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Features

  • By Sara Moulton
    For The Associated Press

    Toward the end of every summer, my family and I abandon New York City for my parents’ Massachusetts farmhouse, where the fields out back are lined with blueberry bushes. Some years the crop is tiny. Other years it is so good we are overwhelmed, calling up visions of Lucille Ball wrapping chocolates in the candy factory.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Lemonade and iced tea are two of the most refreshing summer beverages. Mixed together they offer the best of both beverages. This punch uses a base of black and mint teas combined with freshly squeezed citrus juices and a touch of sugar to create the perfect barbecue accompaniment.

  • The Associated Press

    JACKSON, Tenn.  — There’s something special about the stew sold each year by the Three Way Community Club in Jackson.

    According to The Jackson Sun, cars lined the driveway and parking lot of the club’s building on Monday as people dropped by to purchase some of the famous stew that’s sold every Labor Day.

  • Submitted to the Optic
    Take advantage of Jazz Sunday at the Pendaries Community Center when the talented and versatile Smooth Riders Jazz Quartet present their 2012 tone mix from San Miguel County’s ready bounty of acoustic adventures. Their show starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Pendaries Community Center.  Here is what’s in store for you:

  • By Sara Moulton
    For The Associated Press

    Labor Day generally gets people thinking about grilling up the last of summer’s burgers and steaks. Allow me to suggest setting aside tradition in favor of a leaner alternative, namely, a full-bodied fillet of salmon. And topping it off is not a slice or two of cheese, but a robust, chunky, vegetable-packed vinaigrette.

    You won’t be sorry. And you won’t miss the burgers and steak.

  • The Associated Press

    When we think of steaming, we generally think stovetop cooking. And during the heat of summer, that can make this very healthy form of cooking seem very unappealing.

    But the folks at Cooking Light magazine have come up with a simple way to enjoy a delicious steamed dinner without the fuss (or heat) of indoor cooking. For this deliciously spicy shrimp, black bean and corn dish, they use the grill to get the job done. The results are quick and easy, and you don’t need to heat up your kitchen.

  • By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    Poet John Trudell will join his poet daughter, New Mexico Highlands University student Tara Evonne Trudell, on stage at 5 p.m. this Sunday at Highlands University’s Ilfeld Auditorium for an evening of spoken word and poetry.

  • Submitted to the Optic

    This summer, celebrate the power of music through the 29th Season of Music from Angel Fire, the Festival that brings exquisite chamber music to the magnificent mountains of Northern New Mexico.

  • Submitted to the Optic

    Music from Angel Fire will present a free concert entitled “The Rejected Masterpiece,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21 in Shuler Theater in Raton.

    The all-too-human professors at the Paris Conservatory made an infamous mistake when they rejected Ravel’s attempt at winning the Prix du Rome with his submission of the first movement of his glorious String Quartet.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Salads can be a great way to pile on the vegetables, not to mention serve as a fine canvas for showing off summer's bounty.

    But sometimes — OK, a lot of times — eating a plate full of greens can be a bit boring. Then there are the toppings. Too often, we are tempted to pile on fatty toppings like cheese, bacon, seeds and nuts, or rich dressings, all in an attempt to amplify the flavor.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Summer makes us long for the grill. But by the end of the season, even our favorite burgers and dogs can feel a bit tired.

  • By Sara Moulton
    For The Associated Press

    There are few foods as simple, delicious and complete as fresh seasonal corn on the cob. When it’s really fresh, I’ll even eat it raw. No boiling, no butter, no salt. It’s perfectly sweet and tender right off the stalk.

  • The Associated Press

    Great taste often comes down to contrast.

    It’s why we pair tender and crunchy textures, sweet and sour flavors, and hot and cold temperatures (think hot fudge sauce over vanilla ice cream). In a way, these contrasts amplify the flavors of the dish, making the food much more than a simple sum of the parts.

    And it’s a technique well suited to healthy eating. Because by playing with contrasts, you are able to coax so much more from otherwise simple ingredients.

  • Submitted to the Optic

  • By J.M. HIRSCH
    AP Food Editor

    It may look and sound like a weed, but lemon grass actually is one of the most important ingredients in Southeast Asian cooking.

    It also happens to have the power to transform the all-American foods you love.

    Lemon grass is a reed-like plant that grows as a thin, firm 2-foot stalk with a small bulb at the base. It varies in color from pale yellow to very light green.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    School often starts when kids still have summer on the brain. So these easy-to-make bars have summer in mind, too.

    We aimed for a simple snack with the flavor of s’mores, but with the texture, ease and portability of puffed rice treats.

    We ended up with a layer of marshmallow-rich crushed graham crackers topped with chocolate. To make things interesting, we turned them into peanut butter s’mores bars. But if your kids aren’t peanut butter inclined, just leave it out.

  • The audition for the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of Beauty Lou and the Country Beast will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6 at Ilfeld Auditorium on the New Mexico Highlands University campus.

  • By J.M. HIRSCH
    AP Food Editor

    People have been eating it for thousands of years, yet still no one can tell me why it should be peeled. So I don’t, and neither should you.

    “It” being fresh ginger, the gnarly brown root that lives amongst the grocer’s Asian produce. And the flavor is so much better than dried, you must get to know it.