Friday, April 15, 2011

Foodie Friday - Russian River Rice Salad

Nestled in the midst of California's beautiful wine country, but just a bit on the coast is a funky little town called Guerneville.  The Russian River flows right thru the center of town.  It's locals are eclectic, and diverse (see link) to put it mildly...and absolutely wonderful!  You can truly find all walks of life in this little town.  BUT, I caution, it's not a place for the narrow minded AT ALL, which is why I love it!  The locals range from serious hippies to the wine snobs to the absolute radical...radical as in fishing naked for example. There's a nickname for the locals...affectionately "River Rats"...and it suits them just fine.

I've been visiting Russian River ever since I was a little girl.  It's just such a magical little river.  Rustic, charming and peaceful.  In my adult years it has become a destination for our annual camping trip.  Every year about 30 family and friends get together and camp on the river one weekend in July (to celebrate my birthday!).  We spend an entire day at the river where we shoot the canoer's with water guns and always seem to capsize a few.  IT'S ALL OUT WAR!!!  The seasoned "riverites" know the score and wouldn't dare board a canoe without their water pistol.  I look forward to our annual trip every summer, thus this journal page...

We don't use your standard issue water guns.  These things shoot quite a few feet.  Distance is key when you are aiming at canoer's.   This is serious business, I told ya!

Conrad (my fella) and I set up chairs just before dusk right at the rivers edge so Conrad could fish.  He didn't catch anything but we had fun relaxing and laughing...we undoubtedly scared the fish away with all of our racket!

For the sake of this post, it all started in 2007 with a girls camping trip (sans kids and significant others!) to Russian River...

On this particular camping trip "us girls" were determined to be all out "foodies".  We enjoyed our sun filled days just lounging at the river, but our well coordinated dinners were certainly the highlight of the trip. We ate and "cocktailed" (nothing like a martini in the woods!) like a bunch of queens.  We also canoed for hours down the river too, so we earned it!  One of the notable side-dishes of  the weekend was my good friend Kari's rice dish...which after the weekend, became known as Russian River Rice Salad and is still referred to it that way to this day.  It's healthy, simple, fresh tasting and wonderful for warm weather months since it is great served cold. 

Russian River Rice Salad
1 Cup Water
1 tsp Salt Divided
1/2 Cup Long Grain Rice
6 T Fresh Lime Juice (about 2-3 limes)
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil - I use roasted garlic olive oil purchased from Costco.
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 Garlic Clove (cooked with rice)
1 Cup Rinsed & Drained Black Beans
1 Cup Fresh Corn Kernels (about 2 ears) - I usually grill them first instead of boiling them.
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
Cook rice in water with garlic and 1/2 tsp salt.  Combine remaining salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil in a large bowl.  Add rice and beans and toss.  Let stand 15 minutes to cool.  Stir in corn and cilantro.  Serve at room temperature.  Best the next day!  About 6 side servings.

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