Tales of Woe – That Brown Rice Salad

Tales of Woe – That Brown Rice Salad

The TV is on most days throughout the day primarily as background noise. I don’t really think about it being on anymore. It lightens my day when there’s nothing going on except my own brooding, it keeps the terrors and worries of my career (or lack thereof) at bay; it keeps me company. But, most importantly – it’s just on. Call me wasteful, pummel me about the head and shoulders for the abnormally large carbon footprint I’m leaving for future generations, I don’t even care. I have persistent tonal tinnitus (Mine is a constant high “C” with a medium tone hiss that seems to hover somewhere about 6 inches from my head… all the time) and background noise is the only thing that stands between me and the express bus to Crazytown.

… so it stays on.

The other day while reading, I halfway hear Giada on the Cooking Channel talk about a Citrus Brown Rice Salad and my head checks in for a bit to listen in. I like rice salads.
Mentally, as she’s talking, I’m making adjustments..

–  “lemon”  egh, no lemon. That girl puts lemon in everything. I don’t really think tart would work very well… and there’s that whole thing with with citrus and starch break down.

“almonds” they’re almost as cliche as sun dried tomatoes.

“brown basmati rice”  I did that once, I might as well have eaten cardboard cut into confetti. I do have some of that Integrale Brown Risotto Rice left that I got from Marx Foods a while back. That would be better with a little creaminess to blend things together.

I kinda followed the recipe she gave… there is rice, and a vinaigrette…. and some nuts.

So… why the Tale of Woe?
Unless you really dig brown rice, a little goes a long way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being healthy, and it was very tasty, and it made a terrific side dish once for Hadji and a Couple of Thugs. But, it makes a boat load of rice salad. That’s a serving each for Jane and me – and a big-ass container in the fridge that just sat there demanding to be eaten even when you aren’t exactly feeling rice salad… that’s kind of sweet… and tastes like oranges.
And, it doesn’t come close to filling the late-night-stand-at-the-fridge-with-the-door-open-and eat-out-of-the-container snack mood.

By sheer serendipity, it did find it’s way into several different versions of teriyaki fried rice over the course of the following week, though. Which – oddly – is probably the only reason I’d ever make it again.

Brown Rice Salad
adapted from Giada De Laurentis’ 
Citrus Rice Salad
Serves 6 to 8
For the Salad:
2 Cups Brown Integrale Rice (feel free to use any risotto rice  or brown rice – or – for a slightly creamier brown, mix 1/2 and 1/2 with a risotto rice)
1/2 Cup Fresh Peas
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Celery Tops – Roughly Chopped
1 Orange – Zested
3 Scallions – Finley Chopped
1/2 Cup Pistachio nuts – Roughly Chopped

For the Dressing:
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Juice from the Orange you Zested
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1/4 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
About 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt (adjust for your own taste)
Other Things:
Rice Cooker
Sheet Pan
Large Mixing Bowl

Amazon.com Widgets
I could go into details about how to properly do brown rice – but to be honest, I use a rice cooker. Plop in the rice, glog in the stock and let it go… it tells me when it’s ready. Do yourself a favor and get one.
You can thank me later.

So, Rice and stock in the cooker, wait til the light goes off and it’s done. Dump the rice out onto a sheet pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
chop the nuts, scallions, and celery tops; place in the bowl with the cooled rice and zest – Mix well.
Place all the dressing ingredients in the blender and whirr around for 2 minutes
Pour over the rice mixture and mix well
Taste for additional seasoning and add salt as needed.
Let sit for 15 minutes or so before serving. The salad can be served room temperature and transports well to picnics, outings, or pot lucks.

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