Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to Eat Bulghur

Jim informed me that he does not like bulghur or tabbouleh but he would try to choke down the Bulghur and Fruit Salad I had planned for dinner the other night. Bulghur is crushed wheat kernels that, when mixed with equal proportions of the grain to boiling water, yields a (debatably) delicious chewy mound easily dressed up with fruit and herbs.

I added much more citrus than the recipe called for and added a few things like celery and walnuts.

After all his protesting, Jim loved the salad and rated it an 8.5 overall...but a 10 as far as bulghur goes. We ate it for dinner with boiled eggs, sliced pears and cottage cheese on the side.

For lunch the next day, Clara and I stuffed it inside a pita pocket with some grated mozzarella and toasted it under the broiler.

Bulghur and Fruit Salad (Moosewood again)

2C boiling water
2C Bulghur
1/2 t salt
1/4C minced red onion (I omitted these but may use chives or scallions next time)
1/2C minced red bell pepper
1/4C celery
1/4C chopped parsley (or more to taste)
1/2C cucumber, chopped
1 Orange
1 Lemon (my optional addition)
1 Lime (my optional addition)
1 Apple, cored and chopped
1/4C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4C Dried cranberries or cherries (chop if using cherries)
1/2t Black pepper
1/4t ground Cardamom (omit if you dont have this- I get mine at the Bulk Store)
1/4t ground Cinnamon
1/2C toasted nuts (pecans or walnuts are nice)

1. In a bowl, pour boiling water over bulghur, cover and set aside.
2. Place onion, peppers, celery, cucumber, apple and parsley in a serving bowl. Zest the orange (lime or lemon) and juice the orange, lime and lemon over the vegetables. Toss.
3. Add olive oil, cranberries, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon and mix well.
4. Add bulghur and stir.
5. Sprinkle with nuts just before you serve it or serve them separate for people to use as an option.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Japanese Noodles with Baked Tofu, Tomatoes and Cucumber

We eat a lot of soba noodles in the summertime and this recipe would be particularly good with garden tomatoes but it was a perfect light dinner even late in the winter. I love adding baked tofu to a lot of meals and the sauce for these noodles and my usual baked tofu went so well together they just got mixed into one big dish.
Clara eats this meal faster and more vigorously than any other. My daddy even stopped by for some and loved it.
Whilst I'm on my Moosewood kick....Even more Moosewood lovin'. Both of these dishes come from the Cooking for Health Cookbook.

Japanese Noodles with Tomatoes and Cucumber

8oz Soba Noodles
2T Dark Sesame Oil
2T Shoyu or Soy sauce
1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2C Diced Fresh Tomatoes
1/4C Finely Chopped Scallions
1 Cucumber, grated with a vegetable peeler into long ribbons

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add noodles and cook until al dente, about 5mins. (dont overcook them.)
2. In a lovely serving bowl, stir together sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, tomatoes, scallions and cucumber.
3. Add cooked noodles and baked tofu and toss well. Sprinkle with black pepper.

Baked Tofu

1cake extra firm Tofu
2T Dark Sesame Oil
2T Shoyu or Soy Sauce
2T Ketchup

1. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and place in an un-oiled baking dish. (Large enough for the tofu to be in a single layer.
2. Stir sesame oil, soy sauce and ketchup with the tofu turning to coat.
3. Cook at 400* for 30-40 minutes uncovered.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Eating Prairie Food

Tonight's meal make me think of the Ingalls family. Clara and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie books a lot this winter and, boy, they ate a lot of corn bread. For dinner, we stuffed ourselves on Sweet Potato {Chicken} Hash and Moosewood Cornbread. (I suppose the Ingalls would have used Prairie Hen in the hash but we used some roasted chicken breast.)

Moosewood cornbread calls for whole flaxseeds (I grind mine in the coffee grinder
) and whole grain cornmeal, which hasn't had its delicious germ and bran removed. Jim and I both agreed the whole cornmeal makes a far superior bread than the more processed stuff. Clara ate hers loaded with butter and a drizzle of maple syrup, Jim's just had butter and mine was plain.

The hash recipe came from a cookbook my mum got me for my birthday this year. Not Your Mother's Weeknight Cooking has become my go to book when I need something to make for dinner and I haven't planned ahead. I always have everything the recipes call for in my pantry. However, tonight I did plan ahead and still used the book because I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while.

Moosewood Cornbread

5 T Whole Flaxseeds (ground just before using)
1C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2t salt
2t baking soda
2t baking powder
1C Whole Grain Cornmeal
2 Large Eggs
1C Plain Yogurt
1/4C Olive Oil
1/4C Honey, Maple Syrup or Agave Syrup (optional but highly recommended)

1. Heat oven to 375*. Oil a 9-inch square or 10-inch round baking pan.
2. Grind up flaxseeds to a consistency similar to the cornmeal.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder, stir in the flax and cornmeal.
4. In a separate bowl beat eggs, yogurt, oil and sweetener.
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet. Stir just until blended; don't overmix.
6. Spread batter evenly in the pan and bake 20mins or until cake tester comes out clean.

*Serves 9.

Sweet Potato Chicken Hash

2 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1T butter
1 small red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 chicken breast (roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper at 350* for 40mins), or other cooked meat.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Large eggs
1 1/2 T chopped chives or scallions
1 1/2 T chopped parsley

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with water enough to cover by 1-inch. Bring to a boil and cook 4 minutes or until barely tender. Drain well and set aside.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion, and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add drained sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring for 8 mins or until potatoes are crispy and slightly browned.
3. Add cooked chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Make 4 wells in the potato mixture (3-inches in diameter each) and break 1 egg in each well.
5. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 4-5 minutes, until eggs reach desired 'doneness'.
6. Sprinkle with herbs and serve immediately.

*This could easily be done without the meat, adding mushrooms with the onions instead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My new favourite cookbook and pancakes.

I have a lot of cookbooks. No, my Kalamazoo Mum has a lot of cookbooks...I have quite a few cookbooks. The Moosewood cookbooks are some of my favourites. A few weeks ago I picked up the new one called "Cooking For Heath" and we've pretty much eaten from it every night since. (I have a very lovely husband who willingly eats tofu and lentils on a very regular basis.) I thought Nigella's banana pancakes were the best pancakes until I tried the Moosewood Whole Grain Pancakes. These pancakes are seriously delicious and although Nigella's recipes are tasty I don't cook from them for their health benefits.

I made a few changes to the recipe (I love to do so) and topped them with some baked apples and they were perfect.

Here is the recipe:

Moosewood Whole Grain Pancakes (With Baked Apples)

1/4C Whole Flaxseeds
1/2C Rolled Oats
1C Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon (my addition and therefore optional)
1/2 t Baking Soda
2 t Baking Powder (I use the aluminum-free stuff)
2 Large Eggs
1 C Buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used Vanilla)
1/4C Olive Oil
1C Water

1. In a spice grinder, whirl flaxseeds and oats until they are the consistency of cornmeal, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.

2. In a separate bowl beat eggs, buttermilk, oil and water. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Stir just until combined.

3. Warm a greased skillet over med-high heat and ladle a 1/4C of batter for each pancake. Flip after a minute or two.

Serve with Maple Syrup, Baked Apples, Cottage Cheese, strawberries, blueberries......

*(You can add more water if batter looks too thick.)
*(These freeze really well, in anticipation of being re-toasted at a later date.)

Baked Apples

2T Pure Maple Syrup
2t Fresh Lemon juice
1t Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
5C peeled and slice apples (or apples and pears)

1. Cute fruit into a 9 inch square baking dish. Add syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Mix well.

2. Bake at 400*, stirring every 10-15 mins, until fruit is soft. Around 35-40 minutes.