Back to school, the seasons slowly showing signs of change, markets starting to sell pumpkins, all hints that Autumn is around the corner. I love living in a climate with four seasons. I'd go nuts if every day looked the same. Too much sunshine for me is like constant forced smiles and happiness. It's irritating. Sometimes you just need a good, cloudy dark day. Nothing should ever be homogenous all the time. Being aware of the seasons, and what each one has to offer us as humans inhabiting the planet, keeps us on our toes. We are responding to the elements though we usually aren't cognizant. Mother Nature holds us up whether or not we thank her, much like the symbolism in the classic children's book "The Giving Tree". Looking around us, taking a moment to pay attention to the changing leaves in all their jewel toned glory, breathing in crisp air, putting on a cozy sweater, these are all yummy, wholesome feelings. No iPad required! Good, old fashioned sensation. We can check our insta a hundred times a day, calculating likes, but it will never feel as satisfying as basking in a beautiful Fall morning. As the seasons naturally change, what we are driven to produce in the kitchen does as well. Recipes are seasonal, as they should be, celebrating what certain times of year have to offer us. It feels wonderful to capitalize on nature's offerings. I will never tire of a fresh Fall Martha Stewart magazine cover. The visual alone starts my culinary juices flowing.
This wild rice salad was made up on the spot, with stuff I had in my pantry. I know it's so annoying I keep saying that, but it's true. First off, I'd never lie. I'm way too emotional to be good at it. Granted, you can't see my face now to give anything away, but it's never been my style to be anything but blunt. Lol, so if you know me and my eyes are pointed towards the floor, chances are I'm attempting some form of rare bullshit. Second, I think I've proven I'm pretty darn capable in the kitchen. I've actually become quite good at inventing cool jesscipes with whatever my pantry is stocked with.
Tzvia and I did a super last minute mini food shoot. As in, the night before our big Blaga Fashion Week pow wow. I had zero time to prepare, but found some solid ingredients in my often well stocked pantry. This wild rice salad was a fun challenge to put together. You've seen one hearty rice side, you've seen them all, right? This is a nice one. It's grainy, earthy, yet has a lovely unexpected sweetness because of the orange factor, grapes, and dried cranberries. Loved including the champagne vinegar! I rarely use it, and it was an Ah Ha moment. If there's anyplace to play around, it's your kitchen. If it's gross, just start again. No biggie. Unless you're married to one of those vacuum cleaner men who eat anything, in which case you're lucky.
A nice range of colors and textures liven up this basic starch. Eat color, feel color, see color. Always aim for technicolor in your life. Color is always here for us, we just need to bring it into our lives. Just like nature and love. 🍂🍁🍃🌻
- Dressing; third cup each olive oil and fresh squeezed orange juice.
- One and a half oranges.
- I tbsp each white wine vinegar and honey.
- Half teaspoon kosher salt, quarter pepper.
Whisk together vigorously. A cup of black wild rice cooked according to package directions. Mix with a cup each of halved green grapes, dried cranberries. Half cup each of chopped scallions, toasted slivered almonds, toasted coarse chopped pecans. Add the fresh zest of one orange to compliment the vinaigrette. Leave some zest, nuts, and scallions sprinkled on top. Let sit together for a half hour to an hour before serving at room temperature. Enjoy!