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Two Excellent Dishes For Springtime

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I tend to avoid using the oven once the weather turns warmer but before that happens I have one more baked dish that we will be enjoying later today: Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Saffron Rice Bake. A Bon Appétit magazine recipe from Portland’s own Luce restaurant, this is a recipe that I prepare again, and again. The roasted eggplant, creamy rice, and rich saffron make for an intoxicating blend of flavors. And I finally figured out what smells so good when you walk into many top restaurants, it’s saffron. The stuff is magical. The recipe asks for store-bought marinara sauce but I usually have some Marinara Sauce on hand – today, store-bought.

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Having recently removed the cover from the outdoor grill, I have wasted no time in taking the cooking outside. The current issue of Fine Cooking magazine features a Fiesta Quinoa Salad with Grilled Shrimp. Save for some healthy olive oil this salad is virtually fat free and the nutty flavor of quinoa, sweet grilled corn, fresh veggies, and black beans make a delicious combination. We served the salad at room temperature, and then had it cold the next day – both were tasty, and satisfying. The shrimp are seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled for about six minutes. So easy. Truth be told, the salad would have been fine on its own, the shrimp are just a succulent bonus.

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