Dinner Tales

Been a while since I wrote a food post and I’m feeling the urge.  Now that G is a bit more on board with what I’m trying to do with my diet and eating habits, we went to the store yesterday and picked up some things.  I made a batch of oat bran muffins that are really light and good for both of us, and while I was trying to re-arrange my pantry, I found some bulgur that I had forgotten about.  Suddenly, I wanted pilaf or tabuouleh or something similar.  I thought about what I would fix for dinner all day today while I was working and found a great recipe here for pilaf (with some Grumpy modifications, of course) and decided to pair it with a spinach salad with peas from the garden (coming in like a house a’fire), corn cut off the cob, the last of our strawberries from the patch and a boiled egg.

If you’ve never used bulgur, you should get some.  It’s a great substitute for hamburger in vegetarian chili–it has the texture of browned hamburger when cooked, and it’s also very quick.  Basically, you just have to pour boiling water over it or simmer it in same for about 5 minutes, let it stand for another 5 and voila–done.

So, after a nice afternoon “date” of lolling on the bed, then going to B@rnes & Noble for wandering around and drinking iced chai, I came home to cook dinner while G did her afternoon garden duty.

I picked the peas, then put the eggs on to boil and one ear of corn in the basket steamer.  After I strung the peas, all perfect and plump, I set them in the steamer with the corn for just 5 mins, then took them out and dunked them in ice water to keep them from cooking any more.  If you want the definition of “green”, those peas should be in the dictionary entry!  Even though these are “shelling” peas, I cooked the whole pods and they were great.

Then I put the bulgur to cook.  The recipe calls for water, but G had cleaned out the produce drawers a couple of days ago and made a great veggie stock.  I froze most of it in ice cube trays, but had just enough left to cook the bulgur in for an added layer of flavor.  What all that was happening, I chopped up 3 scallions from the garden, a red pepper and about half a dozen baby bella mushrooms.  Then the corn was done and it went into the cold water to cool off enough to handle and the eggs the same.

I drained the bulgur and set it aside, then melted butter in the skillet and put the above veggies in to sautee.  While that was going on, I got G to cut me some fresh parsley and basil which I chopped up for the pilaf and juiced a lime and added 2 Tb of seasoned white vinegar and a packet of stevia for sweetness.  The herbs and this mixture got blended.  The veggies were done, so I added the bulgur to the skillet, stirred to mix, then poured in the liquid with the herbs, added a seasoning of salt and fresh-ground pepper and set it aside, covered, to meld while I made the salad.

I cut the corn off the cob in the salad bowl, added the drained and dried peas and chopped up the egg and put that in.  Then I went through the last of our strawberries, cored and rinsed them and added those.  Finally the roughly-torn spinach went on top and I drizzled everything with really good balsamic vinegar and some of my lemon-infused olive oil from “my” tree in Italy and mixed lightly by hand.

I called G in from the yard, served up two beautiful plates and we feasted on this fresh, incredibly satisfying dish.  Sorry I didn’t take pics, but there’s enough left for a meal tomorrow, so maybe I’ll do it then.  It was just so incredible, like taking bites of summer itself.  Everything merged together deliciously, yet each ingredient managed to keep its own integrity at the same time.  Below is the recipe as I modified it:

Bulgur Pilaf with Mushrooms

1 C bulgur

2 C water (or stock)

3 T butter (or oil for vegan)

1/4 to 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced

1 red pepper, diced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

2 Tb lime juice

2-3 Tb seasoned white vinegar (oriental type)

1 packet stevia (I used Truvi@)

1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 C fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 tsp black pepper

Juice the lime, add the vinegar, stevia and chopped herbs. Set aside.

In a medium pan, bring water or stock to a boil, add bulgur, bring back to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from head, let stand another 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

Melt butter or heat oil in a large skillet.  Sautee onions, red pepper and mushrooms till onions are soft and transparent.  Turn heat to low, add bulgur to skillet, stir gently to mix.

Add lime juice/vinegar/herb mix and mix again until well blended. Serve immediately and enjoy on a hot summer afternoon!

Happy eating!

GG

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