I am incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. This past August, while we were visiting Ben’s home town of Seattle to celebrate the marriage of his sister, we were constantly surrounded by our amazing U.S. ohana. One of our favorite – and most memorable – evenings in Washington was a great dinner party put on by Ben’s really close family friends in Shoreline.
The hosts, Uncle Wayne and Auntie Cathy, are two of my favorite people in this universe. Their disposition, love of live, and priorities are truly in alignment with my own and I have come to love them on a very deep level. Uncle Wayne barbecued a fresh northwest salmon and a bunch of veggies that evening while Auntie Cathy made a few seriously kick-ass recipes (including pesto pasta + a bomb salad). The recipes were so good that I asked Auntie Cathy for tips. She showed me a well-worn cookbook called the “Moosewood Cookbook” and I stood there reading it for at least ten minutes before Ben’s Pop interrupted my blissful this-cookbook-was-made-for-me bubble.
[Side-note: Mom + Pop C. are two of my biggest kitchen role-models. They make the perfect team as Mom is a Nutritionist who loves wholesome, fresh, nutrient-filled foods and Pop is adventurous, has incredible techniques, and great taste.]
Pop then explained that they have this particular cookbook (in a tattered and well-utilized condition) and that it should be a staple in every health-conscious home. And then, he said five awesome words:
“We’ll get it for you.”
Pop and Mom were thinking on multiple levels here; apparently the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper and Ben and my anniversary was coming up shortly!
Sure enough, around October 10th, Mr + Mrs C. on Maui received a package from Mr + Mrs C. in Seattle. I. was. ecstatic (Ben too – mainly because it meant he’d be taste-testing)!
This cookbook is based on whole, nutritious foods, is vegetarian, super easy to follow, has heaps of recipes from many cultures – from starters to desserts! – and has photos! Over a month after receiving the book, it hasn’t left our counter-top. It is my favorite!
[Seriously, how did I get so lucky?]
Our favorite recipe so far? (I mean, seriously, we’ve made this every single week since getting the cookbook – trying different variations…)
This tasty balanced salad contains good amounts of both protein and fiber. I changed a few things (using less herbs and almonds rather than walnuts because I didn’t have them in the house, less oil cause that’s how I am, etc.). It was my first time working with bulgur wheat, but I really like it! It gains flavor as it marinades, so keeping it in the fridge for leftovers is encouraged 🙂
Bulgur is a whole grain most commonly used in Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes such as tabbouleh. It has a light, nutty flavor, is a good source of protein, fiber, potassium and iron and has a low glycemic index.
[this is what bulgur wheat looks like straight from the bulk bin at Mana Foods]
- 1 c dry lentils
- 2 c water
- 1 c dry bulgur wheat
- 1 c boiling water
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 c lemon juice
- 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp Salt-Free Italian herbs
- black pepper to taste
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
- 1/3 c red onion finely minced
- 1/2 stalk celery, finely minced
- 1 small bell pepper
- 1/2 c crumbled fat free feta cheese
- 1/2 c chopped almonds/walnuts
[If you like raw onions – like Ben – you can eat this salad cold as is, or if you don’t – like me – you can sautee the veggies in oil rather than keeping them raw and eat it warm.]
In a medium pot, bring lentils and water to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain well.
While lentils are cooking, place bulgur in a small bowl. Add boiling water and cover with a plate. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Add everything to the lentils.
[check out that Meyers lemon from the farmer’s market! Seriously, it was as big as the pepper and super juicy too!]
Cover and refrigerate.
Enjoy! Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Get excited. You’ll be seeing many, many more recipes from this amazing cookbook!