Wild Rice Salad

I post very few side dishes. They are too boring to post. Roasted vegetables, starches and salads although delicious, do not make for a very interesting food blog entry. This dish, however, is far from boring. The nutty fruity combination is easy to prepare, and has a fresh flavor. Bring this Ina Garten side dish to your next pot luck, and you are sure to impress. 

1 cup long-grain wild rice
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 navel oranges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup green grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 scallion, white and green parts chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan over high heat combine rice, 4 cups water, and 2 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until rice is tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and return rice to the pan. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
2. While rice is still warm, place it in a mixing bowl. Peel oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut between the membranes and add the orange sections to the bowl with the rice. Add the olive oil, orange juice, raspberry vinegar, grapes, pecans, cranberries, scallions, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Allow to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.

From the book Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?

Mango Shrimp Tacos

You are never too busy to prepare Mango Shrimp Tacos. I made this dish in time it took Brent to run across the street for a beer run. Tacos and beer will alleviate a mid-week slump. I have prepared this dish several times a month after discovering Trader Joe’s Corn & Wheat Tortillas. They hold together so much better than most corn tortillas, and have a nice soft texture. Although the shrimp is flavorful enough with the garlic, taco seasoning and mango, I like to add a dollop of chipotle sour cream, which is simply a mixture of 1/2 cup of sour cream, and a chopped chipotle pepper in adobe sauce with a pinch of salt.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2ish teaspoons taco seasoning mix
1-2 large jalapeños, minced
1 large mango, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
A few cilantro sprigs for decoration
4 to 5 tablespoons lime juice
8 corn tortillas

1. Heat a large, wok over medium-high heat, and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp, salt according to your preference and the garlic. Sauté, stirring or shaking the pan, until the shrimp begins to change color, about two minutes. Add the taco seasoning mix, and continue to cook until the shrimp is pink, about three minutes. Add the chilies, mango and cilantro, and stir together for one minute. Stir in the lime juice, and remove from the heat.
2.  Wrap the tortillas in a towel, and heat in the microwave for one minute.
3. Place tortillas on a plate, top with the shrimp, fold over the tortillas.
4. Top with a cilantro stem, and chipotle sour cream if you wish.

Farro with Sausage and Mushrooms

I love farro. I discovered the power grain back in September, and since then it has made an appearance in many of my meals. It all started with Italian Baked Farro, and since then I have experimented with using farro in risotto, pasta salad, and macaroni and cheese. The nutty whole grain never disappoints. In this recipe farro is used in a tomato based cross between soup and risotto. The flavors are rich and complex. If you enjoy tomato sauces, you will love this rich and satisfying dish.


1 cup farro
3 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 pound pancetta, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms, caps cleaned, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1-pound turkey sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Sea salt to taste

Place the farro in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion and pancetta until the pancetta starts to brown. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they soften. Stir in the pork and cook it until it looses its pink color.

Return the farro to the pot and stir to combine well.

In separate bowl, combine the tomato juice, tomato paste and red wine. Pour the ingredients into the pot and stir the ingredients well.

Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium low and cook about 20 minutes, or just until the liquid is almost absorbed and the farro is cooked through but still chewy.

Stir in the cheese and salt to taste and serve hot in soup bowls.

Pass extra cheese on the side to sprinkle on top.