Brown rice salad with dried fruit

1 C brown rice
1/3 C dried fruit (cherries, golden raisins, or diced apricots or apples)
1/2 C brandy
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T olive oil
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
3/4 C chopped almonds or pecans, toasted
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small orange or yellow bell pepper, diced small
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and diced small

Cook the brown rice. While it’s cooking, place the fruit and brandy in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let it steep for at least a half hour, then drain.

For the dressing: Whisk together the oil and vinegar in a bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste.

When rice is cooked, stir in plumped fruit, nuts, pear, and vegetables. Pour in dressing and stir gently. Let sit for an hour at room temperature before serving.