A wonderful way to entertain in a casual, no pressure environment is to throw a weekend lunch. Most of our friends have young children, and appreciate the mid-day outing. It is also one of those meals that tend to get tossed to the wayside on the weekends, so it is nice to give friends a treat. I do think it is best to keep it simple, and a great way to do that is with a salad and soup. For this early spring lunch, I used more substantial recipes. While Seattle’s spring is just starting to emerge, the days can be wet and grey and I find that I am still craving the comfort foods of winter. This French themed salad, and Lentil soup hits the spot.

The soup can be prepared up to a few days ahead of time, and the salad thrown together at the last minute, leaving you time to hang out with your guest’s. The indulgent chocolate pot de crème seems a little more complicated, but you will be surprised at the ease of this recipe. Also, this can be prepared the day before, and refrigerated until you are ready to serve.

The table setting is similarly simple. Big cloth napkins help with messy fingers, and a vase filled with cut parrot tulips make for a cheerful and sweet table.

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