Fresh Vegetables, Easy Rice Nice For Summer

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Last year I spent my birthday in Cancun, courtesy of my brother, Tommy. This year I am treating myself to a mini vacation in the eastern part of Tennessee, with its nice weather, surrounded by mountains.

I'll be painting landscapes, researching the area lakes and having a new wonderful adventure.

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Zucchini and other garden goodies are filling counter tops and refrigerators right now -- enjoy.

In the meantime I leave you with these enticing rice recipes and fabulous relishes to try: Zucchini-Lime Relish, Tricolor Relish, Pickled Beets, Sangria Mold, Fruit Pilaf, White and Wild Rice Medley and Easy Wild Rice Casserole.

Have a wonderful summer, Shirley

Zucchini-Lime Relish

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve on lettuce leaves if desired.

Makes 1-1/4 cups.

Tricolor Relishes

8 white radishes, cut into julienne strips

2 medium green peppers, cut into julienne strips

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Place radishes and green peppers in separate plastic bags. Fasten bags and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. Arrange green peppers, radishes and cherry tomatoes on crushed ice, if desired, on serving tray.

Makes 8 servings.

Pickled Beets

2 (16-ounce) cans sliced beets

1 cup vinegar

2 cups sugar

2 sticks cinnamon

Drain liquid from beets; add enough water to measure 2 cups. Heat liquid, vinegar, sugar and cinnamon to boiling. Pour over beets. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, but no longer than two weeks.

Makes 8 servings.

Sangria Mold

1-1/4 cups dry red wine

1 (3-ounce) package lemon-flavored gelatin

1 (3-ounce) package black cherry-flavored gelatin

2 cups ginger ale

3 oranges, pared, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces

Salad greens

Mayonnaise or salad dressing

Combine dry lemon and black cherry gelatin in a bowl. Heat wine to boiling. Pour on lemon and black cherry gelatin powder. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in ginger ale. Refrigerate until slightly thickened but not set. Stir orange pieces into gelatin mixture. Pour into 4-cup mold. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. Unmold on salad greens. Serve with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Garnish with orange sections.

Makes 8 servings.

Fruit Pilaf

1 cup uncooked long-grain regular rice

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

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Cooking rice is cooler than boiling potatoes, so try it as an accompaniment to garden fresh dishes.

1/3 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

2-1/4 cups water

1 cup mixed dried fruits, cut into fourths

2 tablespoons currants

2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cook and stir rice, onion and celery in margarine in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until celery is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in water, dried fruits, currants, dry bouillon, salt, sage, thyme and pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover tightly and simmer 14 minutes (do not lift cover or stir). Remove from heat; fluff lightly with fork. Cover and let steam 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Makes 6 servings.

White and Wild Rice Medley

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup uncooked wild rice

1 (2-1/2-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1/4 cup margarine or butter

1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon

2-1/2 cups boiling water

3/4 cup uncooked regular rice

Cook and stir almonds, wild rice, mushrooms and onions in margarine until almonds are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, pour into ungreased 1-1/2-quart casserole. Stir in dry bouillon and water. Cover and bake in 350-degree oven 30 minutes longer.

Makes 6 servings.

Easy Wild Rice Casserole

16 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup margarine or butter

2 (6-ounce) packages long grain and wild rice

1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook mushrooms in margarine, stirring occasionally, until tender; drain. Cook rice as directed on package; stir in mushrooms. Spoon into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. Bake in 350-degree oven until hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 10 servings.

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