Even though the sun is setting earlier, the temperature of the water is cooling, and some 2012 garden favorites are already a memory, there’s still a riot of color in the garden. We’re picking pink and yellow tomatoes, green and red peppers, purple and yellow beans, and pearly or taxi yellow corn too.
It’s time now to lavishly combine those once-a-year flavors and colors. This week, we’ve cut the vegetables onto pizzas, pasta with basil and Parmesan, and cooked brown rice with a lemon dressing. We trim everything with bright, edible nasturtium flowers, too.
Rice makes a great backdrop for the stars of the garden, although quinoa, barley or bulgur work nicely, too. Brown rice takes a bit longer to cook, but I like its chewier, healthier texture. Colorful rice salad can be a hearty lunch or a great dinner starter for a crowd. While vibrantly fresh flavors make it easy to minimize meat this time of year, you could always add a little diced ham, some anchovies, cooked shrimp or crumbled, cooked bacon if you like.
Colorful Rice Salad
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups broth or water
- a dozen or more cherry tomatoes or various colors, halved or quartered, depending on their size
- a dozen or more thin string beans of various colors, cut in small pieces
- 2 not-hot peppers of any color, cut in small pieces
- a handful of fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, or parsley, chopped
- 1 /4 cup olive oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- nasturtium flowers for garnish (optional)
Cook the rice in the broth, covered about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool briefly. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice and pour onto the rice. Season to taste. Add the chopped vegetables and chill well. Garnish.
Serves 4 as lunch, 6 to 8 as a side.
- Add some sliced hard-boiled eggs
- Use a pesto-based dressing.
- Olives and capers might be nice as well.