Saturday, June 09, 2012

Beau's Big Day

My friend June has a darling chocolate-colored miniature poodle named Beau. The first time I ever laid eyes on that puppy, I declared him to be a future agility star (as he was all springy legs). Turns out, I may be a prophet. June entered him in an agility class a few months ago, and he excelled. Only one other dog signed up for the class, so they got a lot of hands-on, quality time with the much so, that they decided to enter their first agility trial today down in Westport. Of course, I insisted on going and rooting for Beau and June. And...drumroll, please...he qualified on BOTH of his first competitive runs! YAY!

It was a long day, as we had to be there at 7:30 to get him measured for his jump height, and we didn't leave until about 5pm. But June had a nice sun shelter and some comfy chairs, and we chatted amiably with the two ladies from the independently-owned pet food shop in town, and also a local vet. Other than Beau's victorious runs, the best part of the day was lunch, prepared by June and myself. I brought honey-dijon chicken salad with apples, walnuts, chives, and craisins on mini-croissants, and June made this amazing black rice salad with mango, orange, and peanuts. Yeah, I had never heard of black rice either, but if it can be purchased in my tiny town, I have no doubt that you can source it where you live, too. Our lunch was so beautiful, that people passing by our shelter kept asking where they could buy some. Um, sorry, but a burger is about all you can get on the food cart at the Essex Fairgrounds. ;-) But as I told the folks, you can (and SHOULD!) make this stuff at home.

Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts
(Source: Epicurious)

2 oranges
1/4 cup (or more) fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam; optional)
2 cups black rice (preferably Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice)
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2" dice
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeƱos, seeded, minced

Remove peel and white pith from oranges. Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.

Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend. Set dressing aside.

Bring rice and 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing, and season lightly with salt; let cool.

Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine. Season lightly with salt and more lime juice, if desired.

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