Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bulgur wheat

Some of my new years resolutions (or things to try in the new year) were to learn to cook legumes (lentils, beans), squash (I really want to get some delicata squash) and to incorporate more grains in my diet. I tried my hand at polenta for the first time last week (yes, polenta is not one of the three things above). It was alright when soupy but it hardened into something really delicious. I was going to make baked polenta fries with the leftovers but there was no polenta left since I couldn't keep myself from eating it cold.

When I was in Sao Paulo, I had the best tasting brown rice ever. It was completely unadorned and really nutty flavored. I'm usually not a huge fan of brown rice, it just tastes bland. But this was amazing. I googled it later and I think it was short-grain japanese brown rice, which I'm going to have to go hunt for. Shouldn't be too hard, I live in the middle of Japan town it seems, with ramen (or as they write, "lamen", which I find hilarious because I don't know whether Japanese people find that offensive or not since they can't really pronounce their R's...but I digress). But craving something rice-like but not white rice, and, in a seemingly serendipitous (didn't think I'd ever use that word, did you now?) moment, NYTimes decided to have a whole section devoted to bulgur wheat.

I don't know if I've had it before but I'd read about it and it kinda looked like that best-ever-Sao-Paulo-brown-rice so I got some. And I must say, it's deliciously chewy. I'm going to eat more of this (plus, its healthy and full of fiber!)

Bulgur salad with veggies and feta  (I took the contents of my fridge, but the base salad credit goes to a certain cook who made us the best coq au vin a few weeks ago, you know who you are!)

1 medium sized tomato
1 small cucumber (or 1/4 of those huge cucumbers)
1/4 of a red onion
1 1/2 cups of lettuce, chopped up (probably 4 - 5 leaves)
1/4 cup of feta, crumbled
1/2 cup of par-boiled bulgur wheat
olive oil

Cook the bulgur wheat according to the instructions on the box (probably put in salted boiling water for 10 - 12 minutes). Meanwhile, dice up the tomato, cucumber and red onion (finely dice that one), as well as the lettuce if you haven't done so already. Put everything into a medium bowl. Add the crumbled feta, about 1/2 a tbsp of olive oil and salt, to taste. Mix it up. 

When the bulgur is done cooking, drain and rinse under cold water (I think this probably strips some nutrients, and I guess you can put it in the fridge if you make it ahead, but you just need it to be cooled). 

Add to the salad, mix, adjust salt to taste, take a big spoon (no forks for this!) and eat!

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