"Olive Jar" by Naomi Shihab Nye + Eggplant with Lentils and Pine Nuts

As a food blogger, publishing a post is like extending a hand or inviting someone to the table. After months of reading someone's blog, you feel as if you're getting to know a friend, someone you'd like to sit and have tea with, if only you lived in the same city. We often watch each other from afar, sharing in the joys and frustrations of cooking, writing, and finding our place in the food community. Although we've never met, Elizabeth Winslow from Farmhouse Table has helped me overcome my aversion to eggplant, so I'm grateful I stumbled across her recipe when I did. Elizabeth, if you're reading this, thank you!

"A Pot of Red Lentils" by Peter Pereira + Sara's Smoky Lentil Soup

My friend Sara wrote a cookbook. It's beautiful, thoughtful, and full of the kind of recipes you've come to rely on from her blog, Sprouted Kitchen. I read it cover to cover the day it arrived, and have since gone back to revisit all the pages I added post-it notes to. You might want to bookmark this recipe for the first cold snap, because it will be here sooner than we realize.

Andrew and I went to the Hollywood Bowl last weekend (it never really feels like summer until I've done that). We enjoyed a picnic in the grass (grilled pepper, onion and goat cheese sandwiches + white bean and zucchini salad + macaroons from Bouchon + a crisp Sauvignon blanc), then found our seats and cozied up to the smoky voice of Diana Krall.

I made Sara's smoky red lentil soup the next day, and Andrew went on a hilarious diatribe about how he doesn't really like soup. But wait. It gets better. (And just for the record, he approved everything I'm about to say, and even suggested that I tell Sara about how this conversation went down.)