Monday, December 8, 2014

A Well-Seasoned Kitchen Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Elegant Wild Rice Salad

At this time of year as everyone gathers together with their family, I get just a little bit melancholy thinking about how much I miss the loved ones that I have lost. I miss my mom, dad, grandparents, special aunts and uncles and several friends that passed away far too soon. What I wouldn't give to spend just one more Christmas with them. On the bright side, I must also say that remembering the ones I have lost also makes me that much more grateful for those that I still have in my life.

On this same sentimental train of thought, I was recently offered an opportunity to review a very special cookbook by a mother and daughter team, Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper. After noticing that her mother was beginning to suffer the early effects of memory loss, daughter Lee was wisely inspired to begin this book as a way to engage her mother by evoking memories of their time together cooking and entertaining.

As I looked through "The Well-Seasoned Kitchen", which contains over 180 recipes, I was slightly reminded of one of those well loved community or Junior League cookbooks. You know the kind I am talking about. The ones where contributors' favorite recipes are cooked and tweaked until they are nearly perfect, then lovingly compiled. I have a couple that I count as some of the favorite cookbooks that I own.

More along the lines of a Junior League cookbook, this book contains recipes that are smart and a little bit more dressed up than your usual community offering, but just as approachable. From Tex-Mex Cheese Fondue and Dijon Pork Chops with Arugula to Frozen Brandy Alexander Pie and Nama's Lemon Love Notes, this is definitely your go to cookbook for a bridal shower, al fresco dinner party or girlfriend luncheon.

Sadly, Sally passed away a few years ago, but what a great gift she left behind in the form of this cookbook. I really enjoyed flipping through their delicious recipes and reading her and her daughter's anecdotes and seeing their family photos. It is a nice little peek into the lives of a loving mother and daughter and their warm, well-seasoned lives. In my opinion, just perfect for this time of year.

Elegant Wild Rice Salad

After pouring over this cookbook several times (like I like to do), I finally landed on making this recipe since I thought it a good one for Christmas and New Year's buffets, and boy was I ever right. I can see where this dish would be just as perfect with a prime rib roast as it would be with a chicken salad sandwich. This would also be a great party dish since it makes enough for at least 8 - 10 people.

3 cups wild rice, rinsed, or a mixture of wild with white and/or brown rice (I used wild and brown jasmine)
2 - 6 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 - 10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pint small cherry tomatoes, halved
Toasted slivered almonds (I used a 2.5 ounce package)

1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt (I used celery seed with good results)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 of the juice from 1 jar of the marinated artichokes

In a large saucepan, heat 2 quarts and 1 cup water and rice to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is done. Drain off any remaining liquid. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving marinade for dressing. Chop artichoke hearts and add to rice with thawed peas, green pepper, green onions, tomatoes and half of the reserved marinade. Set aside.

In a large lidded jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well. Toss half into rice mixture. Cover and chill. Just before serving, toss again and taste. Add additional dressing as needed and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and serve.

Rice salad can be made the night before and refrigerated.

As with all my giveaways, I like to keep things simple. You are entered by just commenting below or on Savoury Table's Facebook page by clicking on the button at the top right of this page. If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book it can be found in bookstores, home good and specialty gift shops, and on I will be choosing my winner on Monday, December 15th. Drawing is open to US addresses only. Please be sure I have a way of contacting you in case you are my winner. If notified, you have 48 hours to contact me or an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!

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