Bowling Green’s Jane Schimpf spent the vast majority of her career working with and around food.
|Jane Schimpf serves up her healthy Quinoa Lentil Salad (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
That’s often a recipe for serious weight gain, as it was in her case.
She retired from Bowling Green State University in 2007 after 37 years, the first 26 spent in food operations management. She had been director for 14 years. Prior to that she was an instructor in the culinary arts program at Penta Career Center.
That all adds up to a lot of recipes that need to be taste-tested, a lot of menus that need to be tweaked, a lot of tasty banquets that need to be served.
“Last December a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic told me that I would have to lose at least 20 pounds before she would do a surgery” that Schimpf had to undergo as soon as possible.
With motivation like that, weight gain suddenly seemed not just desirable, but possible.
“I lost 27 pounds before the surgery” to repair a large hernia, remove infected mesh, and reconstruct the abdominal wall.
Since the surgery, Schimpf has kept right on watching what she eats and putting in hours of exercise in her backyard pool. As a result she has taken off an additional 30 pounds, and counting.
“So I am not eating items like Caramel Bars very often these days,” she said, alluding to a frankly dangerous dessert bar she served at a recent brunch for an organization to which she belongs.
When it was suggested that she offer the Cinnamon Caramel Nut Bars recipe in a future Cook’s Corner column, Schimpf agreed.
But she had a suggestion of her own to make.
“I’m also going to share a more healthful recipe that you may want to share with your readers.
“One recipe that I make and that was a big hit at a recent weekend at the lake was a Quinoa Lentil Salad.
“Quinoa is a complete protein grain so this salad makes a great lunch or can be served as a side dish.”
Considering that temperatures this week are headed into the high 80s, with plenty of sticky humidity, any kind of salad sounds interesting. So readers, you’ll have to wait a little longer for the caramel bars.
Schimpf says she used to make this salad with rice and lentils.
“It was years ago. The recipe was on the bag of lentils,” she said, explaining where she first acquired it. “But of course I’ve tweaked it since then.”
There are no recipes of any kind on the lentil package now, she added.
Schimpf came up with the idea for the switch from rice to quinoa on a whim.
“Well, we liked this too,” she said, “so it’s probably a little better for us.”
Not long ago, Schimpf learned there is a now a red quinoa on the market, although it has not yet made its way to local stores.
A friend from BGSU, fellow employee Julie Carle, found it for her. “She picked it up at a Whole Foods in Columbus a couple weeks ago.”
As far as Schimpf can tell, the flavors of red- and regular quinoa seem interchangeable. So feel free to switch them out in the lentil salad if you can find the new product.
While she’s more of a flower gardener than a vegetable gardener, she does like to grow her own tomatoes. They are among the fresh veggies called for in the salad, as are red onions, red or yellow peppers. Broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, corn and peas also work well.
“I’m canning tomatoes and peaches right now. My family loves home-canned peaches,” added Schimpf. Among her peaches fans are her two grandchildren, Madelyn, 14, and Luke, 12, the children of her son Matt and his wife Traci.
“It’s interesting how canning has come back into popularity” after a few decades out of vogue.
Quinoa Lentil Salad
1 cup quinoa + 2 cups salted water
1 cup lentils + 4 cups salted water
3/4 cup diced red onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red or yellow peppers
3/4 cup chopped and seeded tomato
3/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives
3 Tbsp. slivered almonds
1/2 - 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing*
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until tender, but chewy and white spiral-like threads appear around each grain, about 12 minutes. Put in mixing bowl to cool.
Bring lentils and water to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until just tender, but still firm, about 12-15 minutes. Drain and add lentils to quinoa.
Add onion, celery, peppers, tomato, olives, almonds, salad dressing and lemon juice (parsley if using). Toss to combine. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Salad will keep for a few days.
* I have used both Kraft fat-free Zesty Italian dressing and Garlic Expressions dressing for the salad, so use your favorite Italian dressing.
Note: Any fresh vegetables may be used such as: cucumbers, mushrooms, lightly steamed broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, pea pods, corn or peas.