Warm Bulgur Wheat Salad
I’m trying to get back on track with blogging, but I’m not going to lie – things have been a little rough lately and it has been hard finding the time to develop/test new recipes. Fingers crossed things will start to get a little easier, and thankfully summer is approaching so soon cooking will switch over to the grill which is the realm of my amazing husband 🙂 The theory with that being I can prep, marinate, coordinate the effort and then write the post while he works magic on our indoor brick oven. Thankfully my funk is not extending over to cooking in general, so blog challenges such as Secret Recipe Club and Random Recipes have been insuring that we are eating more than just pasta – and today’s A-Themed Random Recipe introduced me to an entirely new member of the grain family. When I told Joe tonight’s dinner was going to feature Bulgar Wheat his reaction was to ask me if he liked bulgar wheat, at which point I had to admit that I had yet to make or even eat bulgar wheat and thus had no idea. I also reminded him that we had some leftover matzoh just in case this was a total failure, as well as the ingredients to make matzoh pizza, so with a back up plan in place I opened up Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook and turned to my “A” recipe: Tabbouleh, a Salad Made with Bulgar and Arugula. I made a few seasonal changes, and also prepped the bulgur per the ingredients on the bulk food bag (Wegmans FTW) as I somehow missed that the original recipe calls for 2 hours of soaking, and that’s the quick version!
Thanks Dom and AlphaBakes (Ros and Caroline) for an A+ experience! For those that haven’t yet picked up this international buffet of vegetarian recipes I can not recommend it enough as this book is probably the most used of all my cookbooks – and it shows.
Belgian Endive Pear Boats
So far so good with the weather – Mother Nature is cooperating with the plan to end winter and signs of spring are everywhere. A few of the Farmer’s Markets will be opening this weekend, with the BIG one for the area following next weekend! I have a rather long list of vegetables that I want to try this year, including radishes (poor JT) and about five different types of greens. Thanks for the /52weeksofcooking challenge I’ve already knocked one “green” of the list with this modified Belgian Salad. When I tried to find a cuisine for the Belgian challenge I wasn’t that shocked to see all the not-so-vegetarian friendly food. While Belgian Waffles were rather tempting (with Trader Joe’s cookie butter!!!), I’ve done waffles before and while I know that you don’t have to use a deep waffle iron for Belgian Waffles it just feels wrong to think about using a standard waffle iron – let alone using one! So I decided to tackle the vegetable that kept popping up in so many dishes: endives. I think I might have had an endive salad many moons ago at a wedding on the Cape but outside of a vague memory I couldn’t recall the taste. However Pinterest was more than able to serve up a number of endive recipes, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to do one of the many cute boat designs that I saw.
In order to not kill my husband I dropped the nuts from the recipes I saw but those could easily be added back in for an extra crunch. The tart endive was a great contrast to the sweetness of the pears, with the balsamic vinaigrette bringing it all together. This would make a fantastic appetizer, especially since they act as their own plate! I plan on trying this again in late summer, using some apples in place of the pears…or maybe in addition to.
Second Secret Recipe Club entry! When I saw there was an orphaned blog from Group D I jumped at the chance to explore another delicious blog! Turns out delicious was the right word when it comes to Dororthy’s Shockingly Delicious blog, as it is full of “terrific, tried and true, scrumptious” recipes. Since this was an orphaned blog I only had a few days to find the perfect recipe to highlight everything that Dorothy has to offer. I debated her non-traditional arroz verde before figuring it was a bit too similar to my other Secret Recipe Club entry so was back to debating delicious treats before seeing her recipe for a Baked Polenta. I’ve always been a huge polenta fan, outside of the standing and stirring for 30 minutes over a hot oven, so a BAKED recipe was perfect!!! (husband also agreed as normally he is recruited for stirring duty)
Another awesome thing is how easily this recipe could be adapted by adding different cheeses or spices, such as fresh rosemary, thyme, or basil. I have a feeling that after adding this recipe to my collection polenta will become a frequent menu item in our house. I served mine with a squash and bean mixture, the full recipe for which will be up tomorrow!
Sundried Tomato Pesto
Good morning (evening?) from Dublin! In theory while you are reading this I’m attempting to cross the Carrick-a-Rede bridge – my bestie in threatening to film this experience so there might be a video with some colorful language on the way once I return. While I’m out of the country, I decided to prep a bunch of meals for Joey to make things as easy as possible. One such prepped dish is this delicious, nut-free, pesto that comes together in record time! I just make up a huge batch and freeze the extra in ice cube trays – popping the frozen treats in to Ziploc bags when the time is right.
With the fresh pesto just toss it right into the hot pasta and stir well. When using the frozen pasta, you will still add it to the finished (drained and hot pasta) but add about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to compensate and stir for at least 3 minutes to make sure the cube has full melted. Top with cheese (optional) and enjoy!
Rosemary Thyme Brussel Sprouts
Confession: I didn’t have a Brussel Sprout until I was in my mid-20s as my mother is not a fan. Once I had one I realized how amazing they were and have been making them regularly ever since. However I had to figure out a way to get Joe to eat them as he was not a huge fan. I quickly eliminated roasting them and any variation involving balsamic vinegar before figuring out the right combination of herbs and oils. While this might not be the most creative use of herbs, it’s one of our favorites which is why I’m sending this over to r/52weeksofcooking for their herb weeks. I served these as part of our Seder dinner and they were a huge hit – including with one other person who was also late to the sprouts are awesome party.
The only down side of figuring out the perfect recipe is having to buy large amounts of Brussel Sprouts in order to insure there’s enough for everyone. If you wind up with any leftover sprouts, they make a great omelette or quiche filling!
Roasted Linguine and Broccoli
Time for the March installment of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned Angela‘s Spinach Tiger, which is an amazing blogs with one of the most honest tag-lines out there. I was immediately drawn in to the open nature of her blog, especially when it came to the entries about her brother and cousin. As for picking a recipe, that was much easier said then done. For the longest time I was going to one of her Red Recipes but I couldn’t stop thinking about her roasted pasta recipe. I had sauted pasta before, tossing it with vegetables or various sauces right before serving but had never roasted it so that it actually started to brown in the pan. I did make a few changes to this recipe, namely adding some garbanzo beans to add some protein, but otherwise I kept it as written.
I topped Joe’s with some shredded cheese, leftover from some pizza made earlier in the week while I kept mine “naked”. Everything came together so quickly, plus being able to make the pasta in advance was great since I had yoga planned. The addition of the beans also added another dimension to the dish as a contrast to the crunchiness of the pasta tips and broccoli. A huge thanks to Angela for introducing me to such a great dish which will probably become a frequent addition to my monthly rotation. A larger thanks to the wonderful hostesses of the Secret Recipe Club for another amazing month. I can’t wait to see what fantastic blog I’ll get next month!
Baguettes and Crostinis
I’ll be honest, I put this 52weeks challenge off until the last possible moment because I knew what I wanted to post, and I knew when I was going to be able to do it. This week the theme is appetizers and since I was planning to host a Downton Abbey Viewing Party I knew I would be making some type of finger food. I debated a number of recipes, trying to find something that either the Upstairs or Downstairs folks of the early 1920s would have enjoyed at a gathering. In the end I decided to make some French Baguettes and transform them in to crostinis for a variety of toppings. Crostinis have been around for a few hundred years, and were one way to use up stale bread. The toppings on the other hand vary depending on location and time period, ranging from the ever popular bruschetta to squash puree to watercress egg salad and everything in between. I decided to keep it simple with a classic roasted tomato bruschetta and an eggplant dip.
While doing my recipe search I also found a few classic soup recipes that called for crostinis, so I have a feeling I know where the leftovers will be going. I also want to do more research about the Downton Abbey time period to find out more about what food they enjoyed then, see if I can combine my love of food with my love of history. I’m not sure where that will go, but will most certainly be posted here!