It's still snowing heavily all over Italy and it already reached the southernmost point of the country (except Sicily). Places that almost never experience snow and boast of beautiful, warm winters are now snowed in, some with even 2 meters of snow. It's chaotic in the roads, some towns don't have electricity and means of heating system, no water, meager supplies of food in the shops (if they are even open), zero visibility in the roads making the trucks delivering supplies stranded in the roads. When I watch the news, it doesn't seem like Italy. It seems like another country I don't know.
With all these confusion and state of emergency all over the country, I look outside the window and wonder if this is happening just around me. There is not a single snowflake around, the sun is out and the day is beautiful as always. Only, I don't need to go out to feel the difference of this winter from the others we went through. It is freezing outside. The temperature refuses to go up. We are always at 3 degrees Celsius in the middle of the day and below zero when nighttime arrives.
Let me introduce you to a recipe I hurriedly put together for a side dish to a lunch of Lemony Chicken Marsala on the day it snowed. You can create this in well under half an hour including the chicken. My husband's brother joined us at the last minute for lunch and he had to catch his plane immediately after eating so I was in extreme time pressure to create something good and presentable from my existing supplies in the kitchen with half an hour to work on.
I had this lone avocado amongst a bowl of fruits and I thought, since it went well with the Rice Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate & Chicken, it can go well together again with other ingredients. When I put them together in the bowl, I grabbed the jar of black sesame seeds, toasted them, and sprinkled them on the rice. There, that was the last beautiful thing I saw right before I called it quits in playing snowball fight with the kids.
The snow that fell on our area the other day didn't completely cover the grass. It created a beautiful splotched art of green, white and black in the garden. The vividness of the grass contrasted so beautifully with the whiteness of the snow, accentuated by some patches of the almost black soil.
It's a very refreshing rice salad that could be eaten alone or as a side dish to a savory meat or fish dish. In fact, it seems summery, but then, at times, in the middle of winter, we look for something light. Although I would say that it seems better as a side dish because it complemented the Lemony Chicken Marsala so well. Either way, you will enjoy it.
Our words for today are:
Mint = menta.
Rice = riso.
Jasmine Rice with Avocado, Mint & Black Sesame SeedsIngredients:
- 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice (or any other rice)
- 1 avocado, diced
- Fresh mint, torn to little pieces
- Fresh parsley, torn to little pieces
- 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
- About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Boil the rice in a saucepan with 1-1/2 cups of water on high flame. Once it boils and the water starts to rise, put the fire at the lowest and cover partially. Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl to cool when cooked.
- Over low heat, toast the sesame seeds in another saucepan.
- In a big bowl, mix the rice, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, mint & parsley leaves. Mix carefully so you don't squash the avocado.
- In a small bowl, whisk the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Adjust the taste according to your liking then pour this mixture in the rice and mix carefully.
- Serve as a side dish.