January. The new year. After the busyness of the holidays, everything suddenly becomes quiet and time, very briefly, seems to slow down for me. Many hours are spent contemplating what's ahead. Is this the spring that I will finally change out my brick-edged vegetable plots for raised beds with new soil? Will my hand-drawn Cochon on the kitchen blackboard be erased and replaced with a Bouledogue Francaise perhaps?
(notice any similarities?)
While preparing for our daughter's wedding last year, we put aside any thoughts of travel -- but this new year we've already booked a trip, traveling by train later this summer, to Glacier National Park where we will stay in historic lodges in the U.S. and Canada... A photography show in and of my hometown, Amana, Iowa, is a possibility... And France, unfortunately, has been put on hold until spring 2014 (it seems like an eternity); Paris and Provence with my sister and best friend, Renate. Sometimes the anticipation is almost more exciting than the actual event (well, almost), and talking about and planning our visit will certainly consume my time and thoughts over the upcoming months.
So, in the meantime, I continue to spend my days in the kitchen. I need to plan more luncheons and dinners with friends. That will give me an excuse to bake the desserts that are tempting me, something I've been trying to limit in this new year. Until then, I'll focus on healthy salads. When I stumbled upon "Forbidden" black rice at a local grocery, I snatched it up and made this delicious recipe from the Kitchn. I highly recommend it!
Serves 4 as a side portion
• 1 cup black rice
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
• 1 grapefruit, peeled and quartered and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 avocado, peeled and diced
• 2 green onions, chopped
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Rinse the rice. In a small, lidded saucepan bring to a boil 1 3/4 cups of cold water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the black rice, return to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the water has been absorbed (check the rice after 30 minutes). Once cooked, uncover and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
2. While the rice is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Place the rice in a serving bowl and add the vinaigrette and remaining ingredients. Gently stir to combine and adjust seasonings. Salad may be refrigerated for up to two days.
TAKE a LOOK: