Unlike a lot of bloggers (some of whom read this blog) I'm not a foodie. If a dish is edible, and doesn't contain a mountain of revolting ingredients, and (most important of all) I didn't have to cook it? I like it. And happily eat it.
And yet, I just won a prize for my cooking.
Which just goes to show you that, if you pick the right recipe, and follow the directions, you, too, can win first prize for The Best Side Dish in the All Friends/No Family Thanksgiving Dinner potluck. With at least 60 dishes in the categories of Appetizer, Side dish, and Dessert, the odds were 20 to 1 against my winning anything, and yet, I won best side dish for
Wild Rice and Pecan Salad
1 cup raisins (I use Golden raisins because they're pretty)
1 cup wild rice
4 1/4 cups water
1 cup pecan halves and 3/4 cups pecan pieces
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion/scallion
1/3 cup olive oil (Oh, OK. EVOO, a/k/a Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Soak raisins in hot water until plump; drain well.
Cook rice in water. (It occurs to me--now, when it's too late to do any good--that a teaspoon of salt in the cooking water would probably improve things.)
Toast pecans @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Mix cooked rice, plumped raisins, and sliced green onion in a large bowl.
Whisk olive oil, vinegar and pepper.
Pour over rice mixture.
Chill covered until serving time. Add toasted pecans and mix lightly.
Allow me to enumerate the many perfections of this recipe. It is
3. uses two indigenous American ingredients (thus making it perfect for Thanksgiving)
4. can be made ahead
5. can be served cold or at room temperature, AND
6. might win you a prize
(Personally, I thought the sweet potato fluff with chopped nuts would totally waltz away with the prize, but who am I to question the judgment of my public?)