I spent last weekend with women on the verge, dear friends who see the past behind them as if it were a battle they had conquered, and then what lie before them — darkness shrouding a vast terrain — and they wondered if now was the time for them to charge forward. To leave the comfortable uncomfortable behind for something bigger and more beautiful than they had ever imagined. It’s a sweet thing to witness this fever, this anxiety, this fervor, and having been inspired by their passion and light, I found myself confessing my future plans that — shock, oh shock — involve food.
I won’t say anything on this space, but the shoreline is clear and specific and I’m patient in my need to work to that place, to now want to rush to it. Because right now is not my time, and that’s okay.
Today, after a grueling workout, where I damn near collapsed on my medicine ball, I was thinking about a virtuous lunch. Typically, I feast on scrambled eggs and buttered whole wheat toast (YUM!), but today I was besotted with a black rice salad with mango, featured in Bon Appetit‘s June issue. And can I just say I’m glad I embarked on this miniature adventure because lunch was incredible, downright biblical.
Black rice, otherwise known as “Forbidden Rice,” in the Chinese culture, is high in cancer-preventing antioxidants, and has a rich, nutty flavor. I marveled as it transformed the cooking liquid to a psychedelic blackberry hue, and married with the sweet fruit and the astringent limes, this salad is fresh, light, wholesome and unbelievably filling.
I tinkered with the recipe a little bit to suit my liking, but I invite you to pair this with a salmon or a piece of steak (DROOLING).
INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Bon Appetit’s June 2012 issue, serves 6-8 as a side; 4-6 as a main salad
1/4 cup (or more) fresh lime juice
2 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 cups black rice
2 just-ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″ dice
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, rough chop
6 ramp leaves, thinly sliced
Remove peel and white pith from the oranges. Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into a bowl. Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend. Set dressing aside.
Bring rice and 2 3/4 cup water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer to all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.
Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet (I just a large cookie sheet), drizzle with dressing, and season lightly with salt; let cool.
Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine. Serve!