Remember when I mentioned that there are very few reasons I get up before 7am? Well, all that went out the window when I signed up for a 7:45am ornithology class this semester. Waking up at 6:30 is required if I want to get to my class fully dressed, hair brushed, and on time. Well, lucky me, this past Tuesday our lab required software only available in a computer lab 25 minutes farther away from my normal class building (I guess not too many people spend time analyzing the amplitude and frequency of the call of the Common Loon). I cringed when I got the news. I set my alarm clock for 6am and turned the volume up a couple notches when I crawled into bed that night.
My worries were for naught; I embraced the early morning fully. I woke up when my alarm clock sounded (didn’t even press snooze once), got ready, and even made a breakfast of loaded oatmeal and chai before heading out the door.
Maybe I was just having a good day, but maybe there really is something energizing about waking up before the sun. I felt much more connected with my actions and my decisions throughout the day– it’s easy to bustle around as usual in the daylight, but in the wee hours of the morning, it’s hard not to stop for a least a minute and ask what the heck you’re doing intruding on Mother Nature’s alone time–and realize that every place you go, and every decision you make is by choice. I will stop before my insight spirals into unacceptable depths. But I will say–cool things happen when you do something you don’t normally, like getting up extra early. Try doing something different today and see what new insight it gives you. You can start with making this scrumptious salad.
Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from davidlebovitz.com
Makes 4-6 servings
3/4 cup wild rice
6 cups peeled and cubed root vegetables of your choice (I used beets and sweet potatoes)
Sea salt and black pepper
2 spring onions or green onions, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and chives (or other favorite herbs)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Put the wild rice in a saucepan and cover with plenty of salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle boil and cook the rice until it’s tender, about 45 minutes. While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the cubed vegetables over the pan and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the vegetables with the olive and spread them on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the vegetables are fully cooked. When the rice is done, drain it well and toss it in a large bowl with the cooked vegetables and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, stir in the onions and herbs. Make the lemon-tahini dressing by stirring together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and soy sauce, then pour it over the salad and stir it in well. Taste, and add a bit more salt and lemon juice, if desired. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.