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I became addicted to roasted broccoli a few years ago, and since then roasting is my favorite way to prepare it (and many other vegetables). Normally, I roast it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper at 400-450 degrees for twenty minutes or so (with the broccoli cut into large florets) until it turns slightly golden brown and crispy. But recently I saw this recipe in the New York Times that turns what is usually a side dish into an entire meal: roasted broccoli with shrimp. After seeing it got nice reviews on several food blogs, including The Wednesday Chef, I decided to try it out. It combines roasted broccoli with shrimp and a handful of spices including chili powder and cumin, as well as a showering of freshly grated lemon zest. The result is a recipe that’s easy to prepare and so delicious. Also, for an even quicker version, keep some frozen, peeled shrimp on hand in your freezer so that the only ingredient you need to pick up at the grocery story is the broccoli (assuming you have all the spices and a lemon on hand). This meal is one more keeper I’ll be adding to my list of old reliables! The exact recipe is here.


I only ever used to eat miso soup when I went out to dinner. There was something mysterious about it that made me think I could never make it at home. Something that had to with the fact that I had no idea what exactly miso was. Looking it up online didn’t help. According to Wikipedia, it’s made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a special kind of fungus. Definitely not something I can imagine doing in my kitchen. But that was before I realized you could buy miso paste at the grocery store.  I’m now in love with making miso soup myself­—and, unlike in a restaurant, at home you can be creative and tweak the soup to your liking. So far I’ve only gotten as far as making this recipe from the website, 101 Cookbooks, and if it’s the only miso soup I ever get again, I’ll be happy. It’s really more than just miso soup—it’s loaded with hearty, nutty soba noodles, tofu, and fresh spinach, cilantro, and sliced scallions. The result is a meal that’s fresh tasting and totally satisfying.  The exact recipe is here.

My mother-in-law introduced me to this great spice rub for salmon, created by James Beard award winner, Tom Douglas. Normally I don’t like shortcuts like pre-mixed spices or sauces, but this one is worth adding to your cabinet if you make salmon fairly often. It has a sweet and tangy flavor, and all you do is mix it with olive oil, rub it on top of your salmon fillets or steaks, and bake or broil until the fish is done to your liking. The “Rub With Love” line also includes rubs for steak and chicken (pictured here) but I can only vouch for the salmon. $6.89 at and $7 at Sur La Table.

I love to entertain, but all the planning tends to stress me out. Which is why I was so glad when I stumbled upon this easy appetizer of goat cheese, lemon and thyme in the July 2008 issue of Gourmet that takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and looks and tastes delicious.  It’s  become one of my staples (I think the lemon zest makes it memorable). The exact recipe is here.