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A couple weeks ago, I received a friendly email from Nicole at Goose Valley Wild Rice. She offered to send me some samples of their wild rice, and I happily accepted! After all, wild rice is one of my favorite grains — I just love its chewy texture and uniquely nutty flavor.

Upon opening the package from Goose Valley, I was excited to find not only my favorite plain wild rice, but also a lovely looking whole-grain blend. The Brown & Wild Rice Fusion includes CalMati Brown Rice, Heirloom Red Rice, Wild Rice, and Calmochi Sweet Brown Rice, all of which are grown in California.

I cooked up a bag according to the package directions, and was rewarded with a big pot of fluffy and delicious grains. I loved the mix of textures and flavors in this blend, and somehow, all the different grains cooked evenly in their allotted 30 minute cooking time. Goose Valley, I am thoroughly impressed, and you’ve inspired me to come up with whole grain blends of my own!

As for what to do with this delicious rice, you can serve it plain alongside your protein of choice, or dress it up like I did and make a wild rice salad. I used my Sesame Soy Vinaigrette and lots of cilantro for an Asian-inspired flavor, then loaded the salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and tofu for a California twist. There are more vegetables and tofu than rice in this recipe, which keeps things nice and light.

In addition to the rice, I used another great product for this recipe — the TofuXpress. It’s a handy kitchen gadget used to press excess water out of tofu. I used to press my tofu wrapped in paper towels and sandwiched between two dishes, but the TofuXpress provides a far less messy and wasteful method. I’ve pressed three blocks of tofu so far with great success. In just two hours, much of the water is pressed out of my firm tofu, rendering it extra-firm and ready to pan-fry. Pressed tofu fries up crispier and chewier than straight-out-of-the-package tofu, and also maintains its integrity much better, so it’s less likely to break up when you stir it into this salad.

Wild Rice Salad

3 C. cooked Brown & Wild Rice Fusion (about 1/2 a 10oz. bag)
1 (14oz) block firm tofu, pressed for at least two hours and cut into 3/4″ cubes
olive oil spray (I use a Misto sprayer)
1/2 C. Sesame Soy Vinaigrette
1 small English cucumber, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 C. grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 C. cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias

1. Put the cooked rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

2. Heat a medium (10″) skillet over medium heat. Spray lightly with olive oil, then add the tofu, tossing occasionally until nicely browned.

3. Add the tofu to the bowl with the rice. Pour the vinaigrette in, and stir to combine. Gently fold in the cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro and green onions.

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