Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party-In-Your-Mouth Salad: Yesterday’s Mavens, Today’s Foodies

I have another new cookbook release to tell you about! Yes, I am officially a cookbook junkie. I treat cookbooks like novels, reading them page by page and immersing myself in the recipes, stories and photos. You can learn deeply about a culture or time in history by reading about what was being cooked and why. And then you get to create and eat the food!

This new book, Yesterday’s Mavens, Today’s Foodies, is a treasure of recipes and stories compiled by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society. It is full of history and anecdotes passed from generation to generation. The recipes are classic (Mama’s Gefilte Fish), intriguing (Blind Date Cake) and contemporary (Mojitos for a Crowd). You will find quite a range here: Ashkenazic and Sephardic, old and new, sweet and savory.

I had the pleasure of being involved in a small way ... if you turn the book over I am pictured on the back cover with Katherine Scharhon, a Seattle cook known for her delectable recipes. Together we are “yesterday’s maven and today’s foodie.” It was an honor and thrill when my friend, Leah, asked me to take part (and fun to have my first photo shoot!).

A lovely event was held to celebrate the launch of this new collection. Leah, who is an incredible chef and caterer, cooked a wide array of dishes from the cookbook. Pumpkin borekas, quinoa tabouli, dolmas, zucchini quesado, faux chopped liver and herring and beet salad ... and the desserts! Oh my. The dish that I went back for seconds of (perhaps even thirds) was the Party-In-Your-Mouth Salad. You just have to try something with a name like that, right?

This colorful salad is sweet and tangy, chewy and crunchy. The flavors come alive together and create, well – a party. Wild rice is combined with dried apricots, almonds, currants, dried cranberries (pomegranate seeds could be marvelous, too), garlic and red onion and dressed with a zippy vinaigrette. I recommend trying this one as a side on your holiday table or, since it multiplies easily, anytime you are feeding a crowd.

Party-In-Your-Mouth Salad
From Yesterday’s Mavens, Today’s Foodies
Contributed by Iantha Sidell
Serves 4 (scaled down - original recipe serves 16)

1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
3/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook the rice in the broth for about 45 minutes, until the rice is soft and kernels pop open. Transfer the rice to a bowl and let cool.

Add the apricots, cranberries, currants, cranberries, almonds, red onion, parsley and garlic to the rice and stir gently.

Combine the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Toss the rice salad with your preferred amount of dressing, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


  1. So that's you in the apron? So cute! I have the same problem (?) as you with cookbooks...but it makes my Xmas wish list easy. I've put more Claudia Roden on my list too, like you I love her! Congratulations!

  2. This cookbook sounds so lovely! What a nice idea. And that photo of you and Katherine Scharhon on the back is just adorable. This dish sounds delicious - indeed, how can you resist a dish with a name like this?!

  3. Well, the salad and the cookbook look amazing. But, I have to admit, "Party in your mouth salad" could be taken in way too many ways! Not to mention, a delicious one. What a fantastic recommendation. Thank you!

    Thank you, Sara! Cookbook junkies unite...somehow there's always more on my wish-list. So glad to hear you have Claudia Roden on your list. :)

  5. @katherinemartinelli
    Aw, thank you, Katherine! This is a marvelous cookbook and I have quite a few recipes marked to try. So much cooking, so little time...a problem I enjoy!

  6. @Mikaela Cowles
    You're welcome, Mikaela, and I definitely giggled reading your comment. :)

    Enjoy our blustery day!

  7. This salad sounds scrumptious! And your photo on the back of a're such a celeb! How neat!

  8. I'm a cookbook junkie too - and I like to read them for information as much as for recipes, just like you. I'll keep my eyes peeled for this one. I love the historical nature of the food we eat. Thanks for highlighting this book - and what a great photo!

  9. @documentingourdinner
    Thank you, Brianne - it was fun to be involved with such a terrific endeavor. Happy Friday!

    Thank you, Susan! Isn't food history fascinating? I got an old copy of the New York Times Heritage Cookbook at our library sale this fall and love reading about all the influences on American cooking. Have a great weekend!

  11. Mmm...pumpkin bourekas. That sounds like a pretty perfect combination of Old World meets New World.
    What a wonderful idea for a cookbook: how exciting that you got to be a part of it! I made a wild rice and dried fruit salad all the time when I first graduated college. Not sure why exactly, but I'd been thinking about recreating that dish for the past few weeks. But, there is no way I could compete with a title as exciting your dish.

  12. @Molly
    Hi Molly - yes, I'm very happy to have been a part of the book. This was my first time making a wild rice salad and I loved it. You were on to something good in your post-college days! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Look at you!!! How awesome that you get to represent "today's foodies." Such a neat idea for a cookbook, too. AND the salad looks fabulous!

  14. @Lauren
    Thank you, Lauren! This is a terrific cookbook - lots to try. I'll be making this rice salad many more times, too.

  15. Oh I love this salad! Perfect for the festive season.


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