Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches and Snap Peas

“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” – Alice Hoffman

This quote made me feel so good when I read it this morning that I just had to re-post it! I ran across it on one of the blogs I recently subscribed to named A Pastry Affair.

I am a lucky girl. I met my wonderful, adventurous boyfriend Travis in 2007. In the summer of 2008 we moved in together and the next spring we bought the townhouse that we currently live in. In February 2010 I left my job, my career, from a company that I had worked at for just over 10 years with a primary purpose of returning to school to get my bachelors degree. The past 2 years I have been doing just that. I’m a full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University, my major is Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. People ask me all the time what will I be doing when I’m done with school. Where are you going to work? Can you get your job back at Dominion? I love to respond truthfully…I don’t know yet and I’m not pressured to know. Travis just wants me to focus on school and be happy and enjoy the process. The spring semester ended about a month ago. So far my summer has involved starting this blog, planting, spring cleaning, reading, going to the pool, having friends over and helping my son Devin wrap up his first year in high school (his last day is tomorrow).  Like I said, I’m a lucky girl!

Reading this quote helped me to stop for a minute this morning and appreciate my “luck”. I even asked myself if my luck has anything to do with the fact that I grow lavender and roses? I grow rosemary…though it’s not by my front gate it’s on my roof. I certainly add pepper to mashed potatoes but I would never throw salt over my left shoulder because it only means that I would have to sweep it up later!! The thoughts caused me to giggle to myself as I sat with my cup of coffee and my laptop after returning home from driving my son to school.

I feel like I took a risk trying this recipe last night. Why? 1) Because I have never tried black forbidden rice (I’m a white rice or risotto kinda girl) and 2) even though I like fruit mixed with savory dishes, I thought the peaches would be a little too sweet AND I figured Devin and Travis would be like, “What? You ruined our shrimp by putting weird looking rice and fruit on it?”. But I got lucky. This recipe was divine! It was a hit! I literally can’t wait to share it with guests when I make it again. It has sweet notes from the honey and peaches but the vinegar and oil in the dressing balance it all out. The snap peas add a nice crunch (if you make this be sure to not overcook them! When they get bright green they are done.) Here are the snap peas trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces.

The shrimp I used were large, fresh shrimp that were on sale at Fresh Market this week. I  peeled and deveined them before cooking. The rice, peaches and snow peas paired perfectly with the seafood!

The only teeny-tiny change I made to Giada’s recipe was to replace the fresh grated ginger with a heaping teaspoonful of jarred grated ginger from The Ginger People. It keeps in the fridge for months and it’s so super easy to use in recipes! This recipe is not available online and is taken directly from Giada’s new cookbook, Weeknight’s With Giada.

Black Forbidden Rice with Shrimp, Peaches and Snap Peas

From Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black forbidden rice
  • 1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 peaches, stones removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups water, the rice, ginger and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  • Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked through and opaque, 4-5 minutes. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool. Using paper towels, wipe the pan dry.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the snow peas and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the peaches and cook for another 2 minutes (reduce the to 1 minute if your peaches are very ripe). Transfer the peas and peaches to the serving bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining 1/4 cup oil, honey and soy sauce until smooth. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture. Add shrimp and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here’s an article from CNN on the health benefits of black rice.

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Lemon Thyme and Lemon Rosemary Homemade Salt Scrub

I’m so excited about this because it easy, homemade, organic and WAY cheaper than buying a similar prepared product in the store. Also it’s perfect for gift giving. I love this so much that after making this first batch I want to make it known that this is only my first of many flavor concoctions! I decided to make it yesterday as a mother’s day gift. I knew that I would be meeting my mom this morning at a farmer’s market near her house and this is one of the things I wanted to share with her.

This recipe was inspired from a recipe I found on Pinterest a month or so ago from Jaclyn at Food Plus Words.

Lemon Thyme and Lemon Rosemary Salt Scrub

(Adapted from Food Plus Words)

Ingredients

  • Organic Grapeseed Oil
  • Organic Lemon essential oil (4-8 drops)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary

Preparation

  • The recipes I reviewed said the salt and oil should be measured 2 parts salt to 1 part oil. I found that you needed just slightly more oil than that. Measure it exactly first then add oil by teaspoon fulls until it is slightly covering the salt once everything settles.
  • So start by measuring the salt and pour into a prepared jar of your choice. Add oil, essential oil drops and fresh herbs. For the thyme I picked and stemmed it and added the tiny leaves whole. For the rosemary I stemmed it and chopped it until it was about the size of the thyme leaves.
  • In the larger jar I mixed 3/4 salt, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, 6-7 drops of essential oil and about 2 tablespoons of thyme.
  • In the two slightly smaller jars I mixed (in each jar) 1/2 salt, 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, 4 drops of essential oil and in one jar little over a tablespoon of thyme in the other jar a little over a tablespoon of rosemary.
  • To use: stir around with a small spoon or small wooden scoop to mix. Take about a 1/2 teaspoon if washing your hands with it and scrub…when done rinse and pat dry. Can also be used on feet, knees or elbows.
  • I printed tags and put ribbons on the jars for gift giving!