Red Rice and Freedom

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By Usa Express Daily

Today — Juneteenth — marks the recognition of freedom for Africans enslaved in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Red foods are traditional, and, in the spirit of the holiday, we have loads of brightly hued inspiration for you, whether you make Millie Peartree’s Charleston red rice (above) or Jerrelle Guy’s strawberry pretzel pie. Take a look.

But if your focus is more on weeknight cooking, you could try my new recipe for gingery meatballs in tomato sauce. Lighter than the traditional meatball dish you’d pile onto spaghetti, this one calls for fresh, ripe summer tomatoes seasoned with lime, cilantro and plenty of grated ginger. It’s zippy, tangy and the perfect place to use up all those overripe heirlooms that may be weeping on your countertop at the moment. (If you’re craving a more classic recipe from the Italian American canon, there’s always Ali Slagle’s baked stuffed shells with gooey ricotta and mozzarella.)

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My colleague Yewande Komolafe has a lovely piece about home and finding a connection through food. Reading it will make you want to simmer up a batch of her egusi soup, a beloved West African classic. A mix of stewed greens and roasted mushrooms bathed in a creamy, nutty sauce made from ground egusi (melon seeds), it’s a rich, satisfying meal with a hit of spice from scotch bonnet pepper, and, for Yewande, one that tied together a trip across the United States to understand her new adopted home.

Then, we have two more meatless dishes, both summer-ready and extremely easy. Yossy Arefi’s caramelized zucchini and white bean salad has bunches of cooling mint and parsley to balance the heat from red chile flakes. And there’s barely any cooking required to make Ali Slagle’s tofu and asparagus with frizzled leeks. The leeks are fried quickly in oil, and then poured over the miso-coated tofu and asparagus, warming them through.

For dessert, Naz Deravian’s strawberry galette has almond flour in the crust for crunch and a gentle nutty flavor. It’s seasonal and delightful.

You’ll want to subscribe to access all these recipes and so many more (as in tens of thousands more). If you need any technical help, the brilliant people at are there for you. And I’m at, if you want to say hi.

That’s all for now. I’ll see you on Wednesday.

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