Prepping the wild rice and quinoa before this weekend was so helpful in making this wintery salad. The instructions I give below are as if you are making all at the same time, but feel free to make the grains ahead and add them to the onion mixture in the saute pan to heat up. Or use any leftover grain you have waiting in the fridge or freezer to join up with some apples and onions.
So this past weekend, a group of us spent a nice cozy time in a cabin in the mountains. We arrived with our arms full of snowboards, skis, bags of food, wine, tequila and suitcases full of snow clothes. On Saturday, we had a little winter adventure playing in the snow. When three people hit the slopes, K and I went snowshoeing up an unexpectedly steep hike. It was so much fun! We had one pair of snowshoes and one ski pole....so we would swap every so often. The snowshoe-less person would get the pole to help balance on the slippery parts. The best part of the hike was finding an igloo at the end! We ran over and climbed into the little snow hut...and wow was it cool (literally, haha). Actually with the exception of the floor, it was quite a nice temperature.
After climbing out, we met up with the others and headed home to make a feast. And that it was. We had baked brie with honey and nuts, dates and almonds, rosemary bread, olives, grapes, tomatoes and wine. This was just the appetizer phase. For the meal we had baked asparagus and fingerling potatoes (M's speciality), both topped with truffle salt. Then freshly boiled crab, baked halibut and wild rice apple salad. We finished off with a tasting of salted chocolate. It was such a divine dinner...especially after a full day of snow activities.
Wild Rice Apple Salad
Yields 6-8 servings
3/4 cup wild rice, dry
3/4 cup quinoa, dry
Vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced into small thin slices
2 Tbsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lemons, squeezed and juiced
1 Granny smith apple, cut into small cubes
Olive or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
Start with cooking the wild rice first because it takes the longest. Add enough vegetable or chicken broth and water to completely cover the wild rice and more (at least 2 cups) in a medium to large pot (more liquid is better than not enough...you can always strain it out at the end). Turn up to medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check every so often to be sure you have enough broth/water in the pot. Add more accordingly. After 30 minutes, add the quinoa and more water. Cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a medium saute pan with the olive or grapeseed oil. Add the onion. Saute until soft and translucent. Add 1 Tbsp dried sage and salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Cut apple into small diced cubes. Put in a medium bowl and juice the lemons over the apples. This will keep them from turning brown, especially if you have leftovers. Toss apples in lemon juice.
Remove the wild rice and quinoa from heat. Strain if you need to. Pour into a large serving bowl. Add the onion mixture and apples and all the lemon juice left in bottom of bowl. Add in the almonds, remaining sage, enough oil to coat everything, and salt and pepper. Stir and make sure everything is evenly coated, flavored and mixed. Add more of anything else, according to your taste.
Serve immediately or refrigerate and eat cold or warmed. Eat as a light lunch, a side dish to dinner, or as an appetizer before lunch the next day, like we did!