[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this fifth edition, I’m focusing on cilantro. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the third entry on cilantro.]
Those of you who live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) will likely nod your heads and roll your eyes in empathy when I mention that we’ve been having terrifically odd weather this summer. One moment it’s sunny and arid as Las Vegas (minus the neon and replica Eiffel Tower, of course), the next as cold and damp as Dracula’s bedroom. This week, it’s hot and humid, with temperatures around the 25C (77F) mark, more typical of July in Toronto.
This year notwithstanding, I do love summer. As a teen, I was an avid devotee of sun worship (sounds like a cult, doesn’t it?). But with fears of overexposure, UV damage and skin cancers abounding these days, I bet the term “sun worshipper” doesn’t even exist any more. Maybe we’re more like “sun admirers from afar.”
I must have inherited the predilection from my mom, who spent most of her summer afternoons planted on a lawn chair in our back yard, head tipped back and face directed skyward as if she were getting a wash at a hair salon. Mom could remain motionless that way for hours, until her skin turned deep bronze with just an undertone of dead lobster. But she loved it; and even though her chest eventually began to show the telltale rivulets and fissures of overexposure, her face always remained smooth and unwrinkled, appearing years younger than her chronological age, right until the day she died (which had nothing to do with skin cancer, as you might imagine).
When I was about 14, one summer I decided that I had to acquire a “real” tan. Being naturally pallid (my skin is normally the shade of a block of raw tofu*), I knew I’d have to work up to it gradually. So I slathered on Johnson’s Baby Oil (the more “mature” among you will remember those days) and set myself the task of sunning first for 5 minutes, ten the following day, then fifteen. . . I think I worked myself up to about half an hour before I got so bored I had to go inside. (On another note, can you believe we used to slather ourselves with BABY OIL, literally frying our skin in the sun like human wontons? To make matters worse, we’d often use sun reflectors around our faces, to intensify the rays. . . like Dorian Gray, I’m waiting in dread fear for the day when that summer starts to show its effects).
I did achieve the sought-after copper hue, though. At the end of August, I arrived at a neighbour’s house to babysit, and (after she glanced at my deeply burnished epidermis), she exclaimed, “Gee, I didn’t know your family spent the summer in the Caribbean.” Victory!
Well, that was the last time my skin was any shade darker than straw. These days, I don’t spend nearly as much time outside. For some reason, as I grew older, I developed a strong aversion to anything entomological (even those cute little Volkswagens make me cringe). As a result, I much prefer to be outdoors during the day when it’s hot and sunny and even the ants retreat to the shade. Bar-B-Q’s or dining al fresco on summer evenings just means I’m another one of the appetizers at the buffet, as the mosquitoes feast on my pale, exposed skin. Ouch. ( The HH, whose natural complexion is somewhat tawny, will often remark, “It’s fine out here. There are no bugs.” That’s only because he’s not their meal of choice. Well, that’s one type of rejection I’d actually welcome, thanks.).
Whether or not you like to spend evenings on the patio in summer, this Confetti Salad works beautifully in the heat. The mosaic of colors effectively reflects the tangle of flowers, grasses, and fresh produce that adorn many gardens and farmers markets at this time of year, their variegated colors competing for first billing in the bowl. I love the brilliant yellows and reds from the corn and peppers, the variety of textures, tastes, and colors that share space in this salad. The dressing is light and crisp, composed of lots of lemon and a hint of sesame oil.
This dish was a perfect use for some of the wild rice I received as a gift from Courtney; coupled with inspiration from a favorite recipe in Calci-Yum, it’s an ideal salad to serve to guests at an impromptu summer dinner party.
Now I just have to hope it rains so we can eat indoors.
*How’s that for a sneaky veg*n reference?
Confetti Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad with Cilantro (or Parsley)
adapted from Calci-Yum! by David and Rachelle Bronfman
A great salad for a gathering or a light dinner at home. Serve this cold or at room temperature, and feel free to mix up the veggies to your own tastes.
For the Salad:
2 cups (480 ml) cooked quinoa, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) cooked wild rice (or use brown rice), at room temperature
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup (120 ml) red onion, chopped fine
1 cup (240 ml) fresh or frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup (180 ml) fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (or use some/all parsley instead)
3/4 cup (135 g) natural almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (55 g) natural walnut halves, coarsely chopped
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dark sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) coriander
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup*
Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk to blend well. Pour over salad ingredients and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until cold. Makes 4-6 servings. Keeps, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.
*ACD variation: Use 5 drops of stevia liquid or equivalent stevia powder instead of the agave.
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Other posts in this series:
- Lucky Comestible 5(1): Spicy Cilantro Sauce
- Lucky Comestible 5(2): Lemony Baked Tofu
- Lucky Comestible 5(4): Grain-Free Hazelnut-Cilantro Crackers
- Lucky Comestible 5(5): “Ground” Tempeh in a Cilantro-Curry Sauce
Other Lucky Comestibles:
- Lucky Comestible 1: Sweet Potato
- Lucky Comestible 2: Quinoa
- Lucky Comestible 3: Avocado
- Lucky Comestible 4: Coconut
Last Year at this Time: Flash in the Pan: Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
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