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VOE Board Summer Food Favorites: Recipes and Stories

Douglas Denton Church, Richard Goodwin, Erica C R Costello, Norm Tabler, Michael L Goldblatt, and Jennifer J Rose

VOE Board Summer Food Favorites: Recipes and Stories Patterson

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Disclaimer & Editor's Note

Our gratitude to the many persons who provided us tasty summer recipes to make the most of the season. In keeping with “lawyerly tradition” and common sense, we have a few disclosures and disclaimers to include. Without further ado, here they are, and then we can get to the good stuff:

Nothing in this article or the included recipes constitute either the endorsement of a recipe or its contents by either the American Bar Association (ABA) and/or its Senior Lawyers Division (SLD). Rather, the contents of each recipe solely represent that of each contributor and their personal opinions.

Measurements and choice of ingredients are accurate to the author’s own particular taste. I have read that the adventurous cook is one who will adjust amounts and even an ingredient to please his or her own palate, and of course, dietary issues. In that regard, butter and margarine may also be interchangeable with non-dairy products depending on your individual cholesterol and other dietary tolerances and limitations.

Opinions and information contained in these recipes do not replace, modify, alter, amend, or change the recommendations of a brand-name item manufacturer. Any such modifications from those of a brand-name manufacturer are those opinions of the author of each recipe and not those of the ABA or SLD.

Furthermore, if a brand-name of a product is stated, we are not aware of whether any of the authors have been subsidized in any way by any brand-name manufacturer for stating that their product is being used.

We recommend that you read the entire recipe before starting to cook. As a further word of advice, be sure your oven is working properly and that the thermostat is accurate. It is also wise to always monitor something during its preparation to make sure it is cooking properly and to your satisfaction.

The information and recipes contained in this article including all portions thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association and Senior Lawyers Division being first obtained in writing.

The Surgeon General has not yet opined on this subject and/or its use by you either in your daily diet or even a holiday meal. Indeed, certain foods have been found to be quite caloric and not appropriate for all persons. You should heed the advice and recommendations of your physician, nurse, trainer, spouse, children, office assistants, and others who tell you to eat a smidgeon and not the entire plate, no matter how inviting it looks and even how awesome it tastes. The word to always follow is “moderation…” at best.

Lastly, in case of weight gains, neither the SLD nor the ABA will be providing any dues rebate for gym memberships or weight reduction programs and/or the payment of any medical bills incurred due to glutenous activity by you.

In all candor, we are very happy to share these wonderful recipes with you and wish each of you and your families a wonderful and relaxing end of summer.


Jim Schwartz, Voice of Experience Editorial Board Chair

Tomatoes, Yes, Tomatoes

Doug Church

There are some childhood memories that are indelibly impressed into our memory banks. Some good and some not so good. But today I’m thinking back to a hot August afternoon in 1951. I was seven years old and between my 2nd and 3rd grade in elementary school.

We were living on the edge of town in a big old house that had served as the farmhouse for a fairly large farm and there was extra acreage adjacent to the house with barn and hay mow! My Dad and one of my uncles had managed to plant a (in the mind of a seven-year-old) gigantic vegetable garden in the side yard. Onions, cucumbers, zucchinis, potatoes, cabbage, sweet corn, carrots, radishes, lettuce, AND tomatoes.

On that particular afternoon, Uncle Jim was weeding the garden and invited me to help. As we crawled around the rows of growing veggies, we came upon the tomatoes and there were several that had reached that stage of red when you knew…at least Uncle Jim knew…that they were ripe and ready for picking and eating! He sat back in the dirt and pulled off two perfectly red, round, ripe tomatoes and handed me one. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a tiny salt shaker: “I always have this handy when I’m working in the garden,” he said, and then he wiped the dirt from his tomato with his shirt sleeve and licked an area on the beautiful round, red fruit, salted the wet spot and took a big bite. Juice ran down his face and he then salted more of it and continued eating. I was mesmerized as he ate the whole thing and then wiped his chin with his sleeve and looked at me: “What are you waiting for?” he asked and handed me the salt shaker.

There are moments in your life that are transcendent and so memorable that you can transport yourself back to that time and place just as if it were happening now. That was one of those times for me. The smell of the warm earth and growth around me, the feeling of the hot sun on my skin, the buzzing of insects, but most important of all, that first bite of a ripe Indiana tomato freshly picked in the garden, these are the sensations that are seared into my memory. It was simply incredible! I finished off the tomato, wiped my mouth and chin with my sleeve and asked, “Can I have another one?”

I have grown tomatoes almost every summer for decades. Sometimes the patch is small with a few plants and sometimes I get more aggressive. Recently, the location has been an eight foot by four foot raised bed with great organic soil. Usually, I plant four full sized tomato plants…beefsteak, early girl, and “Bill’s favorite” (a Ramapo variety favored by my gardener) together with another three or four cherry tomato plants. The plants are tended daily, breaking off the “suckers” at the bottom of the plants, checking the soil moisture, and adding some fertilizer when needed.

And then for the two months it takes to get them “eat-able” I hum the Carly Simon song, “Anticipation”! The hardest part is waiting that one or two more days after it looks like it’s ripe before picking. The biggest disappointments are when the “critters” get into the patch or failing to prevent blossom end rot from developing because of poor watering. But in the end, there is always far more than I can eat by myself. But I try! Usually, friends, co-workers, and other family members share in the bounty.

I’ve stopped eating “cardboard tomatoes.” Any tomato not “vine grown” in Indiana qualifies for that reference. Store bought, hydroponic, hot-house just doesn’t have the flavor, sorry to say. I’ve eaten so many home-grown tomatoes when they are ripe that I’ve developed mouth sores! And there are plenty of ways to use the fruit: gazpacho, tomato juice, tomato soup, diced into salads, Caprese salad, fresh Indiana sweet corn and tomato salad, plain old tomato sandwiches with a thick layer of mayo slathered on good bread, and on and on. I confess that I haven’t tried to can tomatoes yet, but that is surely in my future.

Can you imagine that there was a time when people refused to eat tomatoes because they were thought to be poisonous?! According to some historians, tomatoes originated in South or Central America and they were first introduced to European eaters after the Spanish conquest of the indigenous people. While we think of tomatoes as a red fruit, they actually come in a variety of colors from yellow to green and purple and they can have wildly different shapes! Color and shape are usually associated with heirloom plants, but you can close your eyes and take a bite and know whether it is a ripe, vine grown Indiana tomato or not regardless of color or shape. And I pity the people who failed to enjoy a bite for fear of poisoning!

I am prepared to defend my claim that Indiana home grown tomatoes are the most flavorful, juicy, and fabulous tomatoes bar none. While I have stated my preferred varieties, there are many more that seem to grow well in Indiana soil and produce tasty fruit: Sun Sugar, Brandywine, Beefsteak, and Sun Gold to name a few. It must be the perfect combination of soil, sun, and rain that distinguish Hoosier plants. When I declare my view of the perfection of Indiana tomatoes, I get the usual arguments about Tennessee tomatoes or Hanover tomatoes from Virginia, etc., from their fans but having given a taste test to any and all comers…except cardboard…none of them can compare.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the first time I really tasted and understood what a ripe Indiana tomato was all about occurred in that garden in 1951 and that experience overlays everything that has come thereafter. I prefer to think that, because I clearly am an objective observer and not at all prejudiced, that the Indiana vine grown tomatoes are simply “The Best of The Best.”
If I am ever asked to set the menu for my final meal, there would be no question about the main ingredient! I’m just hoping it’s early to mid-August and that I’m sitting in the warm dirt of an Indiana vegetable garden when that time comes!

Crab Cakes

Dick Goodwin

Yield: 3 to 4 servings per can of crab meat, this serves 6 to 8

Preheat oven: 350 degrees

Equipment: large bowl, small bowl, Pam, cookie sheet

Ingredients: 1 lb Lump crabmeat
1 lb back fin crabmeat
½ cup Japanese Panko, fine
Sea salt
fresh ground pepper in mixture
2 eggs
3/4 tsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning – or to taste
1/4 tsp Worchester sauce
1/2 tsp dry French’s wet mustard
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped parsley
1/8 tsp lemon zest

To prepare: separate crabmeat to remove shells. Try not to break up the lump. Add back fin to lump, gently stirring.

In small bowl beat two eggs. To the eggs add mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, Worchester sauce, dry French’s wet mustard, fresh lemon juice, parsley, and lemon zest. Whip the ingredients together.

Fold egg ingredients into crabmeat.

Add Panko to ingredients until ingredients begin to stick together - do no overdo. You want the mixture to adhere, not be overwhelmed by the Panko.

Form into crab cakes or crab balls.

Cook about 20 minutes at 350 degrees – the exact time will depend on the size of the crab cakes. When finished mixture should be firm not hard, top is slightly brown.

Epicure recipe

1 lb crabmeat
½ cup seasoned cracker crumbs
1 beaten egg
½ cup mayonnaise
½ tsp seafood seasoning
2 tsp Worchester sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine and cook as above.


Erica Costello

Contrary to popular belief, there is more than corn in Indiana. However, as a child growing up in the Hoosier State, all I could see were rows upon rows of corn on country roads and highways. Indeed, corn is the most valuable crop in Indiana, with farmers producing more than $4.4 billion worth of corn each year! But corn production is often affected by seasonal weather and climate changes. (For example, during the Drought of 1988, corn production decreased by 30% overall. At the time, I was eight years old and taller than most of the corn stalks in the fields!) Fortunately, most years provide ample amounts of corn for use in cereals, peanut butter, chips, soda, alcohol, popcorn, “on the cob,” and many others. Because it’s used in many foods and other products, corn is my favorite vegetable, grain, and summertime snack.

Beware of Cereal Killers

Norm Tabler

Steve Inskeep and the rest of the NPR Morning Edition lineup are first-rate radio professionals. And for all I know, they’re nice people, too. Nevertheless, there’s no denying it: They are cereal killers.

You’re wondering, How can Morning Edition threaten cereal? Simple. Morning Edition is the most listened-to radio show in the country. As its name indicates, it runs in the morning, when most Americans eat breakfast. And that’s a problem for cereal.

Eating cold cereal produces a crunching sound. The crunching can sometimes be heard by others at the breakfast table. It can always be heard by the person doing the eating, which makes it difficult if not impossible to eat cereal and hear the radio at the same time. Sadly, faced with the choice between breakfast cereal and an informative radio show, more and more Americans are choosing the latter, abandoning traditional cold cereal, with its sound-cancelling crunch, in favor of quieter alternatives, such as oatmeal, Eggos, and Pop Tarts.

You’re thinking: This sounds like a serious problem. I don’t want the cereal industry to die. I don’t want Cap’n Crunch out of work, forced to stand with a squeegee at an intersection, washing the windshields of drivers who don’t want their windshields washed. But what can I do? I’m just one person.

There are basically two alternative ways to help. The first is to boycott Morning Edition and encourage all your friends to do the same. The second is to adopt and teach others crunch-reducing techniques that will enable cereal-eating and radio-listening to peacefully co-exist. Personally, I recommend the latter.

Here’s my own technique. My cereal of choice is Post Spoon-Size Shredded Wheat, topped with raspberries or blueberries (or in a pinch, banana slices). The key is that I add milk to my bowlful of cereal before I do anything else. By the time I eat my first spoonful, my cereal has been in the milk while I have (a) added the fruit, (b) put the milk carton, fruit, and cereal box away, (c) taken a spoon from the drawer, and (d) sat down at the table. The milk has had enough time to do its work, softening the spoon-size bites before I start to eat. The result: crunch-free eating, pleasant radio-listening, and a pretty good way to start the day. Plus, the shredded bites don’t shred the roof of my mouth.

Act before it’s too late. Stop the cereal killing.

Eating Okra for Good Health

Michael L. Goldblatt

Many years ago, I was introduced to okra during a weekend trip to a family fishing camp. On the drive to the camp, my host stopped at a roadside stand to buy okra for dinner. It was quick and easy to prepare by boiling and seasoning with salt and pepper. I've since learned to enjoy okra in gumbo, salads, and sides. It can be boiled, fried, steamed, or roasted.

Okra has a mild flavor and smooth texture. Some compare its size and taste to green beans. Okra is very tender when slow steamed. It can be crunchy when roasted or quickly brought to a boil.

Okra is a source of fiber, minerals, protein, and vitamins. It's low in calories and high in Vitamin A, C, and K. Scientific studies indicate okra may reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Okra is primarily available during the summer. Easy to grow, it's available at farmer's markets and grocery stores. When buying okra, look for smooth and tender green pods. Avoid pieces with brown spots or dried ends. Store by refrigerating for up to four days before cooking.

Try adding okra to your summer meals for a healthy and tasty treat. I hope you enjoy it. Learn more by reading articles about Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Okra (Editor's, Old Farmer's Almanac, Aug. 8, 2022), 40 Okra Recipes that Prove It's Not Just for Gumbo (Staff, Southern Living, Jun. 22, 2022), Where to Buy Okra and Find it in the Grocery Store (Alexandre Valente, Vegan Foundry, Aug. 8, 2022) and Okra - All You Need to Know (Jared Boyd, Instacart, Apr. 26, 2022).

Salad Days

jennifer j. rose

Salad gets a bad rap. At best, it’s viewed as a perfunctory and pedestrian part of the meal, highlighted only during hot weather. Or as a course for dieters and dainty appetites. Go to a restaurant and order only a salad, maybe accompanied by an appetizer, maybe not. And you’ll get that look that says

“Is that all you’re having?”

When was the last time someone asked for a second helping of salad?

When I pitched this piece, several commented “But there are only three salads.” They were wrong, so wrong, not realizing that salad’s possibilities are infinite. You’d think I was offering up variations on gruel. I know they wouldn’t be having that reaction to an article about something as trivial as chocolate chip cookies.

Lettuce, tomato, maybe a slice of avocado, a touch of grated carrot doused in some glutinous slop masquerading as French, Italian, Ranch, or Thousand Island masquerading as dressing that just tasted like food-grade Drano, that’s the kind of salad my mother made every night, always served on the same wooden salad plates or bowls. Or chopped cabbage drowning in mayonnaise.

Could there be anything worse than Waldorf, a gooey mixture of apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts, in some kind of creamy mortar? Only Caesar gets that touch of theater.

There may be only 2,493 ways to make a meat loaf, but there are a gazillion ways to make a salad, none of them evoking sour, limp greens, dripping in oil.
Restaurants that would never think of serving tainted chicken or over-the-hill fish don’t give a second thought to charging customers for wilted greens, brown at the edges, ingredients better suited for the compost pile.

My favorite go-to restaurant serves up the best beef between here and Chicago, mastering creations of potato and conjuring up fabulous desserts, but it’s still serving the same three ho-hum salads since its opening a decade ago. Most restaurants just give salads short shrift.

And that’s why I took to making salads at home, lavishing the kind of attention that some might give to beef Wellington or a chocolate cake. Before long and before I started sharing the salad of the day on Facebook, I became known as the designated salad person, the one people would ask to bring a salad to any guest-sourced food gathering. What a score! You see, before then, any self-respecting potluck host would ask me to bring something store-bought instead of anything I might’ve made myself.

Netflix-famous cooking queen Samin Nosrat tells us that it’s all Salt Fat Acid Heat, but she doesn’t always get salad. She’s compelled to add cheese to nearly everything, which just ruins it for this cheese-hater. Don’t get me wrong: I still worship her. To the Samin’s holy quartet of salt, fat, acid, and heat, I’d add sweet, crunch, and surprise.

Start your salad by settling upon the two or three ingredients that will be the base of your salad. There isn’t an item on the produce aisle of the local supermarket or greengrocer that can’t find its way into a salad. Maybe shredded beef or chicken will be the salad’s focal point. Use vegetables not usually associated with salad: zucchini, okra, grilled peppers, roasted radishes, cooked winter squash and sweet potatoes, chayote, or raw corn. Berries, cherries, mango, melon, pineapple, and jicama are all fair game.

We all love carbs, and you can’t go keto or paleo all the time. Add a spoonful of bulgur, quinoa, farro, barley, Israeli couscous, wild rice, brown rice, garbanzos, white and other beans, roasted corn for a change of texture, to sate that carb craving, and to provide an interesting contrast.

Everyone knows that the probability of a pistachio, macadamia, or cashew ending up on your fork makes each bite of salad exciting. One thing that Samin never mentions is the importance of some sweet nugget in salad: hard candy in Xmas salad, praline pecans, raisins, dried fruit, candied ginger, silver dragées. A handful of pomegranate arils. Add something interesting and unexpected to salad – nasturtium seed pods can double as capers, green or unripe coriander or cilantro seeds, bougainvillea, marigold, rose petals, squash flowers.

Zhuzh it up with horseradish leaves, radish leaves, mint, fennel fronds, nasturtium flowers, or fresh pea tendrils. A few toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame add excitement and crunch.

Let’s move on to the acid and fat. Be miserly with both, microdosing the acid.

Living in Dorothy Lynch country can drive a person to desperate measures, so about a half century ago, I became a fan of Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette, thinking that it was a sign I’d arrived, given that it was just about the fanciest offered up on the shelves of Dahl’s in Des Moines. And then I realized I was paying $5 and more for canola and soy oil, water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and seasoning, all of which I could conjure up easily from my own pantry.

The fat doesn’t have to be EVOO or even poured out of a bottle. Nuts, bacon, cheese, tahini, avocado, anchovies, and tuna are all sources of fat. Keep that in mind when you reach for a bottle of oil. I prefer to spray or sprinkle the oil lightly and directly on the salad.

Acid doesn’t have to be vinegar. Citrus juice is acid. A splash of wine is acid, and so is pickle juice. Tomatoes, nopal, pickled ginger, and other vegetables are acid. So are honey, pomegranate molasses, crema balsámica, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, rose water, and dairy. You get the picture. You can drop the acid, or you can microdose. The decision is yours.

A little garnish always makes a salad special, whether it’s freshly zested citrus, gomashio (a Japanese seasoning of slowly-toasted sesame seeds ground with sea salt, sending forth a buttery, oily, salty sweet flavor), toasted nori, or even the crumbles and dust from the bottom of a bag of barbecue potato chips or Fritos.

Make your salads interesting and exciting, and become the person known for your salads. Experiment with your salad. Play with your food. Get creative. Make others crave your salads. And remember that you can also order in Chinese food or Domino’s if you fail.
But since all food pieces are supposed to include a recipe, here are three, each yielding enough salad dressing for a small army:

Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

by Victoria Challancin

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons unflavored rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground sumac
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Nora Ephron’s Really Good Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons mustard, either dijon or champagne
2 tablespoons good vinegar (I really like Noble's Tonic No. 4)
1 small shallot, minced evenly
6 tablespoons olive oil

Villa Montana Salad Dressing

1 medium onion, diced
3 medium cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 tablespoon sugar
2 cups oil
3/4 cup apple or cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon celery, chopped

Put all ingredients in a blender and stir until well blended. Makes 1 quart.

Note: this recipe was created in the 1950s, when oil was oil, and vinegar was vinegar.