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Wild Rice Salad With Kale and Roasted Grapes

One of the toughest things about this job is staying inspired.

One would think this would be no problem in the age of blogging and Pinterest, food aggregator websites, and Feedly, but I think I've reached my personal saturation point with Internet media. I am no longer inspired. I'm just overwhelmed.

It could also be the change in the seasons. Autumn hit hard and fast here in Portland. I can see my breath when I walk home from work at night, and I took my gloves and knee socks out of storage. And while I'm ready for fall, change is always difficult. My body is adjusting to shorter, cooler days, and to be honest I'm just feeling a little meh right now. It happens.

I experience these lulls every once in a while. I charge through my to-do list and keep up with blogging for months on end, and then I just crash. It's okay, and I know it will pass, but for the moment I'm feeling dormant.

In the meantime, however, this salad is for you. Since inspiration is not always forthcoming, I tend to keep a variety of staples in the fridge for such occasions. I'll cook up a pound of rice or a big pot of beans or maybe a heap of roasted vegetables, and if all else fails I know I have those things waiting for me. This week, I found a bag of wild rice in the grain bin and cooked it up, having no idea what I would do with it, but knowing that it would come in handy. It did.

Yesterday, I made a wild rice salad with kale, carrots, tofu, and miso dressing. It was delicious, and in typical Megan fashion, I did not write down the ingredients. But today, I took more of that wild rice and turned it into another, equally delicious salad, and I took note. Just for you.

I had a bunch of so-so grapes in the fridge that needed improving, so I did what I usually do with inferior produce and roasted them. This was undoubtedly a good idea. I threw in toasted walnuts and blue cheese because, not only did they happen to be in our larder, they both pair remarkably well with wild rice. I added shredded kale because I'm always looking for an excuse to eat kale even if its media heyday is over.

And in no time, I had a salad that seemingly came together out of thin air. It won't change your life, but it might be just what you need if you're feeling a little...meh.

Other articles you might enjoy: Green Rice, Pumpkin and Black-Eyed Pea Cakes, Raw Kale Salad With Pepitas and Parmesan

Wild Rice Salad With Kale and Roasted Grapes
Serves 4 to 6

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss together in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet:
           2 cups stemmed seedless grapes
            2 tablespoons olive oil
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Roast, stirring occasionally, until the grapes have shriveled and are starting to collapse, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a salad bowl, combine:
           6 leaves lacinato (dinosaur) kale, deribbed and shredded
            1 tablespoon olive oil
            2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Massage the kale with your hands until it wilts. Add to the bowl and toss:
           2 1/2 cups cooked wild rice (from about 3/4 cup raw)*
            1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
            4 ounces blue cheese (the stronger and saltier the better)
When the grapes have finished roasting, add them to the bowl and toss. Taste and season accordingly with:
           Salt and pepper

*To cook wild rice, rinse and drain 1 cup wild rice. Place in a saucepan with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir once, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and most of the kernels are splayed, about 35 to 45 minutes.

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