Fruited Rice Salad

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Makes

4 to 4 servings

I watch, in pained silence, as Jared dissects his dinner – pine nuts here, raisins there, peach chunks over here –and then eats each ingredient separately. He swears it tastes better that way.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice , (uncooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tsp olive oil , or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins , (golden, if you have them)
  • 1 stalk celery , diced
  • 1 cup diced pitted peaches , or nectarines
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt , to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, stir together the rice and the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover tightly and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Don’t stir the rice while it’s cooking -in fact, don’t even look at it for the first 10 minutes or so. In the meantime, you and your young assistant can prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a very small skillet or saucepan, combine the pine nuts with 1 tsp. (5ml) of oil and toast lightly over very low heat until just slightly golden, stirring constantly. This will only take a few minutes, so don’t walk away and answer the phone or anything -the pine will burn. When they are done, set them aside to cool.
  • Now, cut the celery into small cubes, about ¼ in. (½ cm) in size. This is a good job for a child who is old enough to handle a small knife. He can also dice the peaches or nectarines into (more or less) the same size pieces. Don’t bother peeling the fruit unless your peaches are very fuzzy -the rosy skin makes the salad pretty. And have an extra peach or two available as pilferage insurance.
  • When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add the toasted pine nuts, raisins, diced celery and fruit to the rice in the saucepan. Stir to combine.
  • Finally, in a small bowl, stir together the orange juice, lemon juice, the remaining oil, honey and salt. Pour this dressing over the rice mixture and give it another stir.
  • Now, you can simply chill the salad and serve it in a bowl, just the way it is. And that would be fine. But, for almost no extra work, you can be very fancy: Pack the rice mixture firmly into a 1-quart (1.4L) round-bottomed mixing bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap and let cool completely. When ready to serve, remove the plastic, put a serving plate on top and carefully turn the bowl upside down -salad should fall out. Wow -did you do that? In this weather?