DIY Peach Salsa -- and More Recipes

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder

The local peach season has come and gone -- sorry to say -- but peaches from cooler climes will meander their way into the produce aisle for the next couple of months. Peaches don't really ripen after they're picked, so choosing ripe peaches is key. It's not hard to distinguish a ripe peach from one that was picked a bit young on the twig. Peach-colored peaches are ripe, and green tinted peaches are not. I like to see a range of color on a peach from rosy pink to reddish orange. I also like a peach that's tender when pressed. Last, a ripe peach announces its presence with a pheromonally enticing aroma.

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AndyTalk: The Anatomy of a Tart, Or, I'm Not a Lazy Cook, I Just Don't Want to Go to the Store
AndyTalk: The Secret to Perfect French Toast


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3 Summer Dips for Chips Give Plain Old Hummus Some Competition

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Butter Bean Hummus - on Whole Wheat Naan

In the grocery store I was tempted by a sea of hummus, tubs of every size, tinted by all sorts of extras, demanding way too many dip-related decisions. Then it occurred to me that I had a can of garbanzos in my pantry and I could make my own hummus. When I got home and looked for the garbanzos I came across a shiny-topped can of butter beans and, shiny objects being a source of attraction, my attention was diverted. I made Butter Bean Hummus and it was good.

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AndyTalk: How to Prepare for a Party in Under an Hour -- and Clean Out Your Fridge at the Same Time
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On the second day I pulled a package of Melissa's pre-cooked lentils out of the fridge and made yet another hummus-inspired dip. On the third day, being on a roll of sorts, I made a hummus-like dip with corn. On the fourth day (my stamina being very un-godlike) I rested.

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Perk Up 3 Great Recipes With Fresh Oranges

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Orange Supremes in the Making

Sometimes the secret ingredient that will perk up your next meal is right under your nose, or in the case of the orange, ever present and mostly overlooked. When I teach about marinades or dressings, part of the lesson is about what makes a good dressing/marinade. The goal is to strike a balance using acid, fat (as in oil), sugar, and salt. An orange satisfies 51 percent of the equation; it's both sweet and acidic. I give it an extra one percent for its pleasing flavor.

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AndyTalk: Four Riffs on Caprese Salad


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A Recipe for Summer: Easy Whole Roast Chicken with Thyme and Lemon

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Roasted Chicken with Thyme and Lemon

Roasting a whole chicken can be daunting (at least the first time), but it's just as easy as making boneless skinless chicken breasts. A whole chicken takes longer to cook, but it's 1) juicier, 2) tastier, 3) takes less active time, and 4) it's cheaper.

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My recipe for Whole Roasted Chicken with Thyme and Lemon omits a couple of boilerplate steps. I don't tie back the legs or clip the wings (called trussing, which rhymes with fussing for good reason) so occasionally, I serve a tasty bird with legs akimbo. Nor do I baste, because an oil rub at the outset works just as well.

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Cucumber 101: Three Summer-Friendly Recipes

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Cucumber and Grapefruit Salad

I grew up in a house where salad always meant iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber. I assumed that salads everywhere were the same. When a friend in high school asked me what I'd just sliced into the salad, I thought he was kidding. How could he not know what a cucumber looked like? Despite their ubiquity in the produce aisle, I'm not sure that very many people buy cucumbers. The big question is not why; it's why not...

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Cucumbers add a light, refreshing flavor to salads, and they're crisp. In a world where everyone's looking for crunch, they're often the perfect choice. Cucumbers are the celery of Middle Eastern cookery -- adding taste, color, and texture to tabouli, falafel-stuffed pita, and Greek salads. There are only a couple of rules I loosely follow when adding cucumbers to a recipe.


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3 Easy Recipes That Call for Nut Butters

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Tahini, Sunflower Seed Butter, Almond Butter, Pumpkinseed Butter

Forget peanut butter. There are all sorts of nut butters just waiting for your morning toast. More important, every jar of cashew or pumpkinseed butter is the secret ingredient to thicken your sauce, bring depth to your salad dressing, or turn tortilla chips into fancy hors d'oeuvre.

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AndyTalk: A Trio of Easy-to-Make Summer Rolls


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4 Easy Ways to Make Guacamole

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Guac, four ways.
Avocados are the tofu of the produce aisle, and I mean that in good way.

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- 10 Best Margaritas in Metro Phoenix
- 8 Great Guacamoles in Metro Phoenix

I tried to think of words to describe how an avocado tastes, and it wasn't easy. They're not sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and they definitely don't ooze umame. They're bland and fatty and we love them. Who doesn't like guacamole?

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3 Ways to Cook Eggplant

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
If you asked 20-year-old me to predict how many ways middle-aged me would make eggplant, the answer would have been a big fat zero. Even though I was a kid who ordered the most offbeat thing on a menu, I drew the line when it came to eggplant. Someplace along the way eggplant earned my grudging acceptance, and eventually my respect. If the eggplant in question is Japanese (long, light purple and thin) or Thai (round, Ping-Pong ball-size and green) it's now on my culinary A-list. Done right, even the more common dark purple eggplant is welcome at my table anytime.

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- AndyTalk: Lentil Basics and a No-Recipe Dinner
- AndyTalk: The Winning Combo of Cauliflower and Mayonnaise

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A Trio of Easy-to-Make Summer Rolls

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
Three Kinds of Summer Roll
A few days ago, I came across a package of rice paper in my pantry and was inspired to make a trio of summer rolls. Any combination of ingredients that make a good chopped salad also will make a good summer roll. Rice paper starts out rigid and it easily cracks and crumbles. Place a sheet into a dish of warm water for 10 seconds and the paper is suddenly flexible. Set it down, mound your filling across the bottom third, and by the time you're rolling it up the paper is very soft and a little sticky -- so it rolls with ease, and the finished roll holds together.

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AndyTalk: The Trouble with Balsamic Vinegar
AndyTalk: Seeing Red ... Relish the Radish


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The Secret to Perfect French Toast

Categories: AndyTalk

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Andy Broder
French Toast That's Crispy on the Outside and Creamy Inside

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AndyTalk: Four Riffs on Caprese Salad
AndyTalk: Not All Bananas Are Created Equal . . . Take the Plantain

French toast is not just bread, eggs, and milk. French toast is technically custard, at least when done right. When done wrong, it's soggy bread and scrambled eggs or, worse, egg clinging to dry toast. To make great French toast, you need two items not often listed among the ingredients: 1) dense, slightly dry bread (the denser the better) and 2) patience. Soft bread dissolves as it soaks up the egg and milk mixture and nets you a mess. If your bread is really soft and moist, leave it out and uncovered for a few hours or lightly toast it. Day-old bread, or even two-day-old bread, makes stellar French toast.


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