An unexpected result of being away from home is that I am slimming down quickly. My home is typically stocked with all kinds of little bites for me to graze on throughout the day. Now that I have a few storage and cooking limitations, I think long and hard before putting an item into my shopping basket. That means meal planning is a lot more organized and I make sure to only purchase items I need for dishes I plan to make in the next few days. Just one week into my training and my clothes are already fitting a little more loosely. Imagine that!
Aside from more disciplined eating habits, I’m also craving different food in this warm weather. Salads that are ready to eat directly out of the fridge is the norm. Since the bean and butternut squash salad, I have also finished a batch of green bean fennel red onion salad and raw Tuscan kale salad. On today’s menu was roasted acorn squash stuffed with fruit & nut wild rice salad in blood orange vinaigrette. Funny how I cannot cook rice if my life depends on it yet wild rice is something I can make with reliable success.
I learned to love wild rice salad because that’s one vegetarian dish Minnesotan Boyfriend gladly eats. There’s no recipe to follow really. I cooked the wild rice in salted water until the grains bloom. The rice were drained and mixed with dried cranberries, roasted almonds, chopped red onion, and cilantro. This healthy mix of ingredients was tossed in a vinaigrette I made using blood orange zest, juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, cinnamon, ras el hanout, salt, and pepper. The salad can be served as is, on a bed of baby spinach, or in this case, stuffed into a roasted squash half. It is sweet and tart with a toothsome texture that I adore.
Both the squash and blood oranges are locally grown organic produce I scored at Marando Farms. When I first laid eyes on the fruit, I thought they were clementine because of their diminutive size. On closer examination, the deep blush told me otherwise and the label confirmed their identity. These juicy sweet fruit are such a treat! I am seriously considering the feasibility of making marmalade in this kitchen. Now that the thought has entered my mind, I can’t stop thinking about turning those luscious blood oranges into marmalade!
Today I’m taking a day trip to Miami Beach. This is a part of town I’m familiar with since I vacationed there a couple times in recent years. I’m torn between revisiting old favourites like Joe’s Stone Crab or exploring new finds like Puerto Sagua for my beloved Cuban sandwich. This is the kind of dilemma I like.