Lemon Veggie Wild Rice

Well, it’s officially autumn here in Portland! The leaves are falling, the skies are grey, and it’s been raining a good amount. Autumn makes me want warm food, a hot fire, and a good book. Since I keep my pantry well stocked with yummy grains and non-perishables, I often buy a bunch of veggies to sauté together which I throw on top of rice or lentils or whatever else Fred Meyer’s organic bulk section is stocking. I decided to mix it up a little bit the other day and stumbled into this yummy new dish I’ll be cooking up for years to come. I brought it to my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law’s uncle’s 76th birthday (sometimes it’s easier to simplify familial relationships). I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this simple dish is! Give yourself some time in the kitchen to get everything going, but then pop it into the oven and socialize until it’s time to eat. Covered after removing from the oven, this will stay plenty hot for 30-40 minutes, so it really is great for taking to a friend’s house or to make ahead for your own gathering!

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice | Land of Laurel

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice

Serves 6-8 as main dish and 12-14 people as a side.

Ingredients

1.5 cups organic, tri-color wild rice

2 cups organic vegetable broth

1.75 cups water

1/2 stick butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil

5 small, organic carrots

4 stalks organic celery

1 small onion (I used a yellow onion, but a red onion would taste amazing in this!)

1 medium, organic leek

6-8 leaves sliced, fresh sage

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/3 cup chopped, fresh parsley

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 organic lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

feta cheese to sprinkle

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice | Land of Laurel

Recipe

 

Start by putting the rice, broth and water in a medium sized pot over high heat, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20-30 mins until water is absorbed. Melt butter (or heat oil) over medium heat in 4 quart dutch oven (or other large oven safe vessel). Chop carrots and celery and add to pot with butter, sauté for 5-1o minutes, stirring frequently. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Chop leek, and onions and add to carrot celery pot, sauté together ten minutes, stirring frequently. Test rice, it should be soft with a slight crunch. Once rice is cooked, turn off heat on both pots and add rice to sautéd veggies. Add cranberries, salt, pepper, sliced almonds, and the grated rind and juice of one lemon. Stir together, cover with lid, and place in oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and let rest for ten minutes, then serve sprinkled with feta cheese.

 

Let me know if you try making this! It’s perfect for a fall night, but the easily found ingredients make it a dish that can be served year round.

 

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Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad

Hello everyone! Guess what? Working crazy long hours is not conducive to blogging. Like, at all. I’d apologize, but my time card at work says it all. Plus, women apologize too much. I’m trying to break the habit. What’s everyone been up to? Ready for the Oscars? I’ve watched several of the movies this year, but didn’t quite make it to all of them. Room blew me away, though. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a movie, but so fantastic and heartbreaking. The acting is phenomenal. I want it to win… everything! The Revenant’s been getting quite a bit of publicity, but I was sorely disappointed. I found it boring and very ridiculous. It was mostly a movie of someone walking and then every ten minutes something insane would happen, like he’d be thrown off a cliff or a bear would attack or something would be on fire. It just got to be a bit much…

 

Moving on from the Oscars, I recently read a fantastic book! It’s called My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss the author of the Wednesday Chef blog.  I hadn’t read her blog before and simply liked the idea of a book about Berlin when I saw it at a used bookstore. The book ended up being quite wonderful! Luisa grew up in Berlin and Boston. Since I went to college in Boston (Tufts, the same school Luisa’s father worked at!) and studied abroad in Berlin, I felt a connection with many of the places and foods she mentions. Her sweet story about finding love and where one belongs in the world really struck with me. Afterall, she basically lives my dream: travel the world, speak many languages, find amazing German man, marry him, live together in Berlin, raise German-speaking babies. Ahh… if only! Plus, the many recipes she includes are incredibly inspiring!

 

She mentions a Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad she learned to make from her mother and had me craving it right then and there. I had next to none of the ingredients she included in her recipe, but I did have bell peppers. Always one for innovation, I decided to plug forward on my own and give the Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad my own little spin. It was so incredibly easy and delicious! Peeling the bell peppers does take some time, but over all, it’s so quick. It may still be winter, but this recipe has me dreaming of hot summer days, barbecues, and long, hot hikes. The mix of sweet bell pepper and salty olives is invigorating. Topped with feta cheese, the whole thing is just perfect for a summer picnic… or a cold February day! I’ve made this three time in two weeks! It’s just that good!

 

Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad | Land of Laurel

 

 

Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad

3 large, organic red bell peppers (or several small ones)

1/2 cup organic, pitted kalamata olives

1/4 cup artichoke hearts

2 teaspoons olive oil (truffle olive oil is particularly good)

1 clove organic garlic

Organic feta cheese in brine

Breadcrumbs (I used a piece of German Steinerbrot that I toasted and crumbed myself the first time I made this, and whole wheat panko crumbs from Berkeley Bowl the second time. Both were delicious, so use whatever you have on hand!)

salt and pepper

 

Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese | Land of Laurel

 

First pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your bell peppers well and place on oven safe cookie sheet (lining this cookie sheet with compostable parchment paper will making cleaning up easier). Place the cookie sheet in oven and roast the bell peppers for 45-60 mins. Turn bell peppers (I just use my fingers on the stems) every 10-15 mins as they roast. Slow roasting this way (as opposed to quickly over open flame) makes the bell peppers sweeter and more delicious. While they roast in the oven, chop up your artichoke hearts, olives, and garlic in to fine pieces no larger than 1/4 inch. Place these into a medium sized bowl and stir well together. This won’t take long, so you’ll have time to clean up, before moving on to the roasted bell peppers.

When the bell peppers are well roasted (black in a few little spots with crumbly skins), remove them from the oven and let cool until you can handle them easily. Then begin peeling their skins off. Rubbing with a clean dish towel may help with this. Drying your hands frequently will help you peel more easily too. As you peel them, shred the bell peppers into thin strips with your fingers. Place peeled, shredded bell pepper into the same bowl as the olives, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss together and serve sprinkled with feta cheese (I like quite a bit!) and bread crumbs.

 

Slow Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese and Bread Crumbs | Land of Laurel

 

Hope you find this as delicious as I did! Look for My Berlin Kitchen if you want to try the original recipe. Have a great Oscars night, y’all!