Sunday, October 18, 2009

Babe's favorite: Basmati and Wild Rice with Blood Oranges

In grad school (for the first time, I should say), I studied lots of different things, but I ended up completing a master's degree focusing on the scientific, legal, and policy perspectives on concentrated swine feeding operations (aka factory hog farms). It was an interesting topic, actually, and I could go on and on about it, but the point is that my family and friends started showering me with pig-themed gifts. For the most part, I was ambivalent, but my mom really hit a homerun when she presented me with Babe's Country Cookbook by Dewey Graham. It is a vegetarian cookbook, of course, because who would want to eat Babe or one of his friends. (If you've seen earlier posts, you will learn that the answer is "me"!) However, despite the fact that I'm an omnivore (except when it comes to disgusting packaged processed foods), I tend to eat vegetarian for the majority of my meals, and this is one of my very favorite cookbooks (vegetarian or otherwise). Everything that I've made from it has been completely fantastic. There are other recipes from it that should be posted first based on how often I make them, but I had typed up this one for a facebook "note" a few months ago because I was so happy with it, and, well...I'm feeling lazy and trying to get a good start on this blog, so I decided to go with some recipes that were already typed. It truly is delicious and seemingly nutritious, so give it a try!

Basmati and Wild Rice with Blood Oranges
(adapted from Babe's Country Cookbook by Dewey Graham)

1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt

Thoroughly rinse wild rice in cold running water. Drain. Bring water and salt to boil. Add wild rice and reduce heat to gentle simmer. Cover and cook until tender but toothy, about 45 minutes. Pour off any remaining water. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes off the heat, then fluff with fork and transfer into a large handmade ceramic bowl ( is a good source for said bowl!) Reserve.

1 cup basmati rice
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt

Same procedure as wild rice, except cook for 10 -12 minutes, and no rest period before fluffing.

1 large blood orange (or navel orange), zested and supremed [chilling segments]**
1 cup pecan halves, toasted in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly darkened and fragrant
1 cup golden raisins
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 bunch fresh opal (or other) basil

While rice is cooking, prepare ingredients. Turn basmati rice into wild rice and toss together while still hot. Add raisins, orange zest, scallions, olive oil, and lemon juice and toss together gently. Add salt to taste. Set aside to stand for 2 hours at room temperature to allow flavors to develop fully. When ready to serve, cut basil into long thin strips. Stir the pecans into the rice, arrange blood orange segments prettily on top, and garnish [liberally - it's good] with the basil. Serve at room temperature. Can be eaten as a salad by itself, or as an accompaniment with an omelet, quiche, or other egg dish. Makes 4-6 servings.

**Supreming an orange is just a fancy way of describing cutting an orange to remove all of the segments intact without any pith or membrane. If you google it, you will find videos and what not (and if you are a Top Chef fan, you will remember that it was one of the mise en place quick fire challenges at the beginning of, I believe, season 3 in Miami). The key is a good sharp knife and a little practice. I'll admit it here,'s just so cool to be able to do this quickly and easily that I started cutting oranges like this all of the time. You'll feel like a rock star!

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