I’m back from a whirlwind of a trip to New York City to attend the annual conference for the International Association of Culinary Professionals. This year’s theme was The Fashion of Food and upon leaving, I feel like I have a fabulous new wardrobe, replete with dazzling accessories.
So many amazing writers, chefs, bloggers, and a gamut of other food industry professionals, too, from specialty food producers and purveyors, literary agents, food photographers, food editors, food PR pros and so much more.
It might have been overwhelming had I not roomed with one of the most incredible people ever, my friend and fellow blogger, Julie Hession. We marveled at the fabulous presenters (many, but in particular, Sara Moulton and Kim Severson!!!!), giggled about the (few) snarky ones (who will remain anonymous), shared notes from our sessions, ate heaps of yummy food, worked it off by tromping the streets, meeting great new friends, and having what amounted to the best professional experience I’ve had in my life.
Now I’m pooped, but, oh my, the to-do list before me is lengthy, my parents are flying in from California on Thursday, my husband and son are in need of major snuggle time (me too!), I’m behind on my editing, and there is a giant pile of laundry
calling screaming my name.
Which is why I decided to make lunch instead.
In contrast to the rain and chill of New York, Nacogdoches is hot and muggy. No more soups and warm sandwiches (my on-the-run lunch for the past few days); I needed a cool, but filling salad. When I looked at what was on hand, I knew the perfect recipe, one straight from the pages of my new book: a lemony lentil and quinoa salad.
This is an ideal dish for the transition period from winter to spring (or, here in Texas, the leap from mild winter to intense summer). It’s all the fashion 🙂
The combination of quinoa and lentils, seasoned with salt and pepper, is incredibly
delicious in its naked form–a great side dish or filling for burritos and quesadillas.
Three ingredients I try to have on hand for all sorts of dishes: flat leaf (Italian) parsley, green onions, and fresh lemons. So many quick meals can spawn from these three fresh ingredients!
Among the many wonderful things about quinoa is that it cooks quickly and is substantial without being heavy, making it the perfect transition dinner from summer to fall.
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 cup acked fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, chopped
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine quinoa and the remaining water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together tarragon, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and mustard.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled lentils, cooled quinoa and green onions. Add dressing and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, add parsley and gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.