Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno poppers are quite possibly my most favorite appetizer. Deep-fried, cheese-filled spiciness! Yum. One of my jalapeno plants took off late in the season, and I had an exciting number of peppers just waiting to be stuffed and fried.

This was my first attempt at making poppers. I like spicy food, but—for whatever reason—these were a little too intense for me. Both my boyfriend and brother didn’t have a problem eating them, so I pretty much felt like a big wuss. I do think the peppers I used may have been hotter than I anticipated, since I’d let them ripen on the vine for a couple weeks longer than necessary.

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Pane Crostoso (Crusty Bread)

I love everything about making bread. It’s alive, it smells great, and I get to punch it. (Take that, dough.) I like that it requires patience, elbow grease, and intermittent attention. Maybe when I have children running circles around my feet, smashing their heads into table corners, and playing indoor kickball, I will appreciate the little-to-no effort afforded by a dough hook or a bread machine, but I doubt it. (I derive a good deal of pleasure from being a militant purist about random things, and I don’t think that will ever change.)

I had forgotten how great this kind of bread can be. Crusty on the outside. Soft—but not too soft—on the inside. The perfect little edible plate! Which is exactly what I needed for my Calabrian green tomatoes, which were ready to be drained, rinsed, jarred, and eaten (finally!).

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Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Alfredo

Spaghetti squash—what a neat vegetable! It’s low in calories, easy to make, and a nice alternative to pasta. And, if you’re like me, that whole low-in-calories thing means you can justify covering it in something like homemade alfredo sauce. The first time I had spaghetti squash, it was prepared this way, and that’s how I’ve made it ever since.

Note: although not included in my recipe below, I highly recommend using shrimp in this dish. (I meant to do so, and then smacked myself in the head when I got home from the grocery store and realized I had forgotten it.) I use around 1 lb. of 31–40 count shrimp. I also like to add mushrooms and avocado, but I don’t recommend doing so if you’re going to have leftovers, as they won’t keep very well.

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Homemade Pesto

I go through phases of condiment obsession. Years ago, I was putting Swedish mustard on and in everything. Recently, I’ve been finding a million and one uses for Greek yogurt. Somewhere in between, it was pesto. One kind of pesto, to be specific.

Buddhapesto is a small company run out of the Hudson Valley area in New York state, and they make the best pesto I’ve ever had. Which is great, if you live in NY. But it’s a little hard to come by in Vermont. So, my goal for the summer was to grow a ton of basil and make pesto until I’d perfected the recipe, or my garden was depleted.

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