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We’re here again… smack dab in that time of year – when it’s too hot to think and we always regret sitting on a leather surface whilst wearing shorts. When nobody wants to eat hot food or stand over the stove forever, it’s the time for quick, cool dishes. In enters this french-style lentil summer salad – it’s filling without being rich, cooling and relatively simple to put together.

Summer Salad with Lentils, Asparagus and Macerated Strawberries

Summer Salad with Lentils, Asparagus and Macerated Strawberries

Inspired by a cool salad I had in San Francisco last month, this dish marries creamy lentils with crunchy asparagus and macerated strawberries. The maceration process and addition of balsamic vinegar does something magical to one of my favorite summer fruits – they become even sweeter, even juicer even more vivid. They add a vibrant punch of color and flavor to this vegan & vegetarian cooling summer salad.

Summer Salad with Lentils, Asparagus and Macerated Strawberries

Summer Salad with Lentils, Asparagus and Macerated Strawberries

It’s easy to prepare and as it is served cold, it’s perfect for those dog days of summer. And finally for a glimpse of real life … after the pretty blog photos are done, we finally sit down to eat! Serve this salad with something creamy like yogurt (pictured below is a Persian-style tzatziki with crackers) for a light and balanced meal.

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Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Spicy slow cooker black bean soup… say that five times fast! Ironically, this soup is so easy, it’s probably harder to say than it is to make. I’ve recently hopped onto the slow cooker bandwagon (yep, late as always! I got this Crock Pot). It’s really quite a glorious contraption – you can make a big ole’ mess of food without actually having to … cook! Since trying Budget Bytes‘s version, I’ve adapted and put my own touches over half a dozen batches, and it hasn’t disappointed yet.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup – garnish with a lime, yogurt or chips!

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I’m very excited today to bring you a guest post from one of my dearest friends, Andrew Yanev of the wine blog Talking Tannins. Buddies since the first day of 2nd grade, Andrew and I go way back, and over the years we’ve shared many culinary experiences from California to New York to France. He probably doesn’t know this, but I credit Andrew for some of my most formative food experiences, including my first ever meal at Gramercy Tavern in 2007 which I will never forget (roasted chicken and the most amazing cheese plate). Andrew is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about wine – in a way that is approachable and focuses simply on wine that tastes amazing – without any of  the other snobbery. Visit and subscribe Talking Tannins to find out more, and keep reading to find out how to make your own vinegar (!!!).

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An invitation to post on Ahu Eats is an honor. There are high standards to uphold, and since I write primarily about wine I needed a proven, wine-centric recipe to discuss. The answer is vinegar – a fundamental food, like salt. And like almost everything, it’s better homemade.

Homemade Vinegar from Andrew Yanev of Talking Tannins

Homemade Vinegar from Andrew Yanev of Talking Tannins

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Easy Entertaining: The Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Spring is officially here. That means longer days, warmer weather and more entertaining! But wait – does the thought of entertaining people give you a sinking feeling of stress in your stomach? No need! Here’s how you can assemble a hearty and impressive charcuterie and cheese platter with about 10 minutes of prep time – and no cooking!

Less prep time before your guests arrive mean more energy to enjoy the time when your guests are there! Below are the elements and my general guidelines when assembling a meat and cheese board – but feel free to improvise.

Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Charcuterie and Cheese Board

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