Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A workaday day

I don’t cook dinner every day. In fact, I usually only cook real food when I have company or am going to work. Rachael is an unreliable dinner companion, and I don’t enjoy preparing a meal and then eating it alone. When I am home by myself, I frequently have Cheerios or Corn Pops (my very favorite) for dinner. If I am feeling terribly gourmet, I slice a banana or chop some fruit to put on top. At work, someone always eats with me, so it is a more social event, and therefore more labor-worthy. In fact, when I get out my dinner, my colleagues often come in to see what I have prepared. Then they sit around and discuss it. This puts a bit of pressure on me, especially if I haven’t gotten groceries enough for something tasty or interesting. One day I had very little on hand, and had purchased one of those yummy Asian noodle soup “just add hot water” things. On a previous occasion, several people were shocked that I had brought a microwave Indian dinner, and this soup would be even more of a letdown for my image (such as it is!) as well as a blow to my vanity. I was telling Rebecca how what I really wanted to eat was a bowl of already made noodle soup –I LOVE Japanese noodles- but felt pressure to please my dinnertime audience. She suggested that I dress it up. What a great idea! I had some mushrooms and some baby bok choy, so I sautéed that along with garlic and onions, added some ginger, and had a lovely meal. The audience was impressed and satisfied and I had my packaged soup.
One of my standbys is spinach salad, pictured here, and another is tabouleh, always a success as long as you have flavorful tomatoes. Here is a recipe for the tabouleh.

1 cup of bulghur
½ cup chopped lovely red onions
½ cup chopped parsley, cilantro and basil or mint
About 1 cup chopped tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
Salt (about ½ teaspoon) and a few generous grinds of pepper
Olive oil – about 2-3 tablespoons

This recipe depends entirely on the tomatoes. They must be flavorful and delicious.

Put the bulghur in a bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover it with some to spare. Let it sit until the bulghur is soft – softer than al dente, but not much softer. If the water is absorbed before the bulghur is soft, add more water. This will take about a half hour.

Meanwhile, chop the vegetables. When the bulghur is soft, drain it in a sieve. Add the vegetables, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir it up gently. Taste it to check the salt. Add the olive oil and stir that in. Voila! Yummers!

Today I added a nectarine to it and that was very good.


rebecca said...

What pretty salads! Did you take those pictures at work?

Laura said...

As a co-worker, I can vouch for the deliciousness of your work dinners. Always something green, healthy, crunchy and colorful that draws in the curious to say - what did you make today. :)