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Musical pairing – Downtime by Vonda Shepard
Until about three months ago, I’d never heard of black rice, or ‘forbidden’ rice. But during one of our stays on Vashon, Chef Danny made a pot of black rice and served it with a simple pork loin roast and some roasted vegetables; not only was the rice a hit but it looked beautiful on the plate too. I finally found a source in my area, tossed it in my rice cooker and 30 minutes later, voila – perfectly cooked black rice.
In ancient China black rice was considered the finest grain and therefore, only served to the Emperor – hence the name ‘forbidden’ as it was off-limits to the public.
I’ve been playing around with different ways I can use this heirloom grain and created my spin on the usually heavy-on-the-mayonnaise Waldorf salad – of which I rarely ate because I am not a fan of mayonnaise. The rice has great nutritional value and I’ve lightened it up a bit by losing the mayo and adding a tangy honey-mustard vinaigrette. I’ve also kept the familiar chunks of apple, celery and walnuts, tossed in a handful of dried cherries, along with the black rice and finally added a bit of Smoked Turkey. I have to say, this one is a keeper.
Obviously, you can omit the turkey and keep this vegetarian – either way, the salad is also gluten-free ~
And one more note – these make great little wraps tucked inside Bibb lettuce!
FORBIDDEN WALDORF-SALAD WITH SMOKED TURKEY
Serves 4-6 as a Main
NOTE: I’m giving approximate measurements as you can make this as large or small as you wish. Have a little more than 2 cups of rice? Add it. Use a different type apple or add a different dried fruit – this salad is so versatile you really can adjust with what you have on hand or what your family likes. Make the full amount of dressing and add in small bits according to your own taste.
- 2 cups black rice, cooked according to manufacturer’s directions
- 1 cup chopped apple (I like a tart apple with this)
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup rough chopped walnuts, toasted and cooled
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 1-1/2 cups smoked turkey breast, bite-sized cubes (chicken works perfectly fine too)
- Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette, recipe follows
- Cook rice according to directions on package or follow manufacturer’s directions if using a rice cooker; cool to room temperature
- In a large bowl, add cooled rice, apple, celery, pecans, dried cherries and smoked turkey
- Dress with vinaigrette and serve
FOR THE HONEY-MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Place all ingredients into a jar, make sure the lid is on tight and shake until emulsified – about 1-2 minutes; taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Unused vinaigrette can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 weeks.