Forbidden Rice Salad with Cauliflower

Forbidden Rice Salad~A Stack of Dishes   Because you’re going to gorge on Turkey, stuffing and pie…. oh yes… the pie… Make a batch of rice, dress it, and keep it in the fridge. Then steam or sauté some veggies, add some greens, and keep on shopping/cooking/eating….  you get the picture.

Forbidden Rice Salad with Cauliflower
Forbidden or black rice can be found in the Asian aisle at your market. It's rich in antioxidants and has a lovely chewy texture. In a pinch you can switch it out with Jasmine or Brown rice.
313 calories
46 g
1 g
12 g
6 g
2 g
344 g
75 g
3 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 313
Calories from Fat 107
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 75mg
Total Carbohydrates 46g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 3g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 cups black rice
  2. 3.75 cups water
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite size florets
  5. 1 tbsp lemon zest
  6. 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  7. 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  8. 1 tsp dijon mustard
  9. 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  10. 2 Tablespoons fresh minced tarragon
  11. 10 cups mixed baby salad greens
  1. Place the rice, water and salt in a rice cooker and set to cook. Alternatively cook in a pot, bringing the water to a boil, then reducing to a simmer. Cover pot and cook until water is absorbed and the rice is tender. About 20 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the cauliflower and cook without stirring until charred on bottom side, about 3 minutes, then turn and repeat. Add 2 Tablespoons of water, cover the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes until cauliflower is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine: zest, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard and 5 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk until emulsified, then season with salt and pepper to waste.
  4. When the rice is done and still warm, toss with half of the dressing, then add the tarragon.
  5. Let rice cool for 10 minutes, then add the cauliflower and the remaining dressing.
  6. Serve over greens
A Stack of Dishes
Forbidden Rice Salad~A Stack of Dishes

Chèvre Panna Cotta with Mint Oil

Spring is coming ever so delicately knocking at my door, though you wouldn’t know it by the weather.  I set the panna cotta yesterday afternoon, not with promising rays of sun filling my kitchen, but while the sky was white with puffy snowflakes. This winter has been unrelenting, but in my heart, and in my kitchen, it is getting to be breezy and sunshiny.

The evolution of this recipe has been germinating in my brain for a few weeks now. I imagined a delicate pillow of panna cotta with fine teeny spring vegetables. Radish sprouts give this dish a little sharp bite, and fresh mint adds counter balance. It’s not always the case that my imaginings turn out just so, but this one was a triumph. The texture is more like a trembleque, which is astonishing next to the slight crunch of the asparagus and the pop of the peas. Not only is it melty light and refreshing, it’s also refreshing light in calories too!

The secret ingredient is a splash of grapefruit vinegar, which I concocted myself. I’ve been having a lot of fun creating some lovely vinegar flavors. I promise I’ll be posting on the vinegars with recipes soon, I’m just working on a few other versions that I think you’ll really enjoy. I am all about the finishing vinegar these days…


For those keeping track, I am still overwrought by the breaking of my camera. I used my traveling point and shoot today, which is… well….

Let me just say that I’ve been a real champ  trying to be a real champ about this. I decided to Snap to!, Stiff upper lip! and all that, but the charm is swiftly waning. I’m finding that capturing images onto this teeny sensor has been quite fine, but the lens on this bugger is NOT conducive to my creative flexings. The damn thing has such a curved lens that I struggle with distortion, which you might notice a bit of in the picture above. I crop and crop and crop, which leaves me with a less quality than I would like. *sigh*

I know I’m being a big whiney baby right now. I know that many many folks shoot solely with a camera like the one, (Canon G11), which is no slouch of a camera at all! AND great work can be, and is, created.

When I studied photography in college (back in the caveman days), I was a purist. I shot 35mm film with only a 50mm lens. I felt that you didn’t need fancy camera or lenses to create Art, and for the most part, I still believe that to be true. But like a person that drove a your parent’s hand me down car for a long time, and then one day you get to drive a Mercedes, well, there is just no comparison. Will they both get you to where you want to go? No question, but oh what a ride in the Mercedes.

This is how I feel about my camera. I plunked down a pile of money a few years back to buy it. It was a real financial stretch, and a personal affirmation of my dedication to photography. I promised myself that I would use it so much that it would earn it’s value back many times.

And it has.

My camera is worth every penny, and I will love her long into the future once I get her back. It has been a lesson for me. Do you always need the most expensive things? Not always, but sometimes having quality and good tools can make a difference- and I have come to learn that I am worth it.

I hope you enjoy my spring treat. It really is no fuss to make, even though it looks fussy.

Happy Almost Spring!

Chèvre Panna Cotta with Mint Oil
I used some small condiment dishes I had to mold the panna cotta but any vessel will do, including tea cups, wine glasses etc. It’s also possible to make one single large mold, and even double or triple this recipe to do so. The panna cotta may be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge.
serves 4
1.5 cup reduced fat milk, divided
1.5t unflavored gelatin
6 oz chèvre
pinch of salt
1 c asparagus, sliced into small pieces, leaving heads whole
1 c English peas
3T fresh mint, finely minced
2T olive oil
2T grapefruit vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
handful radish sprouts
Prepare 4 molds, about a half cup in size, by lightly oiling them. Set aside
In a small bowl place .5c of cold milk and sprinkle the gelatin over the top, stirring to moisten all the gelatin if necessary. Allow to rest and bloom for 3-5 minutes.
In a blender, or with a hand blender, combine the chèvre, salt and the rest of the milk, and blend smooth.
Warm the gelatin milk in a microwave for 1 minute. The milk will be hot and the gelatin melted. Stir into the chèvre mixture and thoroughly incorporate.
Divide the mixture between the four cups, then place in the refrigerator until set, about 3 hours.
Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water and a generous pinch of salt over a high flame and bring to the boil. Add the asparagus and peas and boil for a minute and a half, or until the vegetables turn a bright green and have a tender bite to them. Immediately drain through a sieve and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.
In a medium bowl combine mint and olive oil.
To turn out the pannacotta, run a sharp knife, place a plate on the top, then flip the two over. The panna cotta will fall right out onto the plate. If it needs a nudge just give the cup a tap or two.
Sprinkle the vegetable over the top, then drizzle with the mint oil. Finish with a splash of vinegar over the top of each.
Serve with some crackers or crusty bread.

Cabbages & Fennel Salad + Calabrese Frito: Preserved Lemon Dressing

At last the unveiling! I present to you the preserved lemons I put up this past summer. They’ve been patiently marinating in the back of my fridge all these months. They’ve been shoved back and forth, used to prop up other things, been in the way, and sometimes completely forgotten- but now here they are- front and center!

Last week, while walking the streets of the city, I was sure I picked up the faintest scent of spring. There was that damp earth coolness, with the back end of sunshine in the breeze. I smelled it, I’m sure I did. Like a drug it got my heart to beat faster and put a smile on my face.

I remember once while riding the subway, I overheard someone (who apparently was from California), say, “New Yorkers are so desperate for sunshine and warmth that when they get a nice day they practically get intoxicated by it!” She scoffed and Pfft!, and then went on to say something to the effect that a life living in perpetual sunshine was the way to go- Really? I don’t doubt that continuous loveliness would not be a fine thing, but I DO get all giddy at the change of seasons. It’s magical to me, and who doesn’t like getting intoxicated from time to time?!?

I ask you, is a steady stream of nice really better than a life with bursts of delight? I am not a particular fan of the gray doldrums of winter, but there is a rhythm to it. It touches my soul that the earth can take such a beating from the bitter winds, and then come back with heartbreaking beauty and tenderness. How wonderful it is to be reminded of regrowth, of the ups and downs of life, that even though things look bleak- it’s really just an incubator for the next. It’s the wane to the wax. It’s Grace.

I’m all about it.

All this is to say that good things are the gifts of patience. Like my lemons. Ah my lovely little lemons! I packed them with love, with anticipation, with slow expectation- and now they have surfaced as my winter blossom.

This is a simple salad, full of heart healthy cruciferous vegetables. Layers of finely shredded green cabbage, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and shaved fennel, dressed with a creamy yogurt and preserved lemon dressing. I pan fried slices of Calabrese salami to a delicate crisp for a little fine texture and saltiness.

We are always growing and evolving and changing. As the Buddhists say: Life is a river. The river flows and moves along its course, and though it may seem like a static thing- that river over there- it is in fact, always changing- and never the same.

I believe that I am a river- and I take pleasure in the splashing.

Cabbages and Fennel Salad + Preserved Lemon Dressing
Perserved lemons can be found in many markets these days. Be sure to rinse them well to remove some of the saltiness of the brine. Preserved lemons have a mild, unique taste that I invite you to try, but if you can’t get your hands on any, you can use grated lemon peel in its place.
serves 4
1 preserved lemon, rind only, finely minced
1 c Greek yogurt, plain
2 t white vinegar
1T olive oil
{no need for salt, there is plenty in the lemons}
4 slices Calabrese salami

2 c finely shredded green cabbage
1 c Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, shaved thinly on a mandoline

In a small bowl combine the lemon, yogurt, vinegar and oil. Set aside and allow the flavor of the lemons permeate the yogurt.

Prepare the vegetables. With the fennel, place in cold water after slicing until ready to use.

In a saute pan, over medium heat, carefully fry the salami until crisp, about 2 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Remove the fennel from the water and pat dry.  Layer the vegetables amongst 4 plates, then drizzle with the dressing.

Top with a slice of the salami.

Happy almost end of winter!