Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black Rice was once “only” enjoyed by the Emperor and his royal court. It was forbidden for the commoners to eat this exquisite black rice. The tender, nutty flavoured rice is presumed to enrich one’s life and promote longevity.rice3 After I brought my chilled rice salad to the office,  I noticed that all the staff made it the following week!  It travels well and is a great picnic salad.  A refreshing change from your typical summer salads.
I researched and tried out several versions but this recipe from the Bon Appétit June 2012 needs no improvement. black rice salad photo provided by Jason Lowe, Bon Appétit

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BLACK RICE SALAD – WITH MANGO AND NUTS
INGREDIENTS
2 oranges
1/4 cup or more fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cups black rice
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″dice
1 cup finely fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or unsalted cashews or other nuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, minced
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INSTRUCTIONS
1 ) Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
2 ) Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bow to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
3 ) Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
4 ) Set dressing aside.
5 ) Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
6 ) Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing and season lightly with salt; let cool.
7 ) Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8 ) Season lightly with salt and more lime juice if desired.
Serves: 6–8

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants; only black rice contains special variety of antioxidants known as anthocyanin antioxidants. (Thus the dark purple colour -like blueberries)  Additionally, black rice also contains an important antioxidant – Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions. Forbidden Black Rice contains 18 amino acids (same as Aloe Vera), iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and fiber. Mangos are #1 ~ the most popular fruit in the world.

black-rice

Emperor’s Dining Room

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderful black rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives. Black rice does provide many health benefits that the western world is now embracing with gusto.  It helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes with high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients and protects heart health (plaque formation). Herbalists use black rice as a prevention and treatment for ailments and as a blood tonifier. 

Black Rice was also considered to be somewhat of an aphrodisiac at one time.  I suspect the Emperors down throughout the ages shared their black rice stock with their consorts or concubines.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Rice.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Black Rice. photo provided by Spikenard and Myrrh

Black Rice is surely ‘one of the’… if not ‘the most’ special variety of rice that is cultivated today. Its special, near medicinal values is truly stunning, even today with all of our medical knowledge and tools. Every time you sit down to enjoy a few servings of this awesome super food, you can remind yourself that you are eating something that was once reserved for royalty. If a commoner was caught eating this rice it was “off with their heads”.

VARIATIONS
If you are trying to find something else to do with your avocados, my friend Monique from Ambitious Kitchen added avocado to her black rice salad. It is a nice touch and goes well. Instead of unsalted peanuts (Bon Appétit version), I used cashews while Monique added almonds to her salad. If you have the time and patience, roasted pecans would be wonderful too.
avocado-mango-blackrice-salad

Another gluten-free recipe that is filled with flavour , colour and the YUM-Factor!

kids32BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH!
A light touch: For milder flavour, use leeks instead of red onion and yellow or red bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers. Forget the nuts (allergies)  if you like.  Substitute other herbs for the cilantro. e.g. parsley, basil, fresh mint, fresh-soft rosemary (my favorite) or even peppery rocket lettuce. Know what your kids like to eat. I would even test out fresh oregano in this ‘forbidden’ black rice salad.  COLLEGE KIDS: Add a smidgen of fresh pressed garlic ~ to boost the immune system.  If it is not fresh I would not use the herbs. The dried herbs taste different. They have flavour, but are better suited in baking and cooking.

Y-U-M-M      Y-U-M-M-M!

A Refreshing Watermelon Salad

FLAVOR-TOWN-MED-SMALLHow about a refreshing and flavourful salad? This unusual combination is a real winner!
A ‘ONE HIT WONDER’ at my last dinner for 16 people. The colourful, delicious salad is an enjoyable departure from your regular dinner servings. Make this salad for your family and friends and watch the smiles appear.

With these refreshing, succulent flavours you have just entered ‘FLAVOUR TOWN’.

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INGREDIENTS
1 red onion
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 kilograms watermelon
1 bunch fresh mint, basil or cilantro (chopped)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100 grams pitted sun dried or Kalamata olives
250 grams feta cheese
watermelon-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Cut the red onion into fine slices. Place the onions in the lime juice. This will soften the sharp flavour of the onions. The lime juice will turn a light pink colour.
2. While that is marinating, cut the watermelon into cubes or balls using a melon baller. This looks so appetizing.
3. Cut the feta into bite sized pieces.
4. Assemble the watermelon, herbs, and olives in a salad bowl.
5. Add the olive oil and black pepper to the onions and lime juice. Stir this to combine.
6. Add to the watermelon mix and gently toss.
7. Scatter the feta over the salad. Add these at the end to maintain the white colour.

Serves 8
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didyouknow2DID YOU KNOW? Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.
Watermelon is also a good source of pantothenic acid, copper, biotin, potassium and magnesium.
Cancer: As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, watermelon can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies.
VARIATIONS: Garnish with balls of honeydew melon for an even brighter colour!  Peppery  arugula greens contrast well with the sweet watermelon. A good addition to this salad.

Light Lunch: Grilled Marinated chicken with assorted veggies /Watermelon Salad

Light Lunch: Grilled Marinated chicken with assorted veggies /Watermelon Salad

Sweet Potato Salad – Simple Version

This is a wonderful and healthy side dish to accompany those grilled ribs, chicken, pork and even salmon. This is an alternative to those usual potato and pasta salads. It’s a great take along for those summer barbecues! It’s a crowd pleaser!
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IMG_0870INGREDIENTS
2 large or up to 4 small (2 1/2 pounds) sweet potatoes
4 teaspoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup capers or chopped pickles(optional)

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Cut the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces and toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast about 30 minutes turning occasionally.
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Alternatively the potatoes can be steamed for 10 minutes and let them air dry to remove access liquid. It is easy for them to soften too much so do not overcook.
3) While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing. Place in a blender or whisk in a bowl, the mustard, vinegar and salt. Slowly add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a slow stream.
4) If you have been oven roasting the potatoes remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let rest and cool slightly about 10 minutes.
5) Toss the still warm potatoes with the dressing.
They absorb the dressing better when slightly warm.
6) Add scallions and toss gently.

Your finished salad

Your finished salad

VARIATIONS: You can also add to this 1/2 bottle of capers, 2 sliced celery sticks or fennel, a couple of boiled eggs chopped, etc…. Look in your fridge. It’s fresh. Use it up!
Serves 4-6 persons
This is actually better the next day.

Sweet Potato Salad – Spicy Version

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INGREDIENTS
sweet-potato-ingredients21 large to 2 small (about 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes)
1 medium size red pepper
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium apple (any sweet organic is good)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped or 1/4 cup dried mint
1 or 2 minced jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins(optional)

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 400F and roast as per previous recipe or alternatively steam the potatoes.
2) While the potatoes are cooking, put in blender the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegar, red bell pepper, cumin and the orange zest if you are using. Sprinkle with the salt.
3) Add the apple, scallion, mint, jalapeno and raisins
to the warm potatoes and gently toss.
4) Add most of the dressing and toss. Add more dressing if you need it. Taste for seasoning.
5) Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for the next day.
sweet-potato-salad-spicy223

Mighty Mango Slaw

Do you want to lift your taste buds above old-hat combos? How about a creamy dressing you can have today and tomorrow? When you make this salad, you will make it again and again. People do request it!  It’s that good! This colourful and chunky salad is spiked with jalapeño and fresh lime juice and zest that has your taste buds dancing. Great summer salads to celebrate RAW FOOD.

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RECIPE
Ingredients

1 lime
¾ cup (175 mL) regular or home made mayonnaise
1 tsp (5 mL) celery salt
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
2 ripe but firm mangos
2 apples such as Granny Smith or Royal Gala
1 large red bell pepper, seeded (optional)
1 small napa cabbage
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped cilantroIMG_0564

Directions
1 Finely grate lime peel into a large salad bowl. Add the juice from the lime, about 3 tbsp (45 ml). Stir in the mayonnaise and celery salt.

2 Peel and julienne mango into long thin strips.  Julienne red pepper as well. Finely chop jalapeno (no seeds). Slice peeled apples into julienne strips.  Stir all of these into the dressing.

3 Shred the head of cabbage by slicing as finely as possible crosswise. You should have about 8 cups (2 L). Stir into the salad.  Add about half of the chopped cilantro ( or parsley).  Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.  Scatter with remaining cilantro before serving.

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NEXT DAY Salad: Slice up the RAW vegetables except the apple and mango. Keep the dressing separate from the other ingredients. An hour before servings, combine all of the ingredients except half of the cilantro. Add the coriander (cilantro) just before serving.
Serves 6
Variation: Substitute parsley for the cilantro.  If you add only one mango — it still tastes great.  You may substitute peaches or nectarines for the mango.   You can add another diced jalapeño pepper if you like the heat. Taste your salad first before you add the pepper.

The  mango and apples balances the heat from the jalapeño pepper. The apples really give this salad a fresh crisp taste.