Will you settle for this quickly snapped iPhone shot from this morning, taken while I was wearing a single sock and brushing my teeth?  I promise the dish is worth it.

Quinoa + lentils + walnuts

  • .5 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can lentils (but surely some of those tiny red uncooked lentils would cook in just delightfully if added during step 2… just make sure you add more water as well)
  • .5 cup chopped walnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion and carrot for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa and stir for a couple of minutes, mostly because it’s just so lovely watching it get all toastedy.
  3. Add water; cover; cook on low for 10-12 minutes.
  4. When the quinoa is done, stir in the lentils and walnuts.

In other news: SPRING!  I know, I know–I have now jinxed it and the universe is already laughing at me as it plots a wicked blizzard in order to teach me a lesson. But oh!  I had a moment of pure bliss earlier today when, after stepping out of a store and instantly going into my defensive shoulders-to-ears posture, I realized that the air actually felt… nice.  And it smelled, as my friend put it, “almost happy.”

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If you’ve visited our home recently, there’s a good likelihood that I attempted to sprinkle smoked hot paprika into or onto you.  I’m good at restraining myself from putting it in coffee, tea, or desserts; everything else, however, is fair game.

And just how did this obsession come about, you’re wondering?  It all began on a leaden  December morning off the coast of Georgia, when my husband and a couple of men-in-law were tasked with the job of catching our Christmas dinner.  I contributed by making occasional calls to Mr. Onepot’s miserable boat-bound self from the caffeinated warmth of my mother-in-law’s house, only to be greeted with semi-intelligible, wind-whipped grumbles that mostly amounted to, “NO-kgrhsh-grm-fngh–LATER!”

…And the catch, at the end of all that?  Zilch.  So, naturally,  Mr. Onepot and my men-in-law went straight from the boat to a seafood store.  Turns out, though: even the most reputable fish market on a small Georgia island tends to get a bit quiet right before Christmas, and its desperate customers can select from just two grayish piles of undefined seafood-like matter.  Who knew.

Enter smoked hot paprika!  Let me just say that our mystery fish was transformed from colorless, quivering heaps  to perky and confident fillets with some courageous dashes of this magic powder and a couple of sliced lemons.  And thus began my obsession.

Fast forward 1o months, to an October Monday that taunted me with its entirely premature dusk and mediocre television offerings.  It seemed like paprika would help.  And while I was getting it out, I also came across its good friend, the Spice House curry powder:

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Next, a quick cabinet-and-fridge search yielded the following playground for those lovelies:

  • 2 cups of red lentils (so small! so adorable!)
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger
  • ~5 cups of water
  • 1 bunch of scallions

If you’re playing along at home, here’s what to do:

  1. Saute the onion+garlic+ginger for ~5 minutes, adding a generous dash of curry powder and paprika approximately 2 minutes into the process.
  2. Add the lentils and 4 cups of water.  Cover and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for ~20 min.
  3. Toss in another cup of water, along with the chopped cauliflower.
  4. Cook on low until the cauliflower is as soft as you want it to be.
  5. Serve over rice or quinoa, with chopped scallions.

Lovely.