Cabbage soup can be glorious

This March 12, 2018 photo shows a cabbage soup made with ginger and garlic broth in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

The mere mention of cabbage soup in my household makes my husband a little stressed, and with good reason.

Not a fan of broccoli? You will be adding cheese and garlic

This March 2, 2018 photo shows broccoli with a dusting of parmesan cheese and roasted garlic in Amagansett, N.Y. This recipe for this dish by Elizabeth Karmel is named "My Sister's Broccoli," adapted from a pasta recipe. (Elizabeth Karmel via AP)

My sister, Mary Pat, is a great cook and an even better baker. Sweets are her thing but as the mother of three active boys, dinner always comes first—chronologically speaking!

Citrus-Marinated Salmon

This December 2017 photo shows tangy citrus salmon in New York. The bright flavors of lemon and orange are a nice complement to salmon’s richness, and they appear in both the marinade and the citrusy sauce that accompanies the fish in this recipe. (Lucy Beni via AP)

Salmon is my No. 1 favorite fish in the ocean, and I am not alone. The rich and sometimes slightly sweet flavor, the velvety texture, the appealing color, and the fact that it takes so well to all kinds of preparations and seasonings make it a go-to fish for many of us.

Caesar salad with Brussels sprouts and sardines

This Monday, March 5, 2018, photo shows brussels sprouts Caesar salad with sardine croutons in Bethesda, Md. A fresh and healthy spin on a Caesar salad using Brussels sprouts instead of romaine, a little mayo instead of raw egg, sardines as croutons and no anchovy paste. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

For all the grief the Caesar salad gets in the culinary world, I proudly admit to adoring the classic flavor combination — garlicky-lemon dressing mixed with anchovy-umami undertone that can only come from salty fish, topped off with nutty, pungent parmesan. If I could eat only one salad for the rest of my life, it would be some form of Caesar. Today’s recipe for Brussels Sprouts Caesar with Sardine Croutons is a pivot on the standard version. The dressing is my quick weeknight version, using a tiny bit of mayo for creaminess instead of raw egg. Instead of romaine, I use shaved raw Brussels sprouts, which significantly boost the protein over other lettuces and greens. And, the bright lemony dressing completely covers any lingering cruciferous notes from the raw Brussels that may bother some palates.

Start seeds early outside on the south side

isolated gardening kit with new seedlings ready for the garden

One of my favorite early outdoor garden activities is to plant seeds of cold tolerant vegetables on the south side of a fence. The reflected heat from the fence causes the soil to warm by early March. I have also used the south side of the house in another location. I increase the warmth by covering the soil with clear plastic. The radiant heat of the sun through the plastic can raise the temperature by 10 to 20 degrees. I have added a lot of organic matter such as compost and bark dust to this area so it is darker in color, loose and friable for planting seeds.

Shredded Sweet Potatoes for a tasty side dish

This February 2018 photo provided by Sara Moulton shows Shredded Sweet Potatoes in New York. (Sara Moulton via AP)

With spring just down the road, you’ve likely already figured out the main dish for the feast accompanying whichever of the two big seasonal holidays — Easter or Passover — you celebrate. Leg of lamb and glazed ham are Easter favorites. Braised brisket or roast chicken land on many Passover tables. But no matter which way you roll, Shredded Sweet Potatoes with Dates and Pistachios is a tasty side dish that’s a great way to round out the menu.

Shepherd’s Pie

This December 2017 photo shows a shepherd’s pie in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (Carrie Crowder/Katie Workman via AP)

The dead of winter is much more tolerable when you a make a mood-lifting dinner like this one.

American twist on the very French rabbit in cider

This Jan. 22, 2018 photo shows chicken with pears and cider in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

The French know a thing or two about the perfect braise, so I wasn’t surprised when I tasted the rabbit in cider, Calvados (apply brandy) and cream that my host family served me during my semester abroad in Nantes. If you ever find yourself in France, I highly suggest seeking out this classic dish that finds itself perhaps under radar of many Americans.

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