Losing a parent, a mother, is a strange thing and not something that I’m all that used to yet. Sometimes my mom is still around – at least it seems that way for a moment, and then I’m jostled back to the present where my mom isn’t just a phone call away. Last night I washed the inside of my fridge and as I was wiping down all that white plastic, memories of doing the same chore in my parent’s house came flooding back. My mom would be on one side of the kitchen either prepping for dinner or washing dishes at the sink and I’d be hunkered down at the fridge with a bowl of hot water, a splash of white vinegar, and a cloth. We’d chit chat about our day or laugh about something we’d seen on tv or maybe I would be asking her about her own childhood summers at her family cabin at Lac-aux-Sables in the Quebec Laurentides. But it makes sense that cleaning would bring to the forefront memories of my mom – she kept a clean house and was very proud.
My mom also loved good food. While as a family, we rarely went out to eat at restaurants, my mom and I would often go for lunch on a Saturday afternoon or I’d meet up with her for a quick lunch during the week. My mom liked hippy vegetarian places with names like “From Soup to Nuts” and we’d eat a hearty soup chock full of beans or a spinach and strawberry salad from a picnic table out front. She loved trying out new recipes and was always clipping ideas from newspapers and magazines. Flipping through her cookbooks and recipe folder, I would inevitably find hand-scribbled notes like “Val doesn’t like this”, “Four Stars!” or “Delicieux!”.
I introduced her to quinoa and while I wasn’t an ardent fan, she loved it and would tell me via telephone about the salad she had just made with it. She also made a point in telling me that papa – Val – didn’t like it. When I discovered millet, I was instantly smitten. Along with millet, this salad is full of lentils, crisp vegetables and beets…roasted and sweetened, staining everything in their path. I’m certain my mom would love this salad and if she was alive and well, I’d email her the recipe. Instead, I’ll post it here as it’s wonderful, hearty and makes a great dinner on a hot night or would be ideal to take to a picnic or bbq. C’est delicieux!
millet, lentil & beet salad
1 c millet
1 c lentils du puy
4 roasted beets, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
1 t honey or agave syrup
1 T water
salt & pepper
1. Prepare millet per package instructions, though I like to cook them in vegetable broth rather than water, just saying. When all the liquid is gone, set aside. Meanwhile, cook lentils over med-high heat in 2 cups of water, covered. Set aside.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine the warm lentils and millet with the red onion and red pepper.
3. Combine everything from the garlic to the salt & pepper in a small lidded jar, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Pour dressing over salt and toss well. Eat salad warm or cold.