I’ve got Halloween on the mind.
Can’t help it when surrounded by Canadians planning their Halloween costumes, when my favorite blogs bombard me with Halloween themed party food like this and this, when even the local liquor store has eery creatures hanging out the windows.
It’s kinda fun. I’ve never celebrated Halloween, mostly because it’s nowhere near as big a deal in New Zealand, but also because my family were always a little dubious about such a celebration and instead we got involved in the community’s Light Party.
I do, however, keep the date of October the 31st close to my heart. It marks the day Jesse first asked me to Alphabet date him. And so we dated our way from A to Z over that year.. and the following Halloween, he asked me to marry him. Three Halloweens later and we are now (ecstatically married!) in a country that truly celebrates this holiday. And hey, I’m not turning down an opportunity to bake witches fingers cookies, stuffed jack-o-lantern peppers, green monster shots, and jelly worms!
Totally Orange Wild Rice Salad
Serves 3 – 4
Inspired by The Healthy Foodie
This is definitely one of those make-something-out-of-nothing meals. It is light and fresh, meanwhile being filling and nutricious. Use whatever you have on hand to create your style of salad. And grain will do, any fruit, vegetable, or nut. I didn’t plan this to be orange overload – I just happened to have a kumara on hand, some baby carrots in the fridge, no dates – only dried apricots, and a bunch of fresh manadarins from a friend. The wild rice carries a lot more flavor than white rice so little more is needed flavor-wise. I threw in some basil from my new basil plant (which I hope survives on the windowsill despite the lack of sunlight from now until next April…) which brought such freshness, and a good squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Some feta or nuts (I added both after photographing it) tossed through are the perfect addition for a completely satisfying meal.
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 large sweet potato (kumara), diced into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
handful fresh basil
the juice of 1 lemon
dash of balsamic vinegar
freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta
sprinkle slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 450˚F. Lightly grease a roasting tray and place in oven to warm.
Cook wild rice as per package instructions (about 20 minutes). Once cooked, drain and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, throw sweet potato and carrots onto roasting tray with a little salt and pepper and bake in hot oven until tender (about 15 minutes). Keep a close eye on them though as the potato can cook quicker depending on size of cubes.
Toss cooked rice and cooked vegetables together. Peel and seperate mandarin and mix into rice, along with dried apricots and roughly torn basil. Squeeze over some lemon and balsamic vinegar to taste, sprinkle over nuts, feta and grated nutmeg.