oh Cowboys, how you kill me sometimes….

But, even if I can’t get on board with – how many interceptions did Romo throw Sunday before last? Ugh. But I’m happy they won last week! Will they keep it up? – I can *always* get on board with game day and tailgating food. Always. And that includes buffalo anything.

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Buffalo chicken wings are fantastic, of course, but I’m not always in the mood for that giant production. Sometimes I crave the flavors while wanting something simpler, and sometimes it’s only two people watching the game (and their waistlines!) so you need a more … contained meal, one with fewer calories that provides fewer opportunities for eating all night long.

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Enter these delicious burgers! All that beautiful, hotter-than-hell buffalo wing flavor with significantly less messiness. But, there is some messiness, I should warn you. I personally believe that if you don’t need about five napkins, then the burger just wasn’t worth eating.

These are awesome, perfect for a busy weeknight game that can only be partly watched over dinner, or for any time you’re just craving buffalo wing flavors in a healthful turkey burger. Enjoy!

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Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
6 tbs buffalo sauce
Leafy lettuce
Blue cheese sauce/dressing
4 hamburger buns, preferably Brioche, split and toasted

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, garlic, scallions, celery, salt and black pepper, plus a quick drizzle of olive oil. Using your clean hands, mix gently but thoroughly. Score the meat into 4 equal portions and form each into a burger patty. Use your index finger or thumb to make an indentation in the center of each patty (this prevents “burger bulge” as they cook).
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil. When the skillet is hot, add the burgers and cook, flipping once, 10 to 12 minutes total, or until the juices run clear. Remove to a plate. Shut off the heat and wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Place the skillet back over low heat. Add the buffalo sauce to the pan and swirl it to coat. Place the burgers back in the pan and flip once to coat them well in the buffalo sauce.
Now assemble the burgers. Place a buffalo-sauced burger on the bottom bun, then top with lettuce and blue cheese sauce. Now add the top bun and serve immediately.

Bacon Salt

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Well, today is a very good day, for two reasons: 1) it’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day, woohoo!! And 2) it’s my birthday! Yep, another thirty-something one for me.

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So this month I was assigned the awesome food blog Get Off the Couch and Cook, and it makes me rather sad that I never knew about Sashi and her cool blog before. We share the same cooking philosophy, namely that of stop eating processed food/fast food/take out, it’s horrible for you and the environment! Not to mention, cooking from scratch is easier than you think, cheaper, healthier, and oh you know, it tastes way better.

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When I found out that SRC reveal day would coincide with my birthday, I figured I would make one of Sashi’s cakes. But then I ran across her recipe for Bacon Salt (!!!!!) and decided that it’s my party and I’ll bacon salt if I want to. :)

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Thanks to a common-cold-turned-ear-infection, I haven’t put this bad boy to use just yet, but I did sneak a taste, and I’m *extremely* eager to use it. I’m thinking possibly crusting burgers or sliders; maybe baked into cookies? And Matt really, really, really wants to rim a margarita glass with this bacon salt goodness. The only question being, of course, what kind of margarita? I’ll let you know. ;)

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Be sure you check out Get Off the Couch and Cook! Thanks for such a genius idea, Sashi!

Source: Get Off the Couch and Cook

Ingredients:
5-6 strips of bacon
¼ cup kosher salt

Directions:
Cook the bacon until dark golden brown and crisp either on the stove top or in the oven (I used the stove top, but Sashi instructs to bake the bacon at 350° for 10-15 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels and cool completely.
Using different, clean paper towels, blot the bacon with paper towels to remove as much grease as possible.
Chop the cooked bacon, removing any large pieces of fat. No need to be fussy with this step. Press the bacon pieces once again with a clean paper towel to remove as much grease as possible.
Add the chopped bacon to a mini food processor and pulse until the bacon is finely ground.
Pour the bacon onto yet another clean paper towel and blot away any grease one more time.
Transfer the bacon to a small bowl and add the salt. Use your fingers (or a small whisk, but your fingers really are better) to incorporate the bacon into the salt as evenly as possible.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks

Beef Ragu over Spaghetti Squash #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper!! The theme this week happens to be Squash Fest. Very open, and given the time of year, some of us are featuring fall vegetables while others have summer squash recipes. I chose one of my favorite kinds of squash, which is just coming in season where I’m at – the spaghetti squash!!

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Now, we should be very clear about one thing: spaghetti squash is not pasta, despite its name, despite the fact that it gets nicknamed “low-carb pasta” and despite that it’s often featured with traditional pasta sauces. I must warn you, if you serve the recipe I’m blogging today to your family and tell them they’re having pasta, you are on the fast track to some major unpopularity in your own home, my friend. Arguing that spaghetti squash tastes like pasta is like trying to convince someone that Taco Bell is real Mexican food – you’ve lost the argument before you even open your mouth.

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But, I still adore spaghetti squash. I don’t ask it to be pasta, I just love it for what it is. Its flavor is very “blank slate” which means it soaks up a hearty meaty tomato sauce very nicely. And because this isn’t pasta, it is way lower calorie, which excuses the extra piece of garlic bread and extra glass of wine. Don’t you love my logic? :)

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This is honestly one of my favorite meals, and I make it whenever spaghetti squash comes into season. I mean, of course I love me some pasta, and like I said, spaghetti squash could never replace it. But this squash stands proudly on its own merits, and I look forward to this meal all year long. Enjoy! And please be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang – tons of fall and summer squash recipes today!

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Source: slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009

Ingredients:
1 small to medium spaghetti squash
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used sirloin)
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Garlic bread, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Oil or grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Lay the squash halves cut side down in the baking dish and roast for 30-40 minutes, until a sharp paring knife can cut through the skin and into the flesh with no resistance. Turn the squash halves over and let them cool until you can handle them.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the beef. Crumble the beef with a spoon and cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the shallot and garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes, oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup water and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, rake the squash flesh into strands and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, plus a small drizzle of olive oil.
Lower the heat on the ragu to low, toss in the basil and parmesan. Stir to combine.
To serve, mound some squash strands onto a dinner plate, then spoon some ragu over. Garnish with extra basil, if desired, and sprinkle on more parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous servings.

Starters – Appetizers & Cocktails:

Pickles & Relish:

Soups & Salads:

Main Dishes

Side Dishes:

Sweets to Start or End the Day:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Bacon Cheddar Chipotle Biscuits

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Happy weekend! I’m spending a lovely long weekend visiting family in Texas so this post will be short and sweet. And all about biscuits, to boot.

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The title tells you everything you need to know about these wonderful, homey baked goods. Three of my favorite flavors all jammed into a light, fluffy, round biscuit. Bacon. And cheese. And chipotle. So perfect.

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I’m thinking these are perfect for making and serving alongside chili, which you know you’re going to be making tons of what with the upcoming football season (NFL starts tomorrow, right? Yea, go Cowboys!).

I used a three-inch biscuit cutter so I got six big ones, but you can certainly cut them smaller. You will likely need less time in the oven if so. Enjoy!

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Source: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, chilled
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 canned chipotle in adobo, minced
3/4 cup half-and-half or buttermilk, cold

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Quickly cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the mixing bowl. Toss once or twice to coat the butter with the flour mixture, then use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour, until the mixture is crumbly.
Now add the bacon, cheese, chipotle, and half-and-half. Use a rubber spatula to mix until the dough just comes together. There will still be crumbs, which is fine.
Flour a clean work surface and dump the dough out. Knead for 1 minute until the dough just comes together. It will be sticky.
Now pat the dough out to about 1 inch in height. Flour a biscuit cutter and stamp out circles, re-rolling and re-patting the dough as needed. Transfer the biscuits to your prepared baking sheet, placing them close together so they rise up, not out.
If you used a 3″ biscuit cutter, you’ll have 6 biscuits, and they should bake for 15 minutes. If you used a smaller biscuit cutter, it’ll be a few minutes less. Bake until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm.

Lobster, Charred Corn, and Avocado Sandwiches

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About one week out of every summer, I feel like the luckiest person on earth. Why? Because my grocery store gets these small, roughly-one-pound live lobsters and puts them on sale for around $6 per pound. Yeah. You read that correctly. It’s crazy. Matt and I can dine on lobsters for less than $15 total.

We never know which week of the summer this blessed event will occur, so you have to be vigilant and alert. And sometimes, like last year, you’ll be on vacation during that week and want to cry about it. But not this year! (Whew…)

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This year, we walked into the grocery store after a long, beautiful day at the beach with a shopping list for burger makings, and that quickly got tossed as we exuberantly exited the grocery store with our $6 lobsters, some garlic, herbs and butter. We had a leisurely, romantic dinner of boiled lobster, drawn garlic-herb butter and chilled Chardonnay.

The next day, I went out and bought two more of those low-price lobsters for this amazing, glorious sandwich. Some fresh sweet corn, ripe avocados, eggy Briochoe rolls, and we were in business.

This is one of the richer summer sandwiches I’ve eaten in my lifetime, but also one of the more delicious. Due to the (usual) price of lobster, I’m guessing it isn’t a sandwich most of us can have every day; I certainly can’t anyway. So once a year, I’ll thoroughly enjoy it and not feel the least bit bad. And you could always sub in jumbo shrimp for the lobster. Enjoy!

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Source: adapted from Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
2 (1-1 1/4 lb.) live lobsters
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large ear of corn
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 small jalapeno or serrano chile
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
2 tbs sour cream
2 tbs chopped red onion
A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Few dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 Brioche buns, split and toasted

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lobsters and boil for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove with tongs to a shallow bowl or high-sided plate and let cool. When you can handle them, crack the meat out of the claws and tail. Cut the tail meat into chunks. If not continuing the recipe immediately, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Peel the husks and silk off the corn and use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off. Add the butter to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, garlic clove, and chile and saute just until softened and toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer the garlic clove and chile to a cutting board and the corn to a large bowl.
Once cooled a little bit, mince the garlic and chile. Add to the bowl with the corn. Also add to the bowl the avocado, sour cream, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash and stir the whole thing together with a fork. You want it combined but still chunky.
Now assemble the sandwich. Dollop a hunk of avocado mixture onto the bottom bun and spread to the edges. Nestle a generous amount of lobster meat, both claw and tail, on top of the avocado. Mound a few dollops of avocado over the lobster, garnish with a few leaves of cilantro, then close the sandwich. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 sandwiches.

Italian Vegetable Frittata

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Eggs and I have had a rather complicated relationship over the years. As a child, I liked scrambled eggs, but no other kinds – ever! Fast forward to college, where I majored in biology. Which meant taking labs. And labs meant conducting experiments, oftentimes on poor dead animals like fetal pigs and cats and frogs. And, chicken eggs.

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My junior year, we used a special microscope to peer into a chicken egg that was actually meant to you know, hatch a live chicken. The egg was in its infancy stage, so it looked like a regular egg you’d buy in a carton at the grocery store, only we could see a beating heart. First it looked like nothing, then you’d see a quick burst of blood that then dissipated back into itself, like tossing a pebble into a puddle.

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It freaked me the hell out. Probably shouldn’t have, but it was so weird to see this normal-looking egg, the likes of which I’d eaten my whole life, and all of a sudden there’s a bloody heartbeat in the middle of the yolk. And I mean a literal bloody heartbeat, not a British bloody heartbeat.

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So, eggs and I broke up for a while. Despite liking the taste of scrambled eggs, I couldn’t bring myself to eat them after what I’d witnessed. It was just too weird. This persisted for several years. It wasn’t until Matt and I were dating that I agreed to try them again. See, I met him while he was a mid-twenty-something grad student, and scrambled eggs were one of the few things he knew he could make competently. So when I initially said I disliked them, he panicked a little, then regrouped and convinced me to try them. And I agreed. Because it was the beginning of the relationship, the part where we agree to do and try things we dislike, just for our new love.

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Good news though – I rekindled that old fondness for scrambled eggs, and decided to get over my squeamishness. And then the whole thing snowballed. Before you know it, I was eating poached eggs, and fried eggs, and baked eggs. Like frittatas. Something I never grew up eating, or even knowing about, for that matter…

Now I make them often. And this one I made with zucchini! And parmesan. And it was fluffy, light and delicious. Quite perfect, really. Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. (about 3 thin) zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
10 large eggs
3 tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tbs dried oregano
6 tbs half-and-half
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and tilt the pan to coat evenly. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until the onion is softened a bit. Add the garlic, zucchini, and bell pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes, or until the veggies soften and the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the basil, oregano, and half-and-half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium and pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Do not stir. Cook about 4 minutes, or until you just start seeing the sides begin to set. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the frittata evenly, then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Run a spatula around the sides of the skillet and under the bottom to release it. Cut into wedges and serve.