Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition. In her long-standing capacity as a Newsday columnist, Contributing Editor for Cooking Light, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, restaurant critic, recent columnist for several leading magazines (Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention); regular contributor to many magazines, (including Self, More, Coastal Living, and Relish) and frequent guest on television and radio, Perry is an accessible and authoritative guide for anyone who cooks, eats and travels.

In addition to Dinner Tonight, the cookbook based on her daily Newsday column, Ms. Perry has contributed recipes and text to nearly 20 other food and nutrition books. Her articles have been syndicated internationally in magazines and books, and her recipes have appeared on the Television Food Network and numerous television news segments.

Perry teaches cooking and food writing at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, food writing at, and is a guest lecturer at the culinary management graduate school at New York University. Her extensive involvement with the food industry ranges from writing and reporting about cooking and nutrition, chefs, restaurants, growers, producers and manufacturers; restaurant reviewing; menu consulting; consumer trend analysis; and volunteering to bring food and cooking/nutrition know-how to those in need. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Libby Hillman Award for Culinary Excellence and the Food Writers’ Symposium scholarship and the Association of Food Journalists Award for Best Food Essay for an ode to her mother and strawberry-frosted cupcakes.

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TIP: Store basil in a glass of water (as you would flowers in a vase) and keep refrigerated. Wash just before using.


The tomato cups may be made a day in advance; the filling may also be served as a simple side dish.

1 cup quinoa

3 tablespoons slivered almonds

2 cups basil leaves

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3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan, divided

1 pound tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch dice, plus 12 tomatoes (about 2 inches in diameter)

1. Combine the quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer until water is fully absorbed. Place a lid on the pot, remove from heat and let stand until the grains are somewhat translucent (no longer white), about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the almonds in the food processor and pulse the machine until the nuts are in 1/8-inch bits. Add the basil, olive oil and salt; pulse, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is a thick paste. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and pulse until just combined. Toss with the diced tomato and quinoa.

3. Make the tomato cups: Cut off the top 1/4-inch from each tomato and hollow out the center with a melon-baller, leaving a 1/4-inch thick wall. Fill the tomatoes with the quinoa mixture and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the top.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 247 calories, 9 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 186 mg sodium


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1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon chili paste with garlic

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1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup basil, cut in thin strips

1/3 cup cashew pieces

1. Whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey and chili paste in a small bowl. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1 teaspoon of water and whisk into the fish sauce mixture. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and chicken and cook, stirring 7 to 9 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the sauce; cook, stirring, 1 minute until the liquid is a thick and shiny glaze. Stir in the basil and cashews, remove from heat and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 252 calories, 27 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 691 mg sodium



8 ounces sourdough or rustic bread, torn in 1-inch pieces

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium Northern beans, drained and rinsed

3 peaches, cut in 1/2-inch dice

3 tomatoes, about 1 pound, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup basil leaves, cut in thin strips

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the bread, beans, peaches, tomato, onion, olives and basil in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss with the bread mixture and let sit at least 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 420 calories, 11 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 758 mg sodium