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Ross's easy recipes

Here are a few simple options for those who need to whomp up an impressive-looking meal for the family (or prospective significant other), but have cooking skills that, well, have limits. These recipes are almost foolproof, and not particularly expensive--except for the salmon, I suppose, but that's often on special. Serve with a nice cheap California red wine.

Tabbouleh salad.
This seems exotic and impressive. But it's so easy and forgiving to make, and I've yet to meet a single person who hasn't liked it. Vegetarian, even vegan, friendly.

Irish soda bread.
You thought you'd need all day to make bread? How does 15 minutes sound? This lovable loaf will impress the lot of 'em with your amazing culinary skills, which you don't need to make it.

Salmon en feuille de métal.
A lot of people know the technique of baking meat or fish in aluminum foil, but this recipe adds zing and a sophisticated feeling, because you get to say "crème fraîche."


Minnesota baked beans. Takes all day plus soaking, but you don't have to actually do much. (Vegetarian alternative if you skip the salt pork.)

Lilly the lazy cat.Rosemary-crusted roasted potatoes.
I haven't met anyone who doesn't like these either, but you can turn 'em out with about as much effort as my lazy cat Lily used to make to get to her food dish (see left; RIP Lil.). Veggie-friendly.

Mousse au chocolat.
Who doesn't like chocolate mousse? But it's so hard to make...except for this one. Whip it up ahead and chill, so you can relax and chlll yourself during the meal, knowing dessert is waiting. Vegetarian-friendly. No raw eggs!

The ultimate guide to making Norwegian lefse.
What is lefse? (Sometimes imisspelled lefsa.) A Scandinavian soft potato-based tortilla-like bread, but bigger and thinner. Traditionally rolled and eaten with butter and sugar, or even plain, although my grandmother liked to roll up meatballs. It sounds calorie-heavy, but I read it actually only has about 75 calories per lefse (not including butter and sugar, of course)

Crock Pot (slow cooker) beef in red wine sauce.
Ross's recipe addresses the biggest problem with slow cooker meat: a dry and tasteless result.

New! Here's Herman: Ross's Fargo sourdough starter.
Find out how to keep your starter healthy over the decades. If you'd like to grow a sample, I'm offering this well-established Fargo starter to anyone willing to make a contribution of $30 or more to the Dorothy Collins Endowment for journalism students at North Dakota State University. I can't imagine you will find a starter like this available anywhere else, so send me your address by email and I'll ship it out as soon as I grow it.

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