French Lentils and Kielbasa can be made ahead and then quickly reheated or served cold for a light and lovely supper. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

You need this main dish recipe and accompanying salad in your life for all those days you want to be at the beach, in the garden or want to come home from work and do nothing but sip a cool drink and rest in a hammock. Planning just a bit can leave room in your schedule to make that all happen and more.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

All you need are a couple of varieties of refrigerated vinaigrette, crisp greens all chopped and ready, some lentils cooked ahead in a fragrant broth with sausages added later, and a stellar yet simple dessert that can double as a coffee cake for the following morning. (You may want to make two!) Less really is more when it comes to what’s on the menu for summer suppers.

The peaches are now on sale at area grocery stores, and soon I will be eating those golden globes of glory from my daughters’ peach trees. This cake is reminiscent of my Austrian grandmother’s breakfast kuchen. Go ahead and stir in as many peach bits as the batter will hold, and be ready for some old-fashioned goodness.

French Lentils and Kielbasa

2 cups French (du Puy) lentils
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small onion, cut in half
1 large carrot, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 (13-ounce) package kielbasa
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Sliced scallions, for garnish

Combine lentils, herbs, garlic, vegetables and enough water to cover the contents by 3 inches in a 4-quart pot with a lid.

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Check a few times to see if more water needs to be added and be mindful not to overcook, or the lentils will be mushy. Drain off liquid and discard vegetables. Place lentils in a large bowl and stir in vinaigrette.


Slice kielbasa into 1/2-inch rounds and place in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Sauté until the edges brown then remove from heat and add to lentils with parsley and scallions. Yield: 4 servings


4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup walnut or olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a glass measuring cup or small bowl except the oil. Once combined, drizzle in oil, whisking constantly.

Spinach, Radicchio and Watercress Salad

2 cups romaine lettuce
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup radicchio
1 cup watercress
1 cup cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Wash and chop all the greens then place in a large salad bowl with the other vegetables. Toss with vinaigrette and add walnuts and cheese. Yield: 4 servings


Salad Vinaigrette 

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Peach Cake

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup flour
3 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into small chunks
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar, divided
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
Cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan. In a medium bowl, toss peaches with nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar. In a large bowl, mix butter and remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add egg, buttermilk, vanilla and almond extract. Mix to combine.

In another medium bowl, combine flour, almond flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until smooth (some lumps may remain). Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top of cake.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for 45-55 minutes more, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert on to a plate. Serve warm with a dribble of cream. Yield: 8 servings

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