Tag Archives: grain salads

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Salad Edition

Gentle Readers, as Star Wars informs us, there must be balance in the force. In a life full of bacon, there must be some salad. The Practical Cook is actually a fan of salad, salad of all stripes. This challenges comes from @convertiblelife as she is working on a month of salads. My parameters are broad, doesn’t have to be iceberg with ranch. In fact, I can promise you it won’t be. And why stop with one salad when you can have a trifecta?

Grilled Veggie Salad, Potato Salad, Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola and Strawberries

Grilled Veggie Salad, Potato Salad, Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola and Strawberries

Honestly, I could eat salad every day. I do most days. I did today. See above. See below.

The Corporate Lunch Salad: Dismantle the veggie sandwich and add it to the mix!

The Corporate Lunch Salad: Dismantle the veggie sandwich and add it to the mix!

And now, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Salad Edition (fine, salad is not technically an ingredient, let us call it artistic license):

Simple Seasonal Salad with a Moroccan Twist: Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds, mango, goat cheese, and chopped dates (not bacon!)

Simple Seasonal Salad with a Moroccan Twist: Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds, mango, goat cheese, and chopped dates (not bacon!)

1. Fruit Salad. From my awesome SIL, the key is not to mix the fruit till the last possible second. And grapes take up space. You’re welcome, you can now attend potlucks with ease and confidence.

Look to the left of the carbs for the beautiful fruit salad.

Look to the left of the carbs for the beautiful fruit salad.

2. Rainbow Orzo Salad. This is a reminder that a pasta or grain salad does not have to drown in dressing or salt. You can make something healthy and colorful with a fantastic chew.

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

3. Green Salad Guidelines. Something green, something sweet, something crunchy, something salty. Toss with either Balsamic and Olive Oil, or a Sherry Vinaigrette. Example: mixed baby greens, dried cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese. We’ve served this in TPC kitchen for years, it is the house salad. Simple, easy to eat, delicious.

Blueberry Herb Salad: This picture just makes me want to eat it again.

Blueberry Herb Salad: This picture just makes me want to eat it again.

Look for more salad guides upcoming. I love the idea of 30 days of salad. I will confess that our salads have a lot of real bacon bits on them right now. You have your leftovers, I have mine. What’s your house salad? Post a comment, and yes, I’m talking to you.

Simple yet delicious, The Practical Cook's House Salad.

Simple yet delicious, The Practical Cook's House Salad, in Variation.

Email your pictures, queries, and challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Friday, Round 3 of Bacon Brackets: Local Edition!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways, Recipes

The Accidental Butternut Bulgar Recipe

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has been a wee bit sleep deprived. When this happens, simple kitchen tasks can become more challenging. For instance, I had every intent to make my life easy and do a simple couscous dish the other night to go with salmon and asparagus. Then I grabbed the bulgar by mistake.

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

A new recipe was born. Secretly, I was thinking about a grain salad I had eaten recently at Foster’s Market. The balance of salt/sweet/chew was perfect. How to replicate? Apparently by Punting!

The Accidental Butternut Bulgar Recipe

1 average size butternut squash, peeled, scooped, and diced small
1 shallot, diced
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 cup bulgar
1 cup chicken stock (sub veggie stock if you’d like, or more orange juice, or water)
1 cup orange juice (fresh or commercial, I won’t tell)
balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pecans
a handful of parsley, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a medium size skillet with a lid (though it shouldn’t be on right this second) over a strong medium heat until almost smoking. Add cumin seeds and sizzle for a few seconds until you can smell them. Immediately add butternut squash and shallots. Stir. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, until shallots and squash are softened.

Add the squash and shallots to the pan immediately so the cumin seeds don't burn.

Add the squash and shallots to the pan immediately so the cumin seeds don't burn.

2. Add brown sugar and the juice from the orange to the pan. Stir and cover, reducing heat to a simmer. Cook for another 7 minutes until squash is done. Season with salt as needed, and take off heat to splash a little balsamic on the mixture. Keep covered, set aside.

3. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 cup water, stock and OJ to a boil. Add bulgar, stir, cover, reduce heat to lowest of the lows. Congratulate yourself that you did this as a single step and not as a big fat accident like I did, scrambling to add more liquid to the “expletive, that’s not couscous.” Cook the bulgar until the liquid is pretty much absorbed, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the bulgar is done, chewy but not crunchy, take off the heat and stir in the reserved orange zest.

Toss the Accidental Butternut Bulgar with parsley and pecans to finish the dish.

Toss the Accidental Butternut Bulgar with parsley and pecans to finish the dish.

4. Now take the bulgar mixture, add it to the squash mixture, and toss in the pecans and parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, or additional balsamic as needed. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

First, I will say that I’m a fan of all the ingredients involved. After all, I did make the dish, even if it was an accident. That said, it freaking rocks!! I’m not usually that enthusiastic about my own food, but this time, I loved it. I really couldn’t stop eating it. My kids picked out parts of it, the texture variety may have been too challenging, but I consumed bowl after bowl. My name is The Practical Cook, and I have a bulgar problem.

Are you a fan of grain salads? What do you do when you grab the wrong ingredient? Tell me your story below in the comments section!

Send accolades, review requests, and food nonsense to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Forgiving Yourself in the Kitchen.

9 Comments

Filed under Punt!, Recipes