Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bulgur with Dried Apricots

I highly recommend that you use very good dried apricots here, if you can get them. My favorites are locally grown Blenheims that are sold at the farmer's market. The bulgur works great with the spices and the slightly tart sweetness of the apricots. Modified from Gourmet, December 2007.

Bulgur with Dried apricots

1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups water or broth
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.


Bee said...

What would you serve with this? Grilled chicken -- or would you stay in the vegetarian realm?

I just had to write you -- cause I'm starting to feel like we are Brave Sir Robin's backup girl group. Also, I appreciated the "The Other Boleyn Girl" feedback. Did you see my response to your response? Most people just like to move on and satisfy themselves with one comment. I am noticing a frightening tendency in myself to make blogs more like instant-messaging.

I LOVE your site name; so clever. How long have you been a foodie?

I have a personal story that conjoins ramen with grad school. About 5 years ago I went back to school to get a Master's in Reading. My husband, who was quite the stranger to our little kitchen, was suddenly called upon to make the occasional meal for our children -- as I had several night classes. Well, I discovered that he was feeding them ramen. Just ramen. No grilled cheese on whole wheat; no carrot sticks and apple slices; absolutely nothing to enhance the total nutritional void of ramen. Well, we had one of the major fights of our marriage. (We rarely fight because he's much better at it than me.) And I won.

I will look to you for healthy eating tips. I tend to go straight for dessert or bread.

Anne said...

Welcome, Bee, and thank you! :)

Your ramen story sounds like exactly the sort of thing my boyfriend would do if we had kids, except with sliced turkey (don't ask) instead of ramen. Congrats on your victory in that argument!!

I've been steadily turning into more and more of a foodie for the last seven or eight years, pretty much ever since I started cooking for myself on a regular basis. Oone year of college dorm food was one year too many, so my second year I started doing my own cooking. The most amazing thing to me about is how much more adventurous I've become. I was a very picky eater growing up, but now I'll try just about anything--and I'm even cooking things (like squash and chard) that I couldn't stand just a few years ago.

But I ramble. Back to the bulgur: it seems like it would be good with all sorts of things. I had it last night with my chickpeas and chard, but you could certainly serve it with chicken done any number of ways. There's a Cornish game hen recipe that I posted about a year ago... they might go well together. In fact, I'll probably make them together next time. I'm always a fan of grilled chicken breasts, too, especially when I'm short on time.

I just now saw your response about TOBG (ordinarily I check up on threads to which I respond, but this week has been crazy). Whoever the reviewer was who said that Portman and Johanssen should have switched roles was spot-on. As it is, it seems like they did the casting based solely on hair color. Sigh.

BTW, I make no promises to help you stay away from dessert. I have quite a sweet tooth myself, and some of my posts reflect that! :)

Speaking of which, I still haven't gotten around to posting those pear-and-ginger cakes... or the lemon-clove cookies I made for my defense!

Bee said...

Of the many things to respond to, I will start with cornish hens. I'm going to try both of these and get back to you next week.

Hmmmm. . . sliced turkey is at least a low-fat protein. You implied weirdness, so of course I'm burning with curiousity.

Pear and ginger -- two of my favorite things.

I made my own mincemeat for Xmas this year. It had chopped pear and ginger, in addition to the other typical ingredients. I still have two jars in the pantry. Mince pies are wonderful, but never seem right after Jan 1.

Anne said...

Weirdness indeed. My boyfriend (to whom I often refer in the blogosphere as the Suitor) is, much to my dismay, a proponent of the low-carb approach to food. I think the science behind it is bunk, he thinks the science against it is bunk. Anyway, combine this with the fact that the most effort he's willing to put into obtaining food is cracking a few eggs and heating up a pan, and rarely even that, and he subsists mostly on deli turkey and similar things, and occasionally chicken salads (from which he hardly eats any of the lettuce, just the chicken). Oh, and these weird low-carb snack bars. If I cook some sort of meat, he'll usually eat some. Considering how important food is to me, it's kind of amazing that we've been together for nearly three years!

I've never had mincemeat pies, but I've always wanted to try them! I'm sort of surprised that, among all the other English things my grandparents picked up during their two years there--roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, saying "petrol," celebrating Boxing Day--and given how good a cook my grandmother is, they didn't bring back a habit of making mince pies for the holidays. Ah well.

Bee said...

First of all, I hope your b'friend buys high quality turkey because the stuff in the package (Oscar Mayer type) is YUCK! I thought that high-protein had been debunked once and for all. I know it helps you lose weight (ketosis -- gross!), but it just cannot be a good thing for your kidneys/arteries/liver. How old is Suitor? Is there any hope that we will grow out of this?

Second, where in England did your grandparents live? Did they actually know any English people? In my experience, you cannot go anywhere in the month of December without being offered a mince pie. I wish that I could send you a jar!

Anne said...

He sometimes does--he's not very picky. The high-protein, low-carb thing has been debunked as far as I know. I think he's cherry-picking the science behind it, choosing what he wants to believe because he thinks it works for him. It's partly a weight thing, and partly because he has a family history of (and apparent predisposition to) type-2 diabetes. I'm trying to work on him (gently) to get him to eat more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and so on... but it's a delicate topic. I worry about his health (for the reasons you mention, and also because I just think he must have massive vitamin deficiencies), but I don't feel that it's my place to tell him what to eat. He's 38, almost 39, so I sort of doubt he'll grow out of it unless he can demonstrate to himself that there are other ways to achieve the same objectives.

My grandparents (and my dad and his siblings) lived in Bracknell. Grandpa was in the Air Force and on an exchange program with the RAF at the staff college that used to be there. This would have been in the late 1950s, maybe the very early 60s. Now that I look at it, Bracknell isn't very far away from where you live!

Bee said...


I am someone who is completely charmed by coincidences; inordinately so, according to my husband.

Not only is Bracknell only about 30 minutes away from us -- (we regularly drive through it to cut to the south M25) -- but we've lived in both Wokingham and Crowthorne, which are next-door towns.

Back to the bulgur! I made this for lunch today, and Sigmund and I both absolutely loved it. (The children less so.) I am going to make it again next week -- just to have for lunch, with a slightly bitter, vinegary dark green salad.

Oh, last thing on Suitor's eating habits: Sigmund is actually a type 2 diabetic. Has been for 10 years. (I blame it on the stress he was under at the time, as he has always been stick-thin.)

He eats oatmeal every morning; and I make a lot of bean soups and pasta/veg dishes for him. Will Suitor eat bean soup? Even with a little ham or bacon, it is much better protein than the turkey overload.

I know what you mean --re: different eating habits. Since I love baking and dessert, having the diabetic husband is a bit of a bummer. Luckily, he's very disciplined and we can have cookies around and he's not too bothered. When I no longer have the kids at home, hoovering everything up, I'm not sure what I will do. I wonder if there is a call for volunteer baking work!

Anne said...

I, too, love coincidences. Small world!

I'm glad you and Sigmund enjoyed the bulgur! I bet it would be great with the salad you mentioned.

The Suitor is, unfortunately, the pickiest (adult) eater I've ever known. He will not eat beans, and doesn't care for soup. The only vegetable I can get him to eat consistently is string beans. It's a little ridiculous. He'll eat different kinds of protein--chicken, pork, beef--if I'm cooking, as long as onions don't play too prominent a role. I would like to get him to eat more fiber- and vitamin-rich grains like oatmeal, bulgur, farro, or whatever, but one of his dislikes always gets in the way. Perhaps if I started making multi-grain bread...

Anyway, I appreciate the suggestions, and the reminder that type-2 diabetics can eat things like veg, grains, and so on. The Suitor has this notion that they must all be avoided, and that has never seemed quite right. I've been considering getting a cookbook written for type-2 diabetics--maybe he'll listen to someone else's ideas on the subject! :)

Bee said...

Please tell your man that complex carbs are the way to go!!

The high-protein diet he is eating puts way too much strain on his kidneys.

You can refer him to me!

So what are his good qualities?

Anne said...

Will do. I'm working on him... it's just slow going. He did eat a whole slice of pie on Saturday after his long bike ride. Maybe that's the trick to getting him to eat my baked goods: send him on lots of long rides! I do worry about his kidneys and liver...

Oh, he's got plenty of good qualities to make up for his weirdness with food. :) Most recently, he's been taking great care of me while I've been sick--not to mention when I was a total basket case in the days leading up to my defense!

Bee said...

I'm glad to hear (all) of it!