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Dining In: The final days of summer

recipes Traditionally, Labor Day signals the final days of summer, so bid a fond farewell to the hot days of August with the flavorful fruits and vegetables that are at their peak right now.

Tomato Raita
   3 medium pickling cucumbers (can also use regular cucumbers)
   1 tsp. salt
   2 medium tomatoes
   1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
   8 oz. plain low-fat yogurt
   4 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
   2 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
   1 tsp. cumin
   Slice cucumbers into thin slices and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for about 40 minutes. Drain the cucumber, squeezing slightly to remove excess liquid.
   Core the tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss together tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion. Drain off any liquid.
   Combine the yogurt with the parsley, coriander, and cumin. Pour it over vegetables and mix carefully with a spoon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
   Each of the 4 servings contains 61 calories and one gram of fat.

Vegetarian Italian Antipasto
(From the American Institute for Cancer Research)
   2 c. cherry tomatoes
   1/2 lb. small whole mushrooms
   1 jar undrained, marinated artichoke hearts
   1/4 c. olive oil
   5 Tbsp. wine vinegar
   1/4 tsp. dried basil
   1/4 tsp. dried oregano
   1/2 tsp. dry mustard
   1 garlic clove, chopped
   1/2 tsp. salt
   Dash of pepper
   Combine all and seal in a plastic bag. Chill the mixture for 4 hours or overnight. May be eaten as an appetizer, salad, or side dish.

Stuffed Zucchini
   6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
   1/3 c. minced onion
   4-5 tsp. minced garlic
   2 tsp. butter or margarine
   1/2 to 3/4 lb. cooked shrimp
   Salt and pepper to taste
   2 1/2 c. cooked rice (may use wild rice and rice mix)
   1 c. chopped tomato
   1 1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
   1 1/2 c. Cheddar cheese
   Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out zucchini pulp and place shells on greased baking pan. Finely chop pulp and set aside. In large skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter. Add pulp, salt, and pepper. Brown.
   Add rice, tomato, shrimp, and 1 cup of cheese. Mix well. Mound into shells. Cover and bake 25 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes uncovered. Makes 6-12 servings.

Tomato Crab Sauce
   1 7 1/2-oz. can crab meat (or 1/2 lb. fresh dungeness)
   1/4 c. diced onion
   3 Tbsp. diced green pepper
   1 Tbsp. butter
   1 6-oz. can tomato juice
   2 medium tomatoes, diced
   1 Tbsp. minced parsley
   1 1/2-Tbsp. red wine vinegar
   1/2 tsp. sugar
   1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
   Dash of pepper sauce
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Drain canned crab. Set aside. Saute onion and green pepper in butter. Add tomato juice, tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper sauce (if desired). Simmer for 5 minutes. Add crab and heat. May be used as sauce over souffles or omelets.

Broiled Tomatoes with Olives
   6 large tomatoes
   4 Tbsp. sliced ripe olives
   1 c. chopped Canadian bacon, cooked sausage, or ham
   4 Tbsp. chopped parsley
   1/2 tsp. basil
   1/2 c. mayonnaise (may use reduced calorie)
   Cut off tops of tomatoes and core out a bit of the pulp. Place tomatoes cut side up in a greased baking dish. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Combine stuffing ingredients and spoon into tomatoes. Broil until brown.

Zucchini Casserole with Cheese
   1 1/2 lb. zucchini
   1/4 c. flour
   1/4 c. olive oil
   2 medium tomatoes, sliced
   1 medium mild onion
   1 c. sour cream (or light sour cream)
   1 1/2 tsp. oregano
   1/2 c. grated Romano cheese
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Slice zucchini and onion into rounds 1/4-inch thick. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Coat zucchini and onion slices well. Slightly heat oil and saute both until lightly browned on both sides. Drain.
   Cover bottom of lightly greased 9" x 12" (or equivalent) baking dish with a layer of zucchini (as close together as possible) and onion slices. Then add a layer of sliced tomatoes.
   Combine sour cream, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread over the top and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Easy Baked Tomatoes
   4 large tomatoes
   1/4 green pepper, chopped
   1 small stalk celery, chopped
   1/2 c. onion, minced
   1/2 c. bread crumbs
   1/2 c, cooked shrimp
   1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Cut the centers from tomatoes and chop the pulp that is removed. Mix pepper, celery, and onions. Add shrimp and mix again. Add bread crumbs and salt and pepper and mix carefully.
   Stuff tomatoes with this mixture. Place in a baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Each tomato may be wrapped in foil for ease of serving.

Green Beans with Tomatoes
   1 1/2 lbs. green beans
   1/2 onion, finely chopped
   1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
   2 medium tomatoes, chopped
   2 Tbsp. olive oil
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Pour oil into the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Add beans, onions, parsley, tomatoes (with juice), salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 20-30 minutes, or until beans are tender.