My Nana is my real live Martha Stewart, minus the incarceration. She is an amazing cook, a master gardener, an avid volunteer in our community, a docent at a local historic home and museum, a rare jazz records listener, a champagne drinker, [a joker, a smoker, a mid-night toker] and honestly, just an all around amazing woman. I wish that I had been brought up learning to cook at her knee, but life did not allow that, and so now, later in life, I merely try to imitate her as much as possible. Though, more like Martin Lawrence than Martha Stewart. DAMN, GINA!
Because I love you like Britney Spears loves Cheetos (Orannnnnge Fingah! Sung in the melody of “Goldfinger”), I am going to share my favorite Nana recipe with you today. But, before I do, I need to talk about some kind of gross, intestinal things. I speak from experience here.
This recipe is so chockfull of goodness that you will want to eat it for many days in a row. And since it yields a metric shit-ton (actual measurement), you could eat it every day for a week with no problems. Unless you make it for a party, especially a chick party like a baby shower, at which point you will find that there are no leftovers because it is that good. Anyway, back to your innards. You know that Scrubbing Bubbles commercial? Well, on about the fourth day of eating this in a row, your colon will feel as if it has been scrubbed with those little cartoon MFers. Your experiences at this point may actually make you scream out, “DAMN GINA!” But, you know what? You won’t care. Because Nana, like Martha (and BRITNEY!), is magical. And so is this salad.
Black Rice Salad16 oz wild rice (I buy the bag of wild rice at Trader Joe's that is all black wild rice)
6 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
1 yellow pepper, finely diced (I do a teeny tiny dice of the peppers and onion)
1 red pepper, finely diced
½ green pepper, finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced
2/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1/2-3/4 cup Craisins or Dried Cherries
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Cook rice and allow to cool completely. Oftentimes, I will cook the rice the day before, and allow it to cool in the refrigerator overnight. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Watch them carefully, as they can burn quickly. As soon as you can smell them toasting, they are good to go. Mix feta cheese, red pepper, onion, Craisins and pine nuts in a large bowl. Mix together with rice and add dressing. Can be made a day in advance.