Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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Curried Egg Salad Open-Face Sandwiches

Recipes in this PostJar of Cross and Blackwell Major Grey's Chutney

I have a very good friend who said to me once, “Does everything with you have to be gourmet?” and I said, nonplussed, “Yes!”. Why do you have to go to a restaurant when you can make gourmet food at home, for a fraction of the cost! I was reminded to this today when I started to make egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and decided to make this a Curried Egg Salad Sandwich.

Probably, one of the reasons I can do this is because I have a good pantry, a good spice rack, and I’m not afraid to try new foods. That means I usually have good curry powder in the spice rack, and Major Grey’s chutney in the refrigerator. I have to watch the chutney, though, because Spane likes to eat it by the spoonful, right out of the jar.

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Crab Shrimp Cakes with Louis Sauce

Recipes in this PostGarnished Crab Cake Picture by Stu Spivack at Flickr

When I was a little girl living in Germany, my mother used to get frozen crab cakes. I loved them. A few years ago, I found a package of Zatarain’s crab cake mix, and I made it with imitation crab. Yup, you heard me right – imitation crab.

Here’s my thoughts on imitation crab. What is imitation crab? Imitation crab is made from surimi, a concoction of fish, usually pollock, a binder and flavoring. I never think of imitation crab as crab, I think of it as Krab.

I went to the market yesterday, and stood there thinking about what to make for Friday Food. Krab was on sale, and there was a nice package of small bay shrimp on sale as well. Since I was going to be making this for Amber’s family as well as mine, I got both, and thought I would mix them together.

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Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream for 4th of July

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Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream

Finished Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream

When thinking about making this Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream, it reminded me of something that happened many years ago. I was asked to bring something to a 4th of July potluck. I was making a yellow cake and using strawberries and blueberries for filling, with a whipped cream topping. As I was taking the cake out of the pan, my cat Lazer startled me, and I dropped the cake on the counter. I went into bunch of little pieces. Well, I had a trifle bowl, so I scooped everything up, put in the bowl with the cream and fruit, presented it as Oops 4th of July Trifle, and called it a day.

This year, I wanted something along the same lines, but a little more fun. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are perfect together. Strawberries and Mascarpone are even better together, but I didn’t want anything that thick. So I developed a wonderful lemon cream.

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Food Art – Teacher’s Garden No Bake Lemon Wafer Cake

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Teacher's Garden Cake

The PTA at John Muir Elementary School puts on a staff luncheon every year. Parents are asked to bring in their best dish. Our teachers and staff are very lucky, as a lot of our parents are very good cooks. This year, in fact, the recipes are going to be collected and the PTA is publishing a cookbook. The luncheon was going to take place in the newly planted Teachers’ Garden. I decided to make a cake and decorate it as a garden.

The cake looked lovely tilted up on the dessert station. In fact, it looked so lovely, and so real, that no one ate it. Some guests thought it was too pretty to cut, a few thought it was art, and a few didn’t think it was really edible. I wound up taking it home and will share it with family and friends.

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Cream of Tomato Soup

Recipes in this PostCream of Tomato Soup

On rainy days, the first thing some people think of is a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought of that, too, but since The Good Plate is all about reconstructing packaged foods, I decided to make tomato soup from scratch.

You will find that it is just as easy to make as opening the can. You probably have all the ingredients already on hand, and it’s very economical, too.

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