Friday, January 27, 2012

Wild Rice Apple Salad and Sausage with Grapes

What happens when a journalist-marketer-graphic designer for the culinary and agricultural industries (Tracey Ryder) joins forces with a photographer-advertising executive (Carole Topalian)? A lot. They co-founded Edible Communities in 2002 and spawned the local-seasonal movement in the USA. The company currently has 70 published titles all devoted to eating local. The movement has also rolled out local magazines featuring recipes for food grown locally as well as articles devoted to the artisan farmers who make it happen. You can out more about the movement in your hometown by going to Edible Communities. It's quite a feat to transform the way a large country such as the USA eats. But partly because of Ryder and Topalian, this is a movement that grows every year. It's not surprising that Gourmet listed these two women as "game-changers."

Without knowing who Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian were, I  had been picking up Edible Twin Cities at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market for a few years. The St. Paul Farmer’s market would be approved by Ryder and Topalian – you must be within a certain radius of St. Paul to sell your items – unlike Minneapolis which has vendors selling bananas and oranges – decidedly not local!

National Public Radio released food trends for 2012. Eating local was one of them. I had to smile. I thought it had been a trend for ten years. Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian are proof of that. I am not a locavore. To do so, I would have to give up stone fruit! Not happening. But I am mindful of the seasons. 

Wild rice and apples are two of Minnesota's most lauded products. When we travel and want to bring something local to our hosts, wild rice is always included. I was happy to see a recipe for wild rice that wasn't "Drowned Wild Rice in Cream." Wild rice is hearty enough - it doesn't need to be doused with anything. 

Wild Rice and Apple Salad
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 apple, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion - chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
*optional, 1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette (below or use your favorite vinaigrette)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Whisk all.

As much as I would have loved to have presented this as dinner to "Husband-on Diet-which-means-Hell-has-frozen-over." I knew I need to supply a bit of protein and by the end of the week - another broiled chicken breast just wouldn't cut it. It was time for some winter flavor. (And sausage and grapes are local here - but not so much in January!)

I turned to Lidia Bastianich and her skillet sausage and grapes. This hails from Umbria. Only local in my heart.

Sausage and Grapes Skillet Meal by Lidia Bastianich
(I halved the recipe)
1/8 up extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage links (I used 5)
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
1-1/2 cups seedless green grapes

Under low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and when the garlic is just starting to slowly sizzle, add your sausages. Cover and keep under low heat. Turn them every five minutes or so - to let them work their way into a deep, warming brown. After ten minutes, add the peperoncino flakes - in-between the sausages. Cover and let cook for another 20-25 minutes - continuing to turn them every once in a while.

When sausages are cooking (this slow browning is just the most delectable way to serve sausages), drain the fat and add the grapes. Cover and continue to cook under low heat until the grapes start to just wrinkle and pucker and release a juice or two. Uncover and raise the heat to high. Stir the grapes so they are covered with the leftover deeply browned oil in the pan allowing them to take on the earthy flavor. After ten-minutes, serve.

Husband was happy. Daughter was happy. And while the sausages and grapes might have been miffed about the flash on the camera - I consoled myself with the fact that one must organize priorities and if cooking doesn't start until dusk - so be it. Photographing the food the next day was not an option. There were no leftovers!

Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 32 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at  One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey. 

Susan - The Spice GardenHeather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and ChutneyJeanette - Healthy Living
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds


The Food Hunter said...

I like the idea of cooking the grapes with the sausage...i will have to try that.

The Food Hunter said...

I like the idea of cooking the grapes with the sausage...i will have to try that.

Achu's Amma's Kitchen said...

i like the apple salad..

Marina said...

My husband and my daughter, and my son would love it too. Great post on local movement!

Emily Malloy said...


Hutchinsons said...

I saw her make the grapes and sausage, and couldn't quite get my mind around it for some reason. What kind of sausage did you use? Spicy, sweet? Glad you tried it and posted - it's good to have another point of view, or taste!

Your pics are great. Mine are never that good, because usually everyone is waiting at the table! And often, leftovers (if there are any) end up going to work with my husband!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I love both these dishes. You always share something delectable with us and the wild rice dish especially appeals to me. I love its nutty flavor and the slight resistance it offers to the tooth. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

TinaRBK said...

I love wild rice, actually my husband says I hoard the stuff! That picture of the apples and rice sure does want me to try it. Sweet grapes with savory sausage-count me in on that as well. I wish I had eaten at your place!
Also I think I saw something on the TV about the Edible Communities, pretty great movement as far as I am concerned.
Enjoy the weekend!

Heather S-G said...

I love all of the fabulous flavors in this meal! Yummmm.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

We eat wild rice often love it with chicken or lamb. I love both dishes... really quite comforting the photo's looks great and I ready for some right now to eat!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I never knew that about the founders of the Edible magazines. I always make it a point to pick up the latest copy when it comes out. The apples and rice would be great for dinner, but then I saw the sausage and grapes and I had to swerve and turn the figurative car around.

Jeanette said...

Isn't that funny - I've been picking up various edible publications from different cities I've visited without knowing that these two ladies were behind this movement. Lovely recipe to represent them by - I like the flavor combinations.

Anne said...

I could see myself eating the wild rice dish for dinner, but like your husband, mine would say,"Is this all we are having?"
Those dishes I would call comfort food. Yum!

Wanda..... said...

I am definitely going to make the Wild Rice Apple Salad tomorrow ...have everything I need in the pantry!

Reeni said...

I would love the wild rice for my lunches! So good with the apples and cranberries. I've seen the sausage and grape pairing before but never tried it - enjoyed your description of the cooking process! Makes me want it. Now.

WineDineDivas said...

Thank you for the wonderful recipe with grapes! love to cook with wine and the grapes are full of delicious flavors...
J & C

Kristen said...

I have never thought to put grapes with sausage. It looks wonderful. And that salad! It's flavors are just what I wish I had in front of me right now!!

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

wow...wonderful presentation of flavors...superbbbbbbbbbb presentation..
just found your your space..
very interesting posts with stunning cliks..
Am your happy follower now.;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Aarthi said...



Angie's Recipes said...

Both salad and sausage dishes are fabulous! But now I have that appetite for that wild rice salad first!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I am headed to Italy in October and have Umbria on my mind as part of my journey.Thanks for sharing this delicious dish.

Joanne said...

I love the sound of that salad! I've been picking up Edible for a while now also and had no idea who was responsible for it! Learn something new every day...

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love wild rice and think it is an unused ingredient today. Great looking salad Claudia.

My BIL is crazy about Lidia.

Shoutforfood said...

Wow. I am literally drooling over these pictures!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a lovely salad, Claudia!! Another dish I could eat day after day! My dad used to bring home the BEST apples from his trips to the Twin Cities...I dream of Northern Spies each fall :)

Monet said...

These both look just heavenly. I love the thought of sausage paired with grapes. Unusual but delicious. Thanks for sharing with me...and thank you for your kind words! I hope you are having a happy and relaxing Saturday.

Unknown said...

Two great dishes! I too cook dinner after dusk and photography meals with a flash don't work out so well. Instead I think your photo looks good. I wish I could learn more about taking good food photos.

beti said...

that combination of sausage and grapes really makes me think about what other flavors can I combine, it looks delicious!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I haven't had wild rice for a long time. It sounds delicious as a salad recipe! It looks very refreshing. Now the sausage with grapes! That sounds interesting and yummy~. Got inspired by your delicious post!

Anonymous said...

Never tried wild rice. Will have to source it. Those sausages look amazing.

chow and chatter said...

wow great meal love the apples and rice combo and its hard to eat local esp for coffee and tea hehe

My Little Space said...

Ooo...Hi Claudia, my goodness, both the sausage & wild rice salad look amazingly delish especially the wild rice salad is a must try. Hoep you're having a fabulous day, dear.

Beth said...

I agree with you. There are some things I won't give up, but I do try to be aware of what's in season and grown locally. Sometimes it leads me to the most delicious flavors!

By the way, I think you're right about wild rice. I can't imagine drowning it in a creamy sauce!

Erica said...

Both dishes sound delicious! I would love to try the salad!Fun event,Claudia!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, This is for me!! I love it. Blessings, Catherine xo

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love your wild rice mixed with apples, Claudia!
I pick up Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn when I see them, more to learn about new restaurants and food events than recipes, but from now on I will have to pay attention to the recipes!

Sausage cooked with grapes sounds so unusual but so good! Lidia's recipes are always so creative, yet easy to make.

FOODESSA said...

Being mindful of the seasons...I too am not ready to give up everything non-local. I will not give up on some of my favourite tropical fruits. When Montreal grows Mangos...then we'll talk. LOL

Thanks for sharing this lovely meal...rustic, comforting...buon appetito ;o)


Magic of Spice said...

What a great post! And this salad is just fantastic, love wild rice! And my guys could eat a huge platter of that sausage :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Claudia,

What a fabulous post! I love this wild rice & aplles salad a lot !:)

Divine food! :)