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1 bunch thin asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tsp olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 batch quick tomato chive jam
4 hardboiled eggs, quartered
Feta cheese, optional, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss asparagus with 1 tsp olive oil, salt and black pepper and arrange on a baking sheet.
3. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. Remove asparagus from the oven; plate and top with the tomato chive jam.
5. Scatter eggs and feta, optional, over the asparagus and tomatoes.

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4-6 as a side or appetizer. Can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.

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Or, with feta:

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1 lb carrots, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup dry lentils
1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed if they are visible
4 oz feta cheese, medium dice
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Juice from 1/2 large lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the carrots into 3/4 inch slices on a bias, and then cut each slice in half lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan for 10-15 minutes, or until dark golden brown, flipping halfway. Cool.

While the carrots are roasting, prepare the lentils per the package’s directions. Season with salt toward the end of cooking. Cool.

And while that’s all going down, cut the cucumber halves into half-moon slices and combine with the feta and parsley. Add the cooled carrots and lentils to the mixture and gently stir. Add lemon juice and a glug of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I’d say this is nice as a snack, but can also be a satisfying vegetarian main entree for the spring and summer seasons.

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Last year, this was the best salad. This year, some of the same elements remain, but have been reworked into the Best Salad of 2013. Unless I come up with something better. And then that’ll be the new best. I make up the rules, so…

I visited one of my best friends in Philadelphia this weekend. She wanted to make a salad using precooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, but needed some ideas. I offered to make this super easy, fresh salad that took no time to put together.

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1 package precooked lentils, or about 2 cups cooked French green lentils
1 hothouse cucumber, julienne
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
5 oz feta cheese, medium dice
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently stir to combine.

I hate making beets. They make a mess and stain everything and it makes me want to scream. But I love eating the damn things. So every once in a while, when I summon the courage to combat their ruby juices, I combine them with bold flavors for a refreshing salad.

Roast the beets: wrap tightly in foil, roast in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Allow to cool in the foil, and then rub off the skins with the foil.

Slice the beets and arrange on a plate with orange segments, feta cheese and capers. Drizzle with vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, and season with S & P.

And just remember that all of your–ahem–bathroom activities will be tainted with the color purple for at least half a day. If you’re okay with that, start eating some beets. The best part? They’re good for you.

I know, I know. It’s only day two of the new year and I’m already talking up a big game. But, come on–wouldn’t you if you made something that looks like this?:

I spent the first day of the new year testing this recipe for a menu project for school, and what I came up with is something that is so tasty and healthy, it’ll make you want to strut around in your underwear. Kale and sweet potatoes with feta and pomegranate is a refreshing salad that plays on all of the senses.

I’m sparing you the details of the tested recipe because that’s not what this blog is about. Take the idea of this salad and make it your own. Use this as a guideline:

Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Toss with oil, S & P and roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 25 minutes. While that’s working, blanch or steam chopped kale.

Make the vinaigrette by marinating thinly sliced leeks in fresh lime juice, brown sugar, S & P. After about 20 minutes, whisk in oil (I used a combination of canola and extra-virgin olive oils).

Combine the potatoes, kale and vinaigrette. Top with crumbled feta cheese and pomegranate seeds.

This salad will work as a side dish, or you can enjoy on its own as a super-light entree. It’s a new year, and we’re all trying to be a bit healthier; this is a great way to do it.

After escaping to the suburbs for the weekend, I came home to this. It’s always a surprise to remember how I left things, but this was just too pathetic not to share. Let’s all be aware that we are looking at baking soda, which my mom insisted I purchase and replace every 30 days (that same box has been there for nearly two years); a mostly empty, flat ginger ale, used two weeks ago for whiskey cocktails; two on-their-way-out lemons; and a bit of feta cheese.

Do you have something (or nothing) in your refrigerator that is worth exposing? E-mail your photos and perhaps it’ll get featured on the old blog.