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Cella's Corner: Celebrate the warm weather by digging into these recipes

IT’S SUMMERTIME! — During the warm weather, snatch up the local produce at grocery stores and farmers market. Use the vegetables for some of the recipes included in this column.
WEST VALLEY — I’m enjoying my summer again, this year, by gardening. My favorite recipe from this column is the almond meal cheese-its. I took some to work and they quickly disappeared. I even use them with my favorite French onion dip and my homemade peanut butter.

To make the peanut butter, I simply combine a 1-pound jar of unsalted, roasted peanuts, 5 teaspoons of olive oil and three-fourths of a teaspoon of salt in my Vitamix® and blend until smooth or chunky.

I am always on the lookout for new soup recipes. I’ve been trying Moroccan recipes lately, from

The Moroccan recipe I chose is excellent and light. I used my frozen cooked tomatoes and cilantro I have been growing, plus some frozen chickpeas I had cooked up, earlier.

The soup is light and the cilantro leaves behind a fresh flavor.

The original recipe added one-third cup of vermicelli at the end and the soup was thickened with one-third cup of flour. Both of those additions did not improve the flavor or the looks of the soup, so I left them out.

Almond meal cheese-Its
2 large egg whites, beaten until frothy
2 1/2 cups blanched almond meal (in the flour section)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flax meal, if desired

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place mixture between two pieces of parchment paper, cut to the size of a large cookie sheet. Roll a quarter of an inch thick. Remove top parchment paper and use a pizza cutter to slice into 1-inch squares. Place the crackers and parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Bake in 325-degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. When cool, break apart and store in a glass quart jar.

Romanian cucumber and tomato salad
Paula Silvia Choate

Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers until they are roughly the same size. Romanians use a bit of vinegar instead of the lemon juice and parsley instead of cilantro. The salad is good both ways.

5 cups diced tomatoes
4 cups diced cucumbers
1 cup diced onions or half a cup of diced onions and half a cup of green onions
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the prepared ingredients and serve cold.

Moroccan soup
Soak the lentils for 1 hour, before making the soup.
2 quarts water
2 cups tomatoes, diced (fresh, canned, frozen)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 cup lentils (soaked for 1 hour)
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Combine water, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, parsley, celery, butter, salt, black pepper, ginger powder and soaked lentils in a large cooking pot. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chickpeas and tomato paste. Heat until hot.

Rice pudding with raisins
Florence Richards

Rice and raisins
4 cups boiling water
1 cup long-grain, uncooked rice
1 cup raisins
Soft custard
2 cups milk
3 large eggs
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring water to a boil, in a large saucepan, and stir in uncooked rice and raisins. Cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain and set aside.

Combine milk, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla, in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water, until custard coats a spoon and form little bits of custard.

Take off heat and stir in rice and raisins. Serve warm or cold.

Send your favorite family recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, NY 14171 or email me at Providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood. Visit my website at, for more recipes and archived columns.

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