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6 oz cauliflower florets
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on the size
1/2 hothouse cucumber, small dice or julienne (or both!)
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

1. Over a bowl, grate cauliflower florets using the large holes on a box grater.
2. Add tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, and lemon zest to the bowl.
3. Combine lemon juice with tahini and stir, thinning with a couple tablespoons of water. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt.
4. Pour dressing over the tabouli and stir to combine.

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1 cantaloupe, large dice
Mint sprigs, for muddling
Vodka

1. Using a blender, immersion blender, or food processor, puree the cantaloupe until smooth. The cantaloupe juice is more gritty than the watermelon juice, so you may want to strain it (I didn’t).
2. Add ice to a tall glass or jelly jar.
3. Pour vodka over the ice and add mint sprigs. Muddle the mint with the handle of a wooden spoon until bruised.
4. Top off with cantaloupe juice, stir, and sip away.

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Okay so, the wings aren’t healthy. BUT, it was the night of the Fantasy Football Draft, so the boys obviously deserved to treat themselves, what with all the strategy and mouse-clicks.

1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound green beans
1 summer squash, very thinly sliced
1 small bunch mint, rough chop
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, seasoning the water with a bit of salt and pepper. Cool.
2. In boiling salted water, blanch the green beans for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp tender. Drain and run under cold water. Cut in half on a bias.
3. Combine the quinoa, green beans, squash ribbons, mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
4. Gently toss to combine and adjust seasoning to taste.

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This is summer in a bowl, and I have a loose recipe to represent the season:

170 g (1 6-oz package) raspberries, 12 raspberries reserved for garnish
1/4 cup sugar
1 loaf store-bought cornbread, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
Mint sprigs, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the raspberries (except for the 12 reserved raspberries) and the sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the raspberries have broken down. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Place the cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted and light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until stiff peaks form.
5. Stir a third of the whipped cream into the raspberry compote. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.
6. Divide the cornbread croutons among four bowls. Top with the raspberry fool and garnish with three raspberries and a mint sprig.

Serves 4

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A spin on a classic. Here’s the gist:

1. Layer thin slices of cantaloupe on a plate (or platter if you’re making an appetizer).
2. Tear prosciutto, and break prosciutto crisps* into pieces, and scatter on top.
3. Thinly slice sugar snap peas or snow pea pods on a bias and add to the plate.
4. Garnish with diced or crumbled ricotta salata (I only had feta, which worked just fine) and torn mint.
5. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes for a light dinner perfect for a summer evening, but would make an ideal, easy-to-assemble appetizer.

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*To make the prosciutto crisps, lay the slices of prosciutto flat on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 6-7 minutes, or until crisp.

6 servings of cooked couscous
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small hothouse cucumber, deseeded and chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 small bunch dill, roughly chopped
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped (I didn’t have any on hand but think it would complete the dish)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper

1. Cook 6 servings of couscous (I used whole wheat) according to the package’s directions.
2. Combine the couscous with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

This paired wonderfully with baked salmon topped with cucumber yogurt sauce:

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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.