This week I embarked on my maiden voyage as someone’s “personal chef.” My sister Emily is working a temporary gig that involves 12 1/2 hour work days for 10 days straight. Needless to say that leaves little time or energy to prepare meals for said working day. So I offered to prepare her meals in advance; the only catch is she doesn’t have access to anything to heat her food and she eats what is generally deemed an anti-inflammation diet.
My creations had to taste good cold and only involve a limited list of ingredients, generally a whole food diet of mostly vegetables, some grains and fish but with the noted exclusions of nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants), citrus, corn, gluten and meat. It was a challenge, but between the two of us we came up with some winners.
This rice salad is one that I found while working for the co-op deli, and while I cannot attest to its authenticity in terms of being Indonesian I can testify to its sparky flavors and surprising combination of sweet, sour and crunchy (toasted cashews!)
Indonesian Rice Salad
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 each of red, orange, yellow bell peppers, diced
1 cup pineapple, diced (1/2 can, juice reserved)
1/2 jalapeno, deseede, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated, separated into 2 (about 4 inch piece)
1/3 cup cashews, toasted (either dry fry in skillet or in toaster oven but keep eye on them as they begin to burn quickly)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2-3 teaspoons honey (optional)
Cook rice as directed. In bowl combine peppers, jalapeno, celery, pineapple, herbs, toasted cashews and 1 tablespoon fresh ginger. Mix olive oil, cider vinegar, remaining ginger, and 1/3 cup reserved pineapple juice until well blended. If desired, add honey and mix to blend. Combine rice with rest of ingredients and pour dressing over all. Mix well and chill.