For the third and final assignment, I chose Wild Rice because we had plenty of it in the pantry and I’m a fan, although I’ve never actually cooked any myself. I made three cups per the instructions on the package, added water, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for an hour. Then I put it in a tupperware container and put it in the fridge, while I waited for inspiration.
First up were Wild Rice Pancakes on Mothers Day. This was a simple, straightforward, from Ree Drummond, the “Pioneer Woman” of food network fame:
- 1 cup Wild Rice
- 3 cups All-purpose OR (if You Have It) Cake Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 4 Tablespoons Sugar
- 3-1/2 cups Whole Milk
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
- Butter, For Serving
- Maple Or Pancake Syrup
Cook wild rice according to package instructions (do not add salt or cook in broth. Just cook in plain water.) Set aside.
Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.
Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined. Add more milk if batter seems too thick. It should definitely be thick but easily pourable.
Add melted butter to the batter, stirring gently to combine.
Gently stir in cooked wild rice. (Add half at first and see how you like the looks of the batter. Then slowly add in as much as you want.)
Cook on a buttered skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with an obscene amount of butter and warm syrup.
These were such a hit that I did not get any pictures of the finished product.
Next up was a Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad from the NY Times Cooking page. I also had a left over bell pepper stuffed with brown rice, extra lean turkey breast, Parmesan cheese, and some dried spices that are my wife’s favorites (and I’m not sure exactly what they are). I chopped this up and added half of it to this dish and half to the third dish I made for this assignment, Wild Rice with Mushrooms, also from the NY Times.
FOR THE GRAINS AND VEGETABLES
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- Salt to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch strips
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup edamame
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons chopped or thinly sliced spring onions or scallions
FOR THE DRESSING
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (more to taste)
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of cayenne
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- Leaf lettuce or radicchio for serving optional
- Toss together all of the salad ingredients.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the salad ingredients, and serve — if desired, over a bed of lettuce or radicchio leaves.
- Advance preparation: You can make this dish a few hours ahead and refrigerate. Cooked grains will keep for several months in the freezer and for three or four days in the refrigerator.
There wasn’t much to this one, just add all of the ingredients to make the dressing and whisk together, then toss all of the salad ingredients and combine. I had all of the ingredients except edamame (substituted peas), cilantro (omitted), cucumber (omitted) and scallions (omitted). Even without those, this turned out really well, due in large part to the very flavorful dressing. I also added chopped matchstick carrots and some sliced avocado on top. I will experiment with this one and put it in the rotation, as it will lead to very tasty leftovers for an easy bring to work lunch, since it can be eaten cold.
Finally, I saved the easiest recipe for last, the Wild Rice and Mushroom recipe I mentioned earlier.
- 8 ounces long-grain Wisconsin wild rice
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup dry sherry, such as Dry Sack (do not use cream sherry)
- Bring 5 cups water to a boil. Stir in rice, then reduce heat so liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook until grains just begin to pop, about 40 minutes. Drain excess liquid from rice and set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 8 minutes; remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining butter and mushrooms.
- Return all the mushrooms to the skillet and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Very carefully add sherry to deglaze the pan, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated but mushrooms are still moist.
- Mix mushrooms into prepared rice and season again with salt and pepper.
I didn’t have any sherry, cooking or otherwise, so I substituted red wine. Looking back I should have used a dry white wine, but I didn’t have any open. The red wine still added good flavor, but it turned the mushrooms purple, which wasn’t all that appealing. Again, I added half of the stuffed pepper to this one, which wasn’t necessary but gave it some additional flavors and textures. I think without it I would use this dish as a side, rather than a main dish.
I plan to repeat this experiment using other whole grains from the list that I haven’t cooked with before. My go-to side dishes are usually potatoes and a green vegetable, so this has been very helpful to have additional (and healthier) options.