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Rice on the wild side: exotic natural grain from Minnesota

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Combine rice and liquid in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, simmer 30 minutes, then check every five minutes for doneness.

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Wild rice should be not be cooked to the point where it curls over and looses its texture. Any excess liquid from cooking may be saved, frozen, and added to soups, or to the recipe if more liquid is to be added. Microwave Wild Rice

Combine ingredients as above in microwave-safe dish. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, then on 50 percent power an additional 30 to 40 minutes. Cover to prevent excess evaporation.

Wild rice is like pasta and regular rice -- you often find you've cooked more than you need for one meal. If that's the case, try these pancakes for breakfast. Cooked rice may also be added to omelets. Wild Rice Buttermilk Pancakes 4 eggs 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 cup cooked wild rice

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda together in large bowl. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and whisk into egg mixture.

Stir in melted butter and wild rice. Fry on griddle as you would regular pancakes. For thicker pancakes, use two eggs.

Serve with hot fruit preserves or maple syrup. Wild Rice with Pasta, Herbs, Tomatoes, and Cheese 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped fresh, or 2 tablespoon dried, basil 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 1/2 cup olive oil 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice (2 cups cooked) 2 cups water 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 10-ounce package spinach (green) noodles 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes, garlic, parsley, basil, mint, one teaspoon salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and olive oil. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to 4 hours to meld flavors. Cook wild rice following any basic method. Prepare noodles according to directions on package. Do not overcook.

Mix cooked wild rice with tomato-herb mixture. Drain noodles when done, and mix with cheeses while still warm. Turn into large shallow dish. Top with wild rice mixture. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6. Wild Rice Turkey Salad 2 cups cooked wild rice 2/3 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup milk 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 small onion, finely minced 3 cups cubed cooked turkey (or chicken) 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained 1/2 pound seedless green grapes, halved (about 2 cups) 1 cup cashew nuts Salt and pepper to taste Lettuce leaves Lemon slices (optional)

In large bowl combine mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, and onion and mix well.

Stir in rice, turkey, water chestnuts. Refrigerate until chilled.

Before serving, mix in grapes and nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on individual lettuce leaves and garnish with lemon slices. Wild Rice-Peanut Topping 1/2 pound wild rice, cooked 1/2 pound dry roasted peanuts 1/2 pound brown sugar 2 cups raisins

Combine cooked rice with remaining ingredients and chill. Use as topping for ice cream, vanilla pudding, custard, or yogurt.

Keeps from two to three weeks covered in refrigerator, or may be frozen up to six months. Wild Rice and Hamburger Casserole 2 cups boiling water 1 cup uncooked wild rice 1 can chicken and rice soup 1 small can mushrooms, undrained 1/2 cup water 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon each: garlic powder, paprika, pepper, poultry seasoning, or sage 1 small onion, chopped 3 tablespoons salad oil 1 pound lean ground beef

Pour boiling water over rice, cover, and let stand 20 minutes, then drain.

Place rice in 2-quart casserole and add soup, mushrooms with liquid, water, and seasonings.

Saut'e onions in oil until wilted and add to rice. Add ground beef to frying pan and fry until lightly browned and crumbly. Add to rice and mix gently.

Bake covered in pre-heated 350 degree F. oven for 2 hours.

Serves 4.