Dinner for a Warm Friday Night

We used to frequent a little French bistro that was down the street from our old apartment in Manhattan. Their house salad was a delicious combination of fresh lettuce greens, green beans, red potato and a few other things I can no longer remember. Since then, I've recreated this salad dozens of times at home, adding odds and ends on hand, but always making it with mixed greens, green beans and new potatoes. Here is today’s version:

Salad: 

4 cups mixed greens, rinsed and dried

4 small new potatoes, boiled, cooled and diced

½ lb. green beans, ends snipped, and then blanched (dip beans into boiling pot of water for 30 sec, then plunge into ice bath to cool)

1 can tuna packed in olive oil  

Dressing:

1 T olive oil

½ t Dijon mustard

½ t red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, minced

Salt and pepper

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a cup, or add to a small jar, cover and shake. Combine all of the salad ingredients and then toss to coat with dressing. This is a perfect dinner for two on a warm day.


 

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon from The New York Times

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon from The New York Times

My soup obsession continues and this Red Lentil Soup with Lemon recipe from Melissa Clark at the New York Times has been in my weekly rotation. 

This soup is a marvel, and I recommend it to all of my clients. It's off the charts delicious, couldn't be easier to make, inexpensive and good for the body and soul this time of year. Adding the big splash of lemon juice at the end is key. 

Unlike dried beans, dried lentils need no soaking time and cook in about a half hour, making them an ideal ingredient for an easy weekday lunch or dinner. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber, as well as rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, folate and magnesium. 

Vegetable of the Month: Cabbage

Hudson Valley Seed's Vegetable of the Month for March is cabbage. I'm not letting the fact that it is the very last day of March deter me from posting a short blurb celebrating cabbage. Whenever possible, I try to volunteer on the day the school is holding the taste test. This month it was a big thumbs up for cabbage and I'm always impressed with how many kids are willing to try it. Granted the recipe this month was Irish potatoes and cabbage - heavy on the potato and seasoned with a little turkey bacon - but it still gave us the opportunity to talk a lot about cabbage.  Did you know that one cup of cabbage has only 15 calories? Or that cabbage is high in fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K? Plus it is inexpensive, very versatile and delicious.

In celebration of cabbage as the Vegetable of the Month, here are a few cabbage recipes:

Cabbage and Caraway Slaw 

Cabbage and Potato Gratin  

Stuffed Cabbage:  Cavolo Ripieno

That last recipe, by Mario Batali, takes a little bit of effort but is completely worth it.  An effortless way to incorporate more cabbage into your meals is to chop it into slivers and serve it raw under stewed chicken or a heap of it in your fish taco.