cooking day!

I woke up Friday with the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Only Living Boy in New York” stuck in my head (I even tweeted about it). Particularly the line “hey, I’ve got nothing to do today but smile,” which is appropriate because I realized I didn’t have anything to do that day but smile! That’s the best thing about summer — not having any responsibilities to tie you down. Except for summer school. And bills. And work.

why is mediterranean food so amazing?

But anyway! Friday, I didn’t have to do any of those things. So I got in my car and took a trip down to Central Market. Central Market is the Texas version of Whole Foods where you go if you want a better produce selection, more bulk items, and lower prices. Just my humble opinion. I ended up perusing the produce for 30 minutes and picked out the best little purple potatoes (you’ll see them soon) and brussel sprouts and a ton of spices I needed.

romaine and spring mix with sprouts, cucumbers with a drizzle of lemon juice, half an avocado, sunflower seeds, and tabbouleh

Then I went home and, because I had nothing to do but smile, I decided to try a couple recipes I’ve had in my back pocket: tabbouleh and granola bars (SIDENOTE: If you buy granola bars you are delusional. You can make your own for far less money, more deliciousness, and fewer chemicals). Both were easy and fun to make — good foods for making on the weekend and throwing in one’s backpack for a busy week at school. I also had the tabbouleh on a salad today for lunch and it was pretty delicious. This recipe doesn’t taste quite like other tabboulehs I’ve had; I can’t put my finger on the missing piece. But it’s definitely superb in its own way. The granola bars aren’t very sweet (if you like them sweeter, I would mix a bit of stevia, honey, or agave nectar into the mix before baking). However, they’re perfect for breakfast on the run or a mid-day snack. So with no further ado…

Tabbouleh, adapted from Ina Garten. Approximately $6; serves at least 8. It makes a lot.

1 cup bulghur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (I didn’t add these because I don’t really like mint in savory things, but go for it if you do)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

Jeff modeling the tabbouleh

Granola Bars, adapted from KathEats.com. Approximately $3 (!!!); makes 9 bars.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dried fruit (I used 1/4 cup cranberries, 1/4 cup pineapple, and 1/4 cup mango)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine. Pour into a 9Ă—9 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 40 minutes. Cut into 9 squares. (I accidentally messed up and put the mix in a 9×13 pan. Some of the liquid didn’t hold and the bars are thinner. If you only have a 9×13, you should probably double the recipe!)

cranberry-pineapple-mango oatmeal granola bars

Hope you enjoy the recipes, and have a fantastic Memorial Day!

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One response to “cooking day!

  1. Pingback: tofu sesame ginger noodles | The First Kitchen·

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