Throughout the summer and into the fall, when eggplants are abundant, inexpensive, and at their peak of flavor, I cook them at least once a week. My favorite approach is to turn the flesh into a salad that I keep in the fridge ready to be used as a light lunch, a healthy snack, or a no-fuss dinner side dish.
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At ChopChop Family we love celebrating Grandparents’ Day. So we’re sharing three ways your family can honor this holiday to help the grandparents in your life know you’re thinking of them.
We think many of life’s most important moments happen around the dinner table. It can be hard to get everyone together after work, soccer practice, school, and all the other activities each day brings, but it’s worth it and even researchers say so.
Many cooks I know claim to hate green bell peppers. They think of them as no more than bitter versions of their sweeter red, orange, and yellow brothers. Me? I love them. But I admit that my reasons are as much personal as culinary.
Even though we love to cook here at ChopChop Family, we all have been a part of a morning panic that includes staring into the fridge hoping something will appear to grab for lunch. We also know that caregivers have to find creative ways to make and pack lunch for kids every day. Our editor, Catherine Newman, once said something that made us laugh: she couldn’t believe her kids wanted dinner again after she had just made them dinner the night before! Sometimes, packing lunch feels like that—didn’t I just do this yesterday?
We know school-day mornings can be chaotic. Yes, we’re also still pining for those lazy summer days when multiple backpacks and lunches didn’t have to be packed at the same time as everyone needing to be fed. But the school year is upon us and morning madness will commence, if it hasn’t already.
As a rule, I make everything from scratch. For me it’s easier, quicker, cheaper, more interesting, and infinitely more flexible (If a recipe has something I don’t like, I can omit it. Or if it has too much of something I do like, I can reduce it.). I make an exception for Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce: “a very spicy green herbal sauce with Yemeni roots,” which I liken to a spicy cilantro pesto (though it contains no cheese or nuts).
Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I find side dishes generally more interesting and exciting than the main dish, especially in the summer when fruits and vegetables are so abundant. My ideal meal for a dinner party is grilled salmon or chicken, accompanied by a bunch of great salads.
When I was growing up, my parents took me to the New York World’s Fair almost every weekend. And, almost every weekend, fireworks were displayed. The fireworks, etched into my memory, seemed as if they were breaking up the sky: massive, deafeningly-loud, and seemingly forever-lasting. I found them ominous and overwhelming and, as a result, have never been a fan of July Fourth. That is until I spent July Fourth in Nahant, a small Massachusetts town on a peninsula in Essex County, where the fireworks are of the old-fashioned sort: beautiful, short and sweet, and not scary at all.
This has been a very difficult year—in terms of the weather—in Massachusetts. There were warm days in the winter and very cold days in the spring. It felt risky to put away down coats and quilts and bring out the flip-flops. And even as late as May, it looked like the cold air would never come to an end, which made the thought of cold soups, salads, and tropical fruits uninviting, if not positively unappetizing. But now, not only have we survived and progressed past an erratic winter, but even the spring has come and gone, without the threat of a snowstorm. I’m guessing that we’re heading for a very hot summer—in which case, there will be days you won’t want to turn your oven on.