Monday, October 26, 2009

Rice Salad in Croustades

I had a couple cups of leftover brown rice to use up. Sure, I could have disguised it in burritos, but I also had stale bread. People, you know what stale bread means in this family. You don't? Oh sorry, it means break out the clarified butter because mama's making toast. Our croƻtons. Or croustades. Whatever. Stale bread and clarified butter are two of the best-est things in the whole wide world. They are, trust me. I used stale squash rolls for these. You know, I re-purposed them. So hey, how about that Austrian/English side of the family...

...and for those brown rice haters, just fill them up with cheese chunks. Not as elegant, but eh, whatever.

The rice salad is beautiful. Really, it is-and it used-up odds and ends in the fridge. That half a mini-box of raisins my son forgot to finish last weekend when we were out? Yeah, I remembered them in my purse and tossed them into the salad. Stop looking at me like that-it isn't like I dug Tic-Tacks and Dentyne out of the bottom of my purse and stuck those in. Give me some credit, OK? Green pepper entering "use it or lose it" territory? In it goes.

Anyway, once I stuffed it into the cute little toast cups no one knew they were essentially eating food that would have otherwise been tossed-out. It wasn't gone off-just needed a bit of a face-lift. Like the cook.

For the Croustades:

Stale bread, sliced and stuffed into a muffin tin.
Clarified butter for brushing (melted-duh)
If you want to be super-fancy, some grated hard cheese in the bottom is a nice touch. Yes, you know you want the cheese you fancy-pants-croustade-baking-haus frau, you. Or me. Look, the cheese is optional, OK?

Bake them in a 400 degree F. Oven until toasted-about fifteen minutes. Cool on a rack. Fill as desired.

For The Rice Salad:

2 cups cooked brown rice
Glug of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Handful raisins
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Sprinkling of sunflower seeds
Chopped parsley

Heat the oil and cook the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot until softened. Add spices, raisins and cooked rice. Add balsamic vinegar.Adjust salt and pepper. Toss in chopped parsley and sunflower seeds. Serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed.

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