brown rice and delicata squash

Organic Brown Rice with Broccoli Rabe, Currents, Toasted Pinenuts and Sherry Vinegar
Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia
Roasted Delicata Squash with Chestnut Honey
Wild Arugula Salad with Fuyu Persimmons in a Simple Lemon Vinaigrette

I made this delightful meal with a client last week. All of the main ingredients are fresh and in the market right now, and though I crafted the dishes through taste and inspiration rather than from recipes, I’ve tried to re-create the gist of things for you below. The rice is inspired from a similar combination that I sampled at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago – the vinegar adds a beautiful brightness to the dish and the sweetness of the currents balances the bitter of the rabe wonderfully. I found this meal to be supremely satisfying – including the full range of color, texture and flavor. The sweetness of the squash and persimmons satisfied my sweet tooth – I had no craving for desert. The rice and delicata are great leftover, so make extra.

Organic Brown Rice with Broccoli Rabe, Currents, Toasted Pinenuts and Sherry Vinegar
1 cup local organic brown rice (I use Massa Organics)
2 cups water
1 bunch Broccoli Rabe, shredded
1/4 cup currents
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 T Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 T (or to taste) Sherry Vinegar
Sea Salt to taste

Ok, first I’m just going to say that I use a Ricemaker. I love it. It’s a Tiger, bought in Japantown, and I use it nearly every day. I’m not sure where this stigma about ricemakers being “tools of the weak” came from, since no respectable kitchen in a major rice-eating culture would be caught dead without one, but if you don’t have a rice maker it is perfectly possible to make this dish without one. If you burn the bottom of your rice – don’t worry about it! Just leave the burned bit there on the bottom where it belongs and eat the other 99% of your perfectly delicious pilaf.
Ricemaker: To make this dish in the ricemaker, throw the brown rice and water in (pre-soak if you think far enough ahead) and flip the switch. When it switches over to “keep warm”, stir in your olive oil, vinegar, currents, pinenuts and broccoli rabe (you can put in more rabe than you think – it’ll shrink). Quantities are approximate, so experiment with it. Close the ricemaker for a few minutes to let the broccoli rabe cook in the rice and then season with sea salt and enjoy!

Stovetop: If you’re using the stovetop, use a sturdy pot with a thick bottom. Add rice, then water to the pot. Bring up to a boil, put on a lid and lower the heat. Let the rice simmer with the lid on for about 25-35 minutes depending on your rice. Next, remove the pot from the heat and leave the lid on. Let the rice rest and fully absorb the liquid for about five minutes. Fluff with a fork, add other ingredients and replace lid for a few more minutes. Enjoy!

Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia
1 cup soy “buttermilk” (1 cup of unsweetened soymilk + 1 T Lemon Juice) or regular buttermilk
3/4 cup organic yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat or gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Olive Oil for sauteing
4 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each)

Soak tilapia in buttermilk/soy buttermilk until ready to cook. Mix cornmeal, flour and spices together in a shallow dish. Drain tilapia and dredge (drag through cornmeal mixture to coat on both sides). Heat oil (1-2 T) in heavy skillet. Saute Tilapia on both sides over medium heat in hot oil, about 7 minutes total or until browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork . Serve with lemon wedges.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Chestnut Honey
Delicata Squash
1 T Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Chestnut Honey
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut delicata in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Slice into 1/2″ half moons and toss with Olive Oil and sea salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the underside of the squash is blistery and brown, about 10 minutes and then flip squash and roast for another 5 minutes or so until tender. (15-20 minutes total cook time). Remove from oven, brush with chestnut honey and toss to lightly coat. Enjoy!

Wild Arugula Salad with Fuyu Persimmons in a Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
Wild or Baby Arugula (or whatever Arugula you have)
Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil (use the good stuff!)
Fresh Lemon Juice
Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt
Fuyu Persimmon, sliced

Place olive oil and lemon in small bowl. My general rule for salad dressings is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. Dip fork in mustard and whisk into olive oil and lemon to emulsify. Add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Toss Aurgula and sliced persimmons with dressing and enjoy.

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