Friday, February 11, 2011

Bulgur and Cucumber Salad

Another cold winter night in Maine got thinking about summer and those great summer grain salads, like Tabbouleh. We eat a lot of grains in our house especially quinoa, couscous and barley, but I hadn't played much with bulgur, so decided to use it to put together this simple yet delicious play on the traditional Tabbouleh.

Bulgur and Cucumber Salad

1/4 cup bulgur
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 cup chopped english cucumber or seeded regular cucumber
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 tsp of lemon zest
1 rotisserie chicken from your local store or 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked

It seems that a little bulgur goes a long way and makes a total mess when you drop in on the floor. I put the grain in a bowl and fired up the stove. More on the stove later. Once the tea kettle sang, I added 2 cups of the boiling water over the bulgur and covered the bowl with plastic wrap and threw a kitchen towel over it for good measure. I assume you can overcook bulgur, but I just let it sit until I finished prepping the rest of the meal.

Add the lemon juice and oil the another larger bowl, then add your salt, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and parsley. Mix. Once the bulgur is cooked, (10 minutes or so), add to the veggie mixture and mix well.

Add your zest and if you don't have a microplan, get one! You'll love it.

This would be a great side dish, but if you want it to be a meal, as I did, slice up your cooked chicken breast and divide it among the plates. Done!

Great recipe that is very adaptable to your dinner or lunch needs, so please try it! It's a good one!

(4 servings/395 calories per with chicken)

Mo recipes!

During my, not so brief, hiatus from blogging, I've had time to think about what I want this blog to be. As I've mentioned here, I really started this because I wanted a record of our successes and especially, the recipes that made it happen. That's what I want to focus on. I'll still be giving you a peek into our family life, talking about running, and even giving my advice on healthy eating, but mostly, I would like to continue to share the meals that my family has together.

The new year has brought great joy to me. We've moved to our favorite city in the world, Portland, ME, run a half marathon, traveled to Florida (Disney World) with our amazing family, and made many new friends. I hope you continue to check out my blog and that your new year is fruitful and happy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Where have you been, young man?!

Sorry for the lack of post over the last few.....months (I suck). I promise to have something up soon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This takes the cake.

Wow, can't believe that it's been 10 days since I've posted, but the next few days will hopefully be worth it. I promised in the last post to let you know how the cake turned out, so sorry that it's taken so long. The cake was in honor of my father in law's birthday and he got to enjoy it for four long days. Happy Day, Papa!!

The best story of the whole adventure had to do with the eggs. Norah had gotten up from her nap early and aided me in making the batter. She's a great sous chef and handed each egg to me as a painstakingly cracked each one into the stand up mixer which was running on low. Just a reminder, I NEVER bake and in hindsight should have cracked the eggs into another bowl first, but I didn't. So, on egg four, PLOP, in goes the egg and half of the shell. Damn. I quickly turn off the mixer, but flip the switch the wrong way. HOLY CRAP!! Once I finally got it turned off, I spend the next five minutes fishing shell out of the batter. Not good. Thankfully, I seemed to get all of the shell out, at least no one mentioned anything crunchy.

It was definitely a labor of love (started it at 2:30pm and sliced it at 7:30pm) and I screwed up a bunch, but it was SO worth it! The cake tasted great. It was moist, chocolaty (if that is a word), and crumbly. But, the best part of the cake had to be the frosting....Oh, that frosting. Make it and find out. You'll NEVER have frosting out of a can again.

Oh, and we had leftovers! Here's your piece:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Warm Salad Dinners Part 2

Wednesday night was a bit cooler here in Connecticut, so my warm salad theme worked a little better than the night before. I found this recipe, but wanted to add a bit to it to make it dinner sized.

Ham and Eggs with Roasted Squash and Pecorino

1 large butternut squash
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
18 slices of prosciutto
5 cups baby arugula
4 tbls olive oil, divided
2 tbls white balsamic vinegar (regular would work as well)
1 1/2 oz pecorino cheese
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl, add your balsamic, then whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

Peel butternut squash and slice in half, discarding the seeds. Cut into 2 inch cubes and place in roasting pan. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over the squash then sprinkle with the chili powder and coriander. Cook for 45-60 minutes or until tender. Keep warm.

Now, the prosciutto preparation is up to you. I like mine a little crisp, but some don't. I took the slices and put them on a cookie sheet and threw them into the oven with the squash until they were just starting to get crisp. Take out and set aside. I like to cut into strips or crumble, depending on how crisp you like it.

In a big bowl, add your arugula, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add your balsamic viniagrette to your taste. I used about half. Toss well and add equal portions to 4 large plates.

The egg is up to you. I either pan fry mine, sunny side up, with a little cooking spray, cook it in a coffee mug, ala the egg mcmuffin, or poach it. Which ever way you choose, just make sure the yolk is a little soft.

Ok, after all of that, place the squash on the greens. Add the prosciutto. Grate the pecorino cheese over all of it, then top with the egg.


Serves 4 (453 calories per serving)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"That's Hot!"

It's cold here in Connecticut and when I woke yesterday morning there was a fine layer of white on the grass. So, what do you suppose I would conjure up for dinner? Soup? Stew? Warm biscuits? Nope, salad.

My sincerest apologies to those of you who thought this blog post was going to be about Paris Hilton. I'm taking this opportunity to jump into a realm of food that I haven't spent much time thinking about and took it as a challenge when Amy suggested that we do another salad week. So, with respect to our favorite non-celebrity celebrity, I give to you: The hot salad.

While perusing the Internet for ideas, I came across a Bon Appetit recipe for a spinach salad and became intrigued. As most of you know, the fun of cooking these days for me is finding a recipe and lightening it. So, I set off to do just that. The salad by Bon Appetit, as written, was over 700 calories a serving and didn't have enough components to be a "dinner" salad, thus giving me two challenges: Lighten it while adding more ingredients. Needless to say, I was happy with the results. Hell, that's why you're reading about it!

Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Feta Dressing
(As adapted from Bon Appetit)

24oz cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion
4 tbls olive oil, divided
6oz turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
10oz baby spinach
6oz feta cheese, fat free
2 tbls sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place tomatoes and whole unpeeled onion in separate roasting pans. Drizzle one tablespoon of oil over each pans component, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

When oven is preheated, add the pan with the onion and roast for 1 hour. When the onion is finished, take out and let cool. Add tomatoes to the oven and let them roast for 15-20 minutes. Take out and set aside.

While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Drain and set aside. Save pan.

When onion is cool enough to touch, cut off the root, peel and slice thinly lengthwise.

In bacon pan, place the feta cheese and vinegar, cooking over medium low heat for 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tbls of oil and turn off heat.

On 4 large place, evenly split the baby spinach and top each with equal portions of onion, tomatoes and bacon. Spoon dressing over each to taste or put it into a bowl for guests to add for themselves.

Serves 4 (375 calories per)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear time change,

Thank you so much for the extra hour of sleep on Sunday except, of course, for those of us with young kids. In that case, thank you for completely wrecking what was a blissful and wonderful stretch of good sleep in our house.