I'm enjoying my summer again this year by gardening.  My favorite recipe this month 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 in my Vita Mix a one pound jar of unsalted roasted peanuts, five teaspoons of olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth, or chunky.  I'm always on the lookout for new soup recipes.  I've been trying Moroccan recipes lately from cookingwithalia.com.  The Moroccan recipe below is excellent and light - just right for a cool day.  I used my frozen cooked tomatoes and cilantro I was growing, plus some frozen chickpeas I had cooked up earlier.  The soup is light and the cilantro leaves a fresh flavor behind.  The original recipe added a 1/3 cup of vermicelli at the end and the soup was thickened with 1/3 cup of flour.  Both of those additions did not improve the flavor or the looks of the soup, so I left them out.  Enjoy!

Almond Meal Cheese-Its
(Nutritious Delicious)

2 large egg whites, beat with whisk or fork until frothy
2 1/2 cups blanched almond meal (by flour section)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flax meal, if desired

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with clean hands.  Place mixture between two pieces of parchment paper the size of a large cookie sheet.  Roll 1/4-inch thick .  Remove top parchment paper and use a pizza cutter to slice into 1-inch squares.  Place the crackers and parchment paper on large cookie sheet.  Bake in 325 degree oven until golden brown on top (20 to 30 minutes).  When cool, break apart and store in a glass quart jar.

Romanian Cucumber and Tomato Salad
(Paula Silvia Choate)

Note:  Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers the same size.  In Romania they usually 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 (remove seeds and juice if desired)
4 cups diced cucumbers
1 cup diced onions or half a cup of diced onions and half cup 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 all of the prepared ingredients and serve cold.

Moroccan Soup
(Note:  You need to soak the lentils 1 hour before making 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

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

Rice Pudding with Raisins
(Florence Richards)

Rice and Raisins
4 cups boiling water
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
1 cup raisins

Soft Custard
2 cups milk
3 large eggs
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Rice and Raisins:  Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in uncooked rice and raisins.  Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Soft Custard:  In the top of a double boiler, combine milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Cook over simmering water until custard coats a spoon and little bits of custard form on spoon.  Take off heat and stir in rice and raisins.  Good served warm or cold.

Send your favorite family recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, New York 14171 or e-mail me at marcellastockin@yahoo.com.  Providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood.  Visit my website at cellascookbook.com for more recipes and archived newsletters.