Beluga Lentil and Quinoa Salad With Meyer Lemon and Cornichon Dressing

Finally cooking! These past few weeks has been a whirlwind. I have been caught up in a vortex that has whisked me along and spun me around much like Dorothy and the Wizard. I can happily say that I have finally touched down and yes- it is dancy and pretty and sunshiny.  In the midst of all the scheduled mayhem I was able to attend the Cookbook Conference at the last minute. What a wonderful and fantastic time it was!

I was able to meet and connect with all sorts of incredible food people- some after my own heart and others that I would have never met otherwise. Seriously, I would never have met people like Carolina Capehart, who I am told is one of the best food historians out there. She regularly cooks foods from the 1850’s over open fires- IN BROOKLYN! Then there was Carole Murka from Heirloom Meals who interviews and records regular people about their heritage and family recipes. I made some new friends that I am sure I will carry with me long and joyfully- but I also got such a tremendous insight as to how so many of us toil separately and similarly. Maggie Battista from EatBoutique!, Winnie Abromson from Healthy Green Kitchen, Cathy Barrow-the famous Mrs Wheelbarrow, Gail Dosik from One Tough Cookie– all of these amazing women and others my kindred spirits!

And now I am finally settling down. The conference put a fire in my heart that I cannot begin to explain- and it’s all so deliciously yummy and wonderful.

So now I am finally back at my own stove. The new stove that I am making a slow and cordial relationship with thus far. I am learning it’s temperaments and enjoying the creation of a new workspace for myself. Thus far it feels wonderful and works very well.

I will be bringing lunch to a friend tomorrow and the direction I got was “try to keep it healthy” and “no capers”. Not a bad suggestion and so my mind went quickly to this recipe I developed awhile ago. It is earthy, nutritious and satisfying without being too heavy for a midday meal, and an easy flavor profile that she should enjoy.

I am not a tremendous lentil fan- they can be wonderful and they have their place, but I typically don’t swoon. The Beluga Lentils however, not only look gorgeous, but they keep their shape and bite. No mush here. The quinoa and lentils are high in fiber and rich in protein, making this a power food dish.  A generous toss of minced cornichons give this salad a sprite snap while the mellow Meyer lemon softens it all out.

I am serving ours over shredded red cabbage, but this is also wonderful over lettuces such as Bibb.

Now to go think of a good dessert….

Lentil Quinoa Salad w Meyer Lemon Dressing
serves 4 nicely
.5 c beluga lentils- rinsed
.5 c tricolor quinoa
1 clove of garlic-half left whole the other half finely minced
4T minced cornichons
zest and juice from one meyer lemon
3T minced red onion
2T minced fresh tarragon
olive oil to balance out lemon juice ~.25c (taste!)
In one small saucepan combine lentils and 1c water. Add half of garlic and pinch of salt and simmer until tender ~20mins
In separate small saucepan combine quinoa and 1c water and a pinch of salt and simmer until tender ~15mins
While the lentils and quinoa are cooking prepare the dressing.
In a large bowl add the minced garlic, zest and juice of lemon, onion, cornichons and tarragon. Whisk in olive oil a bit at a time. Taste as you go. Meyer lemons are less tart and require less oil to balance.
When the quinoa and lentils are cooked, and still warm, toss into the dressing.
Continue to occasionally toss the salad until cool to get all the dressing pooled at the bottom soaked in.
When cool check for balance and season with S&P