Monday, June 11, 2012

Whole Grain Rice Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Pistachios

Spring, sun, and sugar snap peas have arrived!

I was so excited to see sugar snap peas at the market that I paid the early high price of $6.00 a pound!  It was a treat and it's early in the season, but I'll be very happy when we have peas in our own yard where Finn has not sniffed the pea vines yet, but has occasionally been stopped from eating our still green strawberries.

Finn will return next week to his guest blog spot. The inquisitive hound claimed he needs the week off to sniff some good stories and discover delectable foodie treasures.  He's also investigating some the new scents at the dog park which you may or may not want to know about.

And who doesn't want to explore, even if it is only your own neighborhood.

Between catnaps and walks,  I caught Finn checking out Good Dog Carl.  I love this book, but  I think Finn was studying Carl's techniques for grabbing treats when humans are gone.   

The quirky hound loves staring at books.  

So I left this one out, just in case he wanted to dream big.  (The stories aren't all about food in this book, but these 13 stories about women told through different characters are poignant, sweet, wistful and pure comfort food for the soul.)   Not to mention the title raises an intriguing question, especially for my Cooking Assistant:  If you could eat anything you wanted for an entire day, what would it be?  

Shopping the Market

As for me, primary food gatherer at the farmers' market I was once again tempted by these early sweet treats.  But I'd spent my money on greens so my friend Patty shared some with me. 

This is Patty (left) at the market with JoanE McIntyre from Rent's Due Ranch.  The picture was taken last year.  On another note, it's sad JoanE won't be at the market this year for Rent's Due.  For me  farmers I've gotten to know become the face of the farm and those are the connections I seek out at the market.  It won't be the same without JoanE's smile and enthusiasm. 

Our strawberries in the garden are still in the green stage.  I showed them to Finn who licked his lips in anticipation. The price is high now.  Only one farmer selling them, but hopefully it will come down a bit, but by the time they do, we should have lots of berries in the garden!

This is what I was really looking for at the market. 

Sugar snap peas were the last items on my market list.  While my friend was buying bread, I was thinking about going back to Willie Green's to get the peas I'd spotted earlier;  then I saw these peas right in front of me. 

If you don't know Youth Garden Works, you really should check out the video on the link.  If you do, I hope you support this program.  One way is to frequent their booth at the U-District farmers' market.

Photo shoots and recipes

Though my Cooking Assistant wants time off to sniff the neighborhood, he still insists on posing in  recipe photo shoots. 

In the beginning of my creation I'd imagined a salad with brown rice and snap peas, but didn't quite have the flavors down.  Still, the garlic seemed perfect, after all it is the season.  

A  strawberry-orange vinaigrette occurred to me,  but somebody beat me to the berries.  


Only a few were left by the time I got the bowl out.  I'd been marinating them in Rockridge Orchards Tayberry Wine, but seriously I think there were only four berries left by the time I got to them.

I'm not pointing fingers, but the hound does know where the carrots are kept.   I bought the last of the mineola tangelos for this; you could juice a fresh orange instead of the tangelo.

I'm crazy about whole grain salads, but I hate to pay deli prices. And they are so easy to make and this is one of those great dishes that you can do many things with for leftovers.  You can also do many variations of the vegetables for this.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

Whole Grain Rice Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Pistachios and Strawberry-Orange Vinaigrette
(Serves 4)

1 3/4 cup water
1 cup brown rice
Pinch of sea salt (optional)
2 cups sugar snap peas, washed and prepared
4 to 5 inches of garlic scrape tops
2 or 3 bulbs of spring garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5  strawberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Splash of berry vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped Mama Lil's Peppers
Sea salt 
1/2 cup toasted pistachios (or your favorite nut)

1. Bring water to a boil in a small pan over medium heat.  Add rice and sea salt, if desired.   Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. 

2. While rice cooks, fill a large pasta pot with water, bring it to a boil and add sugar snap peas and garlic scrapes.  Blanch for two minutes, drain, plunge vegetables into ice cold water to stop the cooking.  Snip 

3. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When pan is hot, add minced garlic.  Stir and cook until garlic is soft and lightly browned.

4. Combine remaining olive oil, berries, orange juice, splash of berry vinegar, peppers, and sea salt with an immersion blender.

5. Combine rice, peas, garlic, tossing gently.  Slowly pour the dressing over the rice.  Don't add it all at once, because you may not necessarily need all of it.  You can always refrigerate it and  use it on another salad later.   Toss in the pistachios.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
All the fresh vegetables look so beautiful and your recipe looks awesome. We would really enjoy it. Please give Finn a hug! Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen