Mediterranean Spinach Rice: A Fall Salad Recipe

I first got a glimpse – an outline – of this recipe, in one of those free recipe books that companies publish, this one from Sun-Maid. Not surprisingly, all the recipes in this particular booklet involved raisins. I tried their version of this recipe several times, loved it, and then promptly lost the booklet. So, what follows originally began with Sun-Maid, mutated by necessity and larder provisions, and then adapted to a particular season because it’s autumn. Lose the loose, colorful leaves and other autumn accessories in six months and you can call it a “Spring” recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 – 3 tbsp olive oil

4- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup raisins

½ cup craisins

1 lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed amp; coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

½ – 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cup toasted slivered almonds

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt

2 acorn squash, halved, seeded amp; baked

Instructions:

1. Prepare and bake the acorn squash. (Just cut them in half, clean out the seeds, fill with broth/wine/water, cover with foil and bake for an hour or two at 350*).

2. Toast the almond slivers while the oven is still warm, and begin to unbox your asian rice cookers to do the rice cooking!

3. Cook the rice according to either directions on the package or popping it into your rice cooker.

4. Heat a large lidded skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.

5. De-stem and deseed pepper. Cut into 4-6 thin slices (for garnish) and dice the rest.

6. Add oil and garlic and stir until garlic begins to brown.

7. Add raisins and craisins and extra oil if needed and heat until plump.

8. Add spinach in batches, tossing quickly as each addition starts to wilt.

9. Add cooked rice, diced red bell pepper, feta cheese, salt and pepper.

10. Stir to combine. Spoon into acorn squash halves. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and garnish with a thin slice of red pepper.

Notes:

• Served this way, the “salad” becomes an entire vegetarian dinner.

• Don’t be skimpy on the feta cheese if you don’t have to.

• Don’t tell the picky eaters at the table but this salad, minus the acorn squash, is ridiculously nutritious. One serving contains the following RDAs: 130% of Vitamin A, 100% of Vitamin C, 25% of Iron, 20% of Potassium, 17% of Dietary Fiber and 15% of Calcium. Including the nutritional value of the acorn squash would probably require this dish to be approved by the FDA.

• And for those of you who’d throw caution to the wind, you can always add some or all of a 1 lb. package of a nicely flavored sausage. Crumbled and cooked beforehand, of course.

UNNAMED

I’m a firm believer in being able to change your mind. If you think about it, changing our minds is the only way we get where we want and need to be. Maybe a goal we’ve set turns out to be wrong for us, or maybe the way we’re approaching solving a problem isn’t working. So what do we do? Change our minds. Where things get a little fuzzy is when we change our minds on impulse, without much thought. I have a hard time accepting those sorts of swings, but I understand where they come from.

So when I said I was going to stop blogging over here, I meant it. And when I started itching to come back, I refused to follow that impulse without giving it good thought. What I believe happened is that removing the “responsibility” of maintaining this blog freed my mind to think about what could be next. I don’t want this blog to become business focused, but there are all sorts of topics and ideas close to my heart that I can mull over here that aren’t so close to my heart that I feel vulnerable or open to wounding.

While my trade encompasses a plethora of responsibilities, the piece of it that eases my mind and swells my heart is the writing. And while I enjoy business writing, it’s just not enough. I also have to accept the very real truth that if I want to continue writing for pleasure and business, it’s important I continue putting my work out into the world on an individual level, unattached to a brand or its purpose.

So, you could say I’m back. I don’t know how frequently I’ll post or exactly which topics I’ll be posting about, and I know that’s not a formula for blog success. At this point, that’s not my concern. My concern lies in reviving this outlet and contributing good words to the world.