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1 1/2 cups brown lentils
kosher salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
for assembly and garnish: whole wheat hamburger buns, sliced tomato, sliced avocado, sprouts, arugula, etc.

1. Sift through lentils for debris or rocks. Combine in a medium pot with a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Process oats into a powder using a food processor or spice grinder.
3. Combine lentils and oat powder in a large bowl.
4. Add salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper.
5. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
6. Form patties (this recipe will make about 9-10 large patties) and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.
7. Refrigerate the patties until firm, at least 20 minutes.
8. Combine the mayonnaise with garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
9. Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the patties until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
10. Place patties on whole wheat hamburger buns. Serve with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocadoes, sprouts, arugula, or whatever your little heart desires.

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Since I’ve moved from Brooklyn (yes, it’s true), I am happy to have more space, a calmer atmosphere, and a FRONT PORCH! The summer is past us but today was beautiful, sunny, and 82 degrees. (Note: this was written a couple of weeks ago–oops!) Since I had the day off, I spent it jogging, grocery shopping, and guinea grilling on the front porch in my lawn chair with a nice cold Octoberfest beer (hey–it is October).

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Just a guide, no real recipe:

Dice grilled chicken breast and toss with thinly sliced romaine, diced tomatoes, corn, crushed whole-grain tortilla chips, black beans, sliced scallions, diced or sliced avocado, and light ranch dressing (alternately, it would be delicious with a lime vinaigrette).

If you’re planning on having leftovers, don’t mix the dressing or the tortillas in the salad. Instead, garnish each salad with both.

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This is more an idea than a recipe:

baguette, cubed
olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
green bell peppers
peaches
tomatoes
goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the baguette cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast until golden brown, flipping halfway, about 10-15 minutes. Slice the peppers and cut the peaches and tomatoes into wedges. Toss with the toasted baguette cubes. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Top with goat cheese. Eat. Now. Before the peaches and tomatoes disappear for the winter.

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A while back I posted my favorite guacamole recipe, which calls for little more than the avocados themselves. This is typically my go-to approach for this simple starter, but here I deviated a bit. The avocados I bought were, for some reason, on the bland side, so I added a few more ingredients to the mix.

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2 Hass avocados, medium dice
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tomato, small dice (I only had cherry tomatoes so feel free to use whatever  you have on hand)
1/4 small red onion, minced (or 1 shallot, minced)
kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the avocados into a medium bowl and, using 2 knives, cut the pieces so that the avocados break down. Be sure to leave some chunks (unless you prefer it smooth).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and stir.
3. Adjust seasoning as needed.

The night before a big day of travel, my S.S. and I gorged on a big beautiful margarita pizza. We ordered a salad to make up for it, with little intention of enjoying it.

While the pizza was tremendous, the salad stole the show. Big hunks of plum tomatoes were tossed with avocado and hearts of palm. The dressing was simple (lemon, olive oil, and maybe oregano?).

Fast-forward to life after vacation: I am still thinking about that salad. I need that salad. Here we go:

4 vine-ripe tomatoes, large dice
2 avocados, sliced or medium dice
artichoke hearts, halved or quartered (of course, my local grocery store doesn’t stock hearts of palm; this was a good substitute)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: not great the next day (avocado browning isn’t as big of a problem as the avocado breaking down and muddling the flavors). Eat same day.

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Thank you, Il Porto, for making our night–and for the inspiration!