Easy Four Bean Salad

Easy Four Bean Salad

Move over three bean salad. There's a new kid on the block - Four Bean Salad. Tasty, colorful and easy, this summer delight is a perfect side dish at any pot luck, barbecue or simple grilled dinner. Plus, on the off-chance that there is any Four Bean Salad left over, it is a superb as a component in Salade Nicoise

This salad was inspired by two of my favorite friends, MM & MK. We make a merry threesome and when we get together - with spouses or without - there will be good times, lots of laughter, wine (and lots of it) and good - or maybe great - food. 

With MK's hubby grilling delicious chicken shish kebabs, MM providing a gorgeous and scrumptious tomato tart, I knew I had to up my bean salad game. And so, this Four Bean Salad was created - to honor the proposition that just because you want to do yourself proud, doesn't mean that you have to spend all afternoon in the kitchen. 

Easy Four Bean Salad

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Easy Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Easy Stuffed Poblano Peppers

“Stuff it” is my slightly naughty thought every time I see a poblano pepper. They are perfect vessels into which you can spoon meat, vegetables, rice (or a combination) for a tasty, yet simple dinner. 

In hot weather, you don’t even have to bake the stuffed poblanos if you simply roast the peppers first using the same method as for red bell peppers, cook the filling on the stove and then put them together. Of course, if you are a firm believer in melted cheese, there is always the toaster oven option for a few minutes of baking at the end.

These are not the "plain Jane" stuffed green peppers of my mother’s generation. Instead, they are amped up with minced jalapeno pepper (or even serrano if you’re brave) and flavored with cumin and chili powder. I use chopped meat in mine, as well as rice and black beans, but you can eliminate the meat if you prefer a vegetarian version. Plus the poblano is more flavorful than a green bell pepper, with a palate-pleasing hint of spiciness. 

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Stone Fruit and Blueberry Crisp

Stone Fruit and Blueberry Crisp

Fruit crisp is the perfect summer dessert. It's versatile, simple, and takes only a few minutes to prepare. I'm not putting crisp down as a fall dessert with apples and pears, or a spring sweet with the addition of rhubarb, but there is something even more wonderful (if that's possible) when the ripe summer fruit peeks out from below the baked topping.

Whether you bought too many peaches because they were irresistible or have a huge bag of cherries to use up, fruit crisp is the answer to your "what shall I do with this fruit before it spoils?" question. 

This recipe uses any summer "stone fruit" (those with pits, such as peaches, plums, cherries, or nectarines) and blueberries. It works best when fruits are combined, but also works with a single variety if you prefer or that's what you have available. The topping is simple in the extreme. Although I added crystallized ginger to the fruit because I am obsessed with that tangy confection, you could easily leave it out. This recipe is inspired by a berry crisp recipe from Sheila Lukins  (of Silver Palate cookbook fame), but it is lighter and more fruit-centered than her original.  

Stone Fruit and Blueberry Crisp

 

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