I can't believe that summer is winding down already! It's almost time to bring out the warmer clothes and spend hundreds of dollars on required textbooks that I'll probably open once or twice. I can still cling to the warm weather for a few more weeks and experiment with the last of the season's cold dishes that I'll have in my repertoire for next summer.
There are two stores that I generally head out to without a plan in mind for food. One is Trader Joe's, which would be a little more addictive if it wasn't so out of the way, and the other is a little independently owned market about 5 miles away from my apartment. They always have produce from local markets and interesting products that actually make it fun to go inside and see what you can come up with. At the little market, I found some really beautiful dark, almost purplish tomatoes and decided to make a salad.
I didn't come up with anything revolutionary, just a simple lentil salad. It was fresh, uncomplicated, and light, and I think that's all anybody can ever ask for during the last dwindling weeks of summer.
Lentil Salad with Dill
about 2 1/2 cups of cooked and cooled lentils or a package of prepared steamed lentils
1 bell pepper, any color - diced
1/2 an english cucumber, peel on - diced
2 small tomatoes
1 large stalk of celery - diced
2 scallion stalks - sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
fresh chopped or dried dill, to taste
salt and pepper
Add the cold lentils to a large bowl. Add the pepper, cucumber, celery, almonds and scallions. Add some of the dill, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Juice one lemon and add it to the salad, stirring very gently to combine. Taste the salad. If it isn't lemony enough, begin adding the juice from the second lemon. Add more dill if necessary.
Chill in the fridge for several hours to allow the flavors to develop, or serve immediately. Before serving, dice the tomatoes and scrape out the seeds. This will keep your salad from getting to gooey. Stir in the diced tomatoes and serve.