I had a bunch of good things happening this year and I can’t complain at all! But the last days of 2011 are kind of cloudy. A small health issue brought me to Brazil this week and that’s exactly from where I am writing to you now.
Fortunately, everything is solved and I’m fine. But I have to wait to come back “home” and the idea of spending New Year’s Eve so far from my husband and daughters is just terrifying me. Sorry but this is going to be a short talk, I don’t want to get too emotional.
I am here, instead, to wish you a super, SUPER vibrant 2012!! Oh, and to help you kick it off with an equally vibrant dish.
Brown rice with marinated feta dressing, garnished with roasted eggplants, baby arugula and pomegranate seeds, how does it sound to you? This is a plate that can be either served warm as a side dish or cold as a salad. Several steps can be made ahead to save you some time. Just put everything together a couple hours before starting your party and go dress your self up!!
Start with the marinated feta up to a week before, it really tastes better and better with each passing day.
And I like to use crumbled feta here, it gets mixed with olive oil creating naturally the perfect dressing for the rice. If you think you put too much oil, strain the excess and save it for future vinaigrette recipes.
Place crumbled feta in a clean container. Add garlic cloves, thyme, garlic powder, cover with olive oil and set it on the fridge for up to a week.
For the rice I bought a mix of wild rice and brown rice. The black wild grains gave an extra appeal to the dish but they can be expensive. So, you can use whatever blend you prefer, just make sure to use a variety of whole grains.
To cook the rice, place 5 cups of water in a medium saucepan, add salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft. Let it rest for extra 10 minutes. Loose the rice with a fork.
Cut eggplant in ½ in thick slices, brush with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper and thyme. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
Take the feta and discard garlic cloves and thyme.
In a large bowl, mix rice, marinated feta, pomegranate seeds and green onions. Add pepper and salt according to your taste.
To set your plate, you have two options. First, to build it like I did, start with a bed of baby arugula, prepared rice and slices of roasted eggplant on the side.
Or, as I said before, you can just serve it as cold salad by chopping the roasted eggplant and mixing it into the rice with baby arugula. Serve immediately.
Happy New Year!!!