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Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

I just got back from an amazing walk.  The temperature was perfect at a nice cool 60 degrees, the birds were singing, and a beautiful assortment of tulips soaked up the sun.  A walk on a day like today is good for clearing my head.  So, now I’m home with a full cup of coffee, ready to tell you about this fantastic recipe that I conjured up.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

I recently came across organic black rice (forbidden rice) ramen noodles at my co-op.  You may remember this recipe that has black rice.  Or this one, with a bit of a Spring twist.  I love black rice– it’s ridiculously healthy.  So, when I found it in pasta form, I was excited.  I generally use brown rice noodles, so I’m thrilled to have another healthy option.  Fear not, if you can’t find black rice ramen– most any thin pasta will work here–regular ramen, vermicelli, angel hair pasta, just about anything really.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

This is a really quick dinner that can be whipped-up in about 20 minutes.  It’s versatile in that it can be served hot or cold, which is a nice option for the upcoming warmer months.  It’s also versatile in that you can pair any of your favorite vegetables with it and it will be fantastic.  Red peppers come to mind.  I’m on a broccoli kick…still.  And so are my kids, so that’s what I went with.  The vegetables can be roasted, quickly sautéed, or even raw.  You decide. I generally roast mine, but I know that will stop with the summer heat.   The sauce is simple and packed with flavor.  The sesame, garlic, ginger, and scallions all compliment one another.  The sauce is light– it barely coats the noodles and vegetables.  I didn’t want it loaded with oil (read calories), but I still wanted it potent.  When you toss all of the ingredients together, make sure to reserve a bit of pasta water.  You can use that to loosen everything up, if necessary.  Be sure to taste and re-season with more soy sauce or sesame oil, if you want a bit more punch.  Hope you enjoy!  We sure did.

Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Garlic Ginger Scallion Sauce

(serves 2)

2 squares of ramen, (about 5 ounces total)

2 tablespoons olive oil or peanut, if you have it

4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce

4 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 scallions, thinly sliced

handful of broccoli and crimini mushrooms, bite-size

sesame seeds and chopped peanuts for garnish

(Note: This meal comes together rather quickly– you’ll need to work fast and be attentive.)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Bring a medium sauce pan filled with water to a boil.

On a baking sheet, roast the broccoli and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly tender.  Remove from oven.   Place the ramen in the boiling water and keep a watchful eye.  It will only need about 5 minutes to cook.  Test along the way.  Reserve some cooking water.  When tender, drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat,  heat the olive oil and add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for about 1-2 minutes until aromatic.  Then add the vinegar, hoisin, sesame oil, and soy sauce and whisk together until warmed through.  Add most of the scallions, reserving a few for garnish.  Sauté for 30 seconds.  Toss in the vegetables and then the ramen.  Use tongs to toss everything together.  Loosen with 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water, if need be.  Taste.  Re-season with soy sauce and sesame oil, if desired.  Top with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, and reserved scallions.  If wanting to make a cold version, run the pasta under cold water.   You may need a bit more oil to loosen the pasta, if cold.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing ItI just know many of you are in the thick of planning your Thanksgiving menus, and I’ve got a side dish that would look absolutely grand on your table.  I’m one of those who think the Thanksgiving meal is all about the sides.  Sure, the turkey is fine, but there just isn’t a lot of excitement there.  It’s the side dishes that have the variety of flavors and colors that make the meal so interesting.   At least that’s how I feel.  My husband habitually defaults to two servings of turkey, gravy, potatoes, and stuffing.  That’s it.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with him.  Anyway, even if you’re not looking for a Thanksgiving idea, this dish is pretty incredible for any occasion.  I like to make it and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week– it keeps and heats up beautifully, never losing any texture or flavor.

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

I usually have some baked squash in my refrigerator on most any day during winter.  It’s just one of those healthy, filling vegetables that works with so many meals.  Butternut squash holds it’s shape really well in this dish.  Brussels are also a favorite, and here they go particularly well with the squash.  If you haven’t yet tried black rice, here’s your chance.  It’s healthy and has a wonderfully nutty flavor.  The slightly-chewy, toothsome texture balances out the softer vegetables in this dish.  And if you can’t get your hands on black rice, any wild rice would be a good substitute.

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Finally, let’s talk about this amazing ginger sesame dressing.  Ginger adds such a unique and robust flavor, so a little goes a long way.  The sesame oil give the dressing an additional layer of nuttiness (flavor, not craziness).  It’s worth buying a bottle.  Side note, keep it in your refrigerator, so it lasts longer.  This dressing is amazing on these vegetables– but would be wonderful on so many other things, as well.  Be creative!  Enjoy!

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, & Black Rice

(makes enough for 4-6 people, easily)

About 1 pound small brussel sprouts, halved (or quartered, if large)

About 1 pound (or a bit more) butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2/3 cup dry black rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

Ginger Sesame Dressing:

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon finely minced ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make the black rice:  Place the rinsed rice in a medium saucepan along with 1 1/3 cups of water.  Add a sprinkle of salt.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low-medium  and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is mostly tender.  Turn off the heat and let it sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes, or so .  Fluff with a fork when ready to use.

Meanwhile, place the brussel sprouts and butternut squash on a large baking sheet.  Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil.  Roast for abut 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Make sure to flip the vegetables once or twice for even browning.

To make the Ginger Sesame Dressing:  In a medium-sizd bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil.  Then, slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk.  Set aside until ready to use.

In a large serving bowl or platter, gently combine the roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts, black rice, and ginger sesame dressing.  Taste and season with kosher salt, if necessary.  Top with the toasted sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Laurie

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Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

So now that school is out, I’m trying to get my bearings straight.  We are four days into summer vacation, and while I am more than thrilled to have my son home all day long, it’s not without its…complications.  Aanen has this amazing contagious personality– he is truly a joy to be around.  He and his sister get along swimmingly.   And I love not having to pack his lunch every morning and rush him off to school.  Mornings around our house are brilliant.  However…it’s the rest of the day that gets a bit more hectic.  We’re I’m missing my schedule.  I knew exactly how much I could squeeze into a day and how much I could get done.  Now play dates, outings, parks, and pools have all taken its place.  And though I absolutely love all of these things, it’s hard to get any real work done.  I know I’m not unique in this situation or these feelings, but it sure feels good to ramble on about it.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing it

So how does that tie-in to today’s post?  Well, in the hustle and bustle of our summers we tend to eat much simpler food.  It’s easy to do with all of the fresh produce, so I’m absolutely fine with it.  I’ll often make a huge salad or two at the beginning of the week from legumes and grains and we’ll nibble on it for a few days.  It works well when we’re constantly running out the door.  This salad in particular keeps well.  And it’s absolutely perfect to pack for picnics.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

I’ve always been a fan of chickpeas.  They’re loaded with protein, and they’re substantial enough to turn a salad into a meal.  If you’re not familiar with black rice, give it a chance.  Here’s a previous dish that I made using it.  I love black rice, sometimes called “forbidden rice”.   It’s nutty and similar in taste to wild rice.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  You can read more about it here.  I realize that some of you may not the able to find black rice and that’s ok.  Quinoa is also a wonderful substitute and is loaded with its own health benefits.  Radishes give this meal a nice little crunch and they are so wonderful this time of year.  The preserved lemon adds a burst of brightness that makes you smile every time you bite into a tiny piece.  If you haven’t made preserved lemons yet, do it now.  They add so much to summer salads.  Here’s a recipe from my blog.  Or you can do the salt pack method, which is how I made this last batch.  This is a recipe for that method.  Obviously, if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, you should still give this salad a try.  The parsley and subtle shallot vinaigrette bring all of the flavor together and I love the fact that it’s so healthy!  Makes me feel better about all of the ice cream that my kids are devouring.  Hope you enjoy!

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Chickpea and Black Rice Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette

2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked (see note)

1 cup black rice, cooked  (see note)

1 bunch radishes, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

For the Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 -2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, or red onion

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 small lemons

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (champagne or plain rice vinegar can also be substituted)

about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or a bit more

sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Note:  To cook dried chickpeas, place in a large saucepan covered with cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for a few minutes.  Cover and turn off the heat.  Let sit for 1-2 hours.  Bring to a boil again and cook for a few more minutes until they are your desired tenderness.  To make the black rice, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold, salted water by a couple inches.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat just a bit.  Let cook until the rice is tender (about 25 minutes).  Drain the water.

To make the Shallot Vinaigrette:  Place the chopped shallot in a bowl, or jar, and sprinkle with a little salt.  Pour the vinegar and lemon juice on top and let soften for about 15 minutes.  Then whisk in the olive oil, or give the jar a shake.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the refrigerator, let it warm up for a few minutes before you plan to use it.

Place the rice and chickpeas into a large serving bowl along with the parsley, radishes, and preserved lemon.  Pour as much dressing over the salad as you like.  Start with a little and add more, you will not need to use the entire amount that you made.  Toss the ingredients together and let the flavors meld for a bit.  You can even refrigerate it and let it warm a bit before serving.  This salad will keep well for days.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

xo

Laurie

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Today’s dish is one of the most-satisfying, healthy salads around.  It combines several healthy food pyramid components– protein, vegetables, and grains, so in a sense it’s a ‘one-plate meal’.  It has the added benefit of being convenient and delicious, not to mention looking gorgeous, too.  The centerpiece of this salad is the salmon.  In this dish, it’s simply prepared.

Now it’s time for a little story.  Radd and I have had an ‘on again/off again’ relationship with salmon over the last few years.  Have you ever eaten one particular food so often that its no longer appealing?  That’s what happened to us.  You see, during both of my pregnancies we ate a ton of wild salmon.  It’s loaded with omega 3’s, which are important for a baby’s developing brain.  So…we went overboard.  I’m sure my memory is tricking me now, but I swear we ate salmon three to four times a week.  It got to the point where it was almost torturous to sit down to a nice grilled meal.  After Aria was born we swore off salmon for awhile.  That ‘awhile’ turned into nearly two years, so our kids never really got to try it.  Well, we finally came around, gave it a try, and remembered all those things that we love about the fish.  And as luck would have it, turns out our kids love it too.

Along with the salmon, this salad has those wonderful Spring fava beans and radishes.  The beans add a nice ‘pop!’ of color along with their firm texture, while the radishes give the dish a healthy crunch.  Another ingredient is black rice.  Not familiar?  You can read about it here.  Aside from looking pretty cool, it’s loaded with fiber and iron.  It’s also an anti-inflammatory and great source for antioxidants.  I used ‘forbidden’ black rice in this dish.  The texture is the same as a firm white rice, but the flavor is a bit more ‘nutty’– kind of like wild rice.  If you can’t find black rice, you can use wild rice, quinoa, or wheat berries.  All will work well here.

The final ingredient is a mustard tarragon vinaigrette, which brings all of the flavors together.  It’s worth experimenting with tarragon vinegar, if you can find it– it’s so interesting.  Tarragon has a strong anise-like flavor, so make sure it suits your palate before you add it to the vinaigrette.  And if you don’t have it, a nice white wine or champagne vinegar will work just fine.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Wild Salmon with Black Rice, Fava Beans, and Spring Radishes

(Serves 4)

1 pound wild salmon

1 cup forbidden black rice, rinsed

1 bunch Spring radishes, sliced

1 head boston, bibb, or romaine lettuce, torn

1/2 – 1 cup shelled fava beans

olive oil, for drizzling

Mustard Tarragon Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon shallot, chopped

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, more if you like it more potent

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

sprinkle of red pepper flakes

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

To begin:  Place the rinsed black rice in a medium sauce pan with a scant 1 3/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.  If the rice is tender, yet a bit of water remains, just drain it off.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the salmon on it along with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until it just barely flakes when you twist a fork into it.  Keep in mind that it will continue to bake after you remove it from the oven from the residual heat, so be careful not to over-bake.  Remove from oven and break apart into chunks, when cool.

Prepare the fava beans by placing the shelled beans into a small saucepan of boiling water.  Boil for about 2 minutes.  Drain water and place beans in a bowl of ice water.  Remove the light green peel.  Set beans aside.

To make the vinaigrette:  place the garlic, shallot, Dijon, vinegar, salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes into a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

On a large platter, place the torn lettuce, black rice, salmon, radishes, and fava beans.  Pour the mustard tarragon vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss.  Ricotta salata cheese also works very well with this meal.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  See you next week!

Laurie

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