Green Rice Salad with Nectarines and Corn

Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt


Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt


Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt

The window was cracked open just enough so I could smell the ocean and hear the squawking seagulls outside. It was March so I also had the fireplace blazing to offset the chilled air coming from off the water. I was alone, in a hotel room for two nights with the primary mission to finish the proposal for what is now almost a real book.

Somewhere between the marketing plan and the recipe list I got an email from Kimberley Hasselbrink of, The Year in Food. She was asking for a bit of advice on how to write a proposal. At that point (and possibly this point too) I felt in no place to be giving advice but I gave her what I got and needed from my husband and close friends throughout this whole book-making process – a cheerleader. Someone to say, “you got this! Keep writing. It’s going to be amazing!” Because I think that maybe genius is maybe more like 1% inspiration 69% perspiration and 30% cheers, hoots and hollers coming for your cheering squad standing right beside you. I’m sure Thomas Edison would agree.

Well, Kimberley it is amazing. Your book, Vibrant Food, is full of inspiration. You have me both running to my camera to work on taking better images and into the kitchen to whip up one of the many recipes that I’ve already creased the corner of the page. Girl, you did it and you did it real good.

Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt


Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt

This salad sits right next to another in the book that I can’t wait to try but this one went first because I had all the ingredients already in the fridge and cupboards. It’s simple to make, bright and full of flavor and screams summer from the corn to the nectarines. Also, it tastes great even after a night in the fridge, which scores big-time salad points in my mind because good salads that keep are hard to come by. Somehow it’s both hearty and light and since my mind is still on picnics I think this salad would make a mighty fine picnic addition.

Green Rice Salad with Nectarine and Corn // Not Without Salt

Green Rice Salad with Nectarines and Corn

recipe from Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink

Serves 4-6


Green Rice

3/4 cup brown basmati rice

1 1/4 cups, water plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more for the sauce

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped

Zest and juice of 1 small lime

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

fine salt


Grilled Corn

2 small ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt

1/2 lime


2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

2 medium-ripe nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (I used Feta)


In a small saucepan, combine the rice and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Let the rice stand for a few minutes, then fluff. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the broiler.

To grill the corn, lightly oil both ears of corn and place in a small baking dish. Broil about 6 inches from the heat, turning every few minutes, until golden and blackened in spots, 10 -15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob to yield about 1 cup. If you have more than this amount, save it for another use. Transfer the kernels to a bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime. Set aside.

Transfer the rice to a large bowl. In a blender, combine the cilantro, parsley, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth. Add up to 1 more tablespoon of water to thin the sauce if it’s too thick. Spoon the mixture over the rice, scraping any remaining sauce out of the blender with a spatula, and mix until the rice is evenly coated.

To finish, add the corn and additional parsley and cilantro to the rice. Toss to combine. Transfer the rice to a serving platter. Sprinkle the nectarines and queso fresco over the rice in even layers. Garnish with additional parsley and cilantro. Best served immediately. Can be made up to a day in advance;bring to room temperature before serving.


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A Picnic Primer + Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt

On a recent trip to Charlotte, North Carolina I had the pleasure of sitting down to a picnic while learning the origins of informally dining outdoors and the proper picnic etiquette. We sipped chilled white wine; crisp and light, in the humid heat of the south while our instructor, Carl Libonati (the etiquette guru at the Ballantyne Hotel) taught us about what one would wear, how we should sit and what we eat on a proper picnic. But most importantly he taught us that it’s really not about us at all but whoever you are dining with. That the goal of etiquette is not to be overwhelmed with the rules but to put the focus on others and make them feel comfortable.

I remember reading somewhere that people don’t often remember the specifics of meeting you but they easily remember how you made them feel. As I bit into an oatmeal cookie; soft, warm and dotted with pecans, I let his words hit me with a bit of conviction.

So often I allow my own insecurities and the concern about the impression I’m making overwhelm me that I completely overlook who it is I’m trying to impress. In my head I’m berating myself for the things I’m saying or not saying rather than focusing on who is in front of me and making them feel good. It’s nearly impossible to make someone else feel comfortable if all I’m doing is thinking about myself.

oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt


Lucky Leaf Gardens Microgreens that are grown for the hotel. Microgreens are nutrient dense sprouts of vegetable seeds that are intensely flavorful. They are used in salads and as a delicate garnish.


oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt

Carl taught us to:


“Never miss a chance to learn from someone else.”


“Always think to add.”


“The main idea of etiquette is making the other person feel wonderful.”


So in attempt to make my family feel wonderful once I returned home, I packed my idea of the perfect picnic and we headed to the park.

oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt


oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt

There was cheese; one soft and creamy the other pungent and crumbly. Cured meats laced around the cheese and soft bread and salted butter sat next to that. Watermelon slices were left to mingle with red onion, fresh mint and a salty feta. There were cubes of feta-less melon for the kids who tend to be a bit particular.

We ate a salad of quinoa, chicken and pea sprouts dressed with a bit of mustard, vinegar, olive oil and salt. A touch of honey softened the vinegar bite and diced red onion and smokey pimenton added a soft heat.

For dessert, for those who ate their quinoa (I had three servings) there were cookies. Kelli Fayard’s favorite oatmeal pecan cookies to be precise. Kelli is the pastry chef at the Ballantyne Hotel and she graciously shared her recipe for these cookies that are soft, spiced with cinnamon and clove (although I put nutmeg in mine) and loaded with chopped toasted pecans.

If kind words fail you, I find that a cookie does wonders to make any guest feel wonderful.

A picnic is not meant to be fussy. In fact you could very easily have a picnic with a few cheeses, meats, fruit and a bottle of wine quickly snatched from the store on the way to the park. The point really is about creating the space to enjoy a meal or hefty snack in a beautiful setting along with people you care about.

oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt


oatmeal pecan cookies // not without salt

*This trip was paid for by The Luxury Collection and One King’s Lane. Check out The Luxury Collection on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 The sale is now LIVE! Be sure to check out our video and inspiration from Charlotte. 

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies


2 dozen (or so)


This recipe was provided by Kelly Fayard, the pastry chef at The Ballantyne Hotel. It’s her favorite and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a soft cookie with a subtle bit of spice. She chose cinnamon and clove but I’m more partial to nutmeg. I also added chocolate because I can’t help myself. They really don’t NEED it but when it comes to cookies I find that chocolate always helps.


1/2 cup butter, soft

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon whole milk

1 large egg

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or 1/8 teaspoon clove)

1 1/4 cups oats

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated.

Add all the dry ingredients, including pecans and chocolate and mix until combined.

Scoop even size balls of dough (about 1 tablespoon size) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325°F for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.


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