Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of the better dinners...

I decided to give last night's mess another chance at lunch today. The noodle texture was actually better and the flavors seemed to be more cohesive - but, it could just have been because I was pretty tired and hungry from mowing the lawn for 3 hours. Hopefully it was for the last time as the weather is getting pretty cool.

Both dishes we had at dinner tonight blew away any sorry memories from last night. I started by making a quite simple side of Crunchy Pear and Celery Salad. I began the recipe by soaking celery stalks in icy water to crisp them up. As the time passes, you make a modest dressing made from raspberry vinegar, honey and a dash of salt. The salad itself is a combination of the crisp celery, diced pears, chunky bits of sharp white cheddar and nutty toasted pecans. The dressing kept the balance of flavors in check and the slight sweetness from the honey worked well. If you don't like the specific cheese or nuts we used, I think the flavors in the recipe would easily adapt to which ever combination you would like. You can even make this a couple hours ahead of time, but just hold back on the nuts until right before serving.

I had no idea just how well pistachios and potatoes went together until we had tonight's one pot dish of Bulgur Pilaf with Potatoes and Pistachios. Diced new potatoes are sauteed in a bit of olive oil until the light white flesh turns into a rich golden crust. Chopped zucchini and fresh garlic are added in and left for just a minute to get a light coating of the oil. The vegetable mixture is removed and the dry bulgur, shallots and coriander are tossed in to begin toasting - this should not take more than a couple minutes. It may be hard to see a color change while the bulgur is in the pan, but it is ready when you begin to smell the nutty aroma that is released. The vegetables are added back in along with vegetable broth, this mixture is left to simmer until the bulgur drinks up the flavorful liquid. Once it's ready to serve, a generous amount of chopped toasted pistachios and fresh parsley are added into the mix. The tender potatoes and crunchy toasted pistachios added to the filling nature of this vegan main dish. I've never really thought of using bulgur as the grain in a pilaf, but it worked so well here and the quick cooking time was a nice benefit.


  1. That pilaf is so beautiful, rustic but elegant! I would love to try that. It's such a unique combination. I'm gonna mark that for future cooking.

  2. Your salad looks great!. Is that from the latest issue of EW? I don't remember seeing it.

  3. Lauren - Thanks!

    Patti - Yes, I believe so!