Today's Foodie Files is for you if you find yourself in any of the following categories:
A) You're in the market for the tasty side dish trump card (Potluck picnics will never be the same).
B) You crave J. Alexanders on an hourly basis.
C) You enjoy good food.
If you're thrown off by B, it's probably cause you're not from around these parts. J. Alexanders is a snazzy restaurant here in Tennessee (and 12 other states) that's so...crazy...good. Especially their Orzo and Wild Rice salad- it's one of my favorites things to eat in Nashville. My family and I always joked that it has so many ingredients, it can't possibly be cost effective to make...but I couldn't help myself from trying just once for the sake of those of you outside the greater J. Alexander area. As complicated as it seemed, it was surprisingly easy to make. Once you get past all the dicing, you're pretty much home free. Give it a go next time you grill out and let me know how it tastes!
1 1/2 cups dry orzo
3 cups cooked wild rice
1/4 cup red onions, diced
6oz dried Craisins
11oz can of Golden Sweet whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cook orzo and wild rice according to package directions. I cheated and used a fully cooked wild rice package from Trader Joe's...it saved so much time and tasted great (it seems I'm the only Spanish person in the world afraid to make rice...I'm working on it, believe me).
Broil slivered almonds on high for 1 minute (watching closely) or until slightly brown and roasted.
In a bowl large enough to toss easily, combine rice, orzo, onions, Craisins, corn, roasted almonds, and diced peppers.
In a blender or food processor combine honey, mustard, basil and vinegar. Add olive oil and blend until thickened.
Gently mix your dressing into your orzo mixture and there you have it- the ultimate Summer side dish!