Thursday, July 24, 2008
When it comes to food, I have a few bad habits. One of them is to buy ingredients without a plan of how I will use them. And since I want to try just about everything, it means that I have a pantry full of different varieties of beans, rice, pasta, oriental noodles, baking chocolates, honeys (think I have 8 varieties of honey) and, as pictured above, grains. (See The Perfect Pantry blog to see other people's pantries every Saturday.)
The grains I have include two kinds of polenta (fine and coarse), wheatberries, spelt, amaranth, barley, millet, bulgur, and quinoa. I have yet to cook with the spelt, amaranth, and the millet but you can be sure you'll see them here eventually! One of the easiest grains to prepare is bulgur. It is a type of wheat that doesn't even require cooking. Just pour some in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let it sit for 20 minutes. It has a mild taste and could probably be used in place of cooked rice in just about any recipe.
I found the recipe for tabbouleh when my daughter, in 5th grade at the time, brought home the Children's Quick and Easy Cookbook by Angela Wilkes, which she found at her school library. When I looked through it, I was pleasantly surprised to find recipes other than chicken fingers and pizza. Actually, there were very healthy-looking recipes within a variety of international cuisines using all fresh ingredients. The book was very well laid out with lots of great pictures of every step in the recipe.
Although she and her friend only wanted to try making the goodies in the dessert section (which turned out fantastic if I remember), I was drawn to the recipes such as tabbouleh, falafel, chicken curry, thai kebobs, and chicken chow mein- things I had never tried before. The tabbouleh is delicious and is a great use for the tomatoes and cucumbers from the farmer's market and my bumper crop of parsley and mint (come help yourself if you need any-please!). It makes a great, healthy, summer side dish or potluck salad since you serve it cold or at room temperature and it's not too heavy.
from Children's Quick and Easy Cookbook by Angela Wilkes
1 cup bulgur
3 seeded, diced, tomatoes
a handful of pitted black olives, optional
1 bunch parsley
small handful of mint leaves
3 T olive oil
3 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
1. Put the bulgur in a bowl, cover it with boiling water, and let soak for 20 minutes until the grains soften.
2. Finely chop the cucumber. Trim the scallions and slice them finely. Rinse, dry, and finely chop the parsley and mint.
3. Drain the bulgur in a sieve over a bowl. Use your hands to squeeze out as much extra water as you can.
4. Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix together and season with salt and pepper.
Labels: Side Dishes