September 10, 2005

Summer Salad

When summer ends, E & I have a habit of taking about two weeks to stay home and be ridiculously healthy and chill. Ordinarly, summer, for us, is a wine-soaked, culinary storm of social events. With the addition of summer associate madness, this summer was perhaps the most ridiculous yet.

So, when we returned from Labor Day, we began our 15 day recovery period. We spend almost every night at home, just the two of us. We eat home-cooked, simple, vegetable laden meals. We avoid all alcohol (which is, in and of itself, an interesting social experiment. It's amazing how many times you have to say "no thanks" in two weeks, and more amazing how many people want an explanation for your refusal.) We use the downtime to talk to each other each night and become more involved in each other's lives than we have been in months. We (and by we, I mean I) try to remember to jointly do yoga, pushups, and/or situps before bed.

Two nights ago, I made a bulgur wheat salad. The original came from Food and Wine, but it called for Mint, which didn't sound good to me. It also called for toasted almonds, but we have a ton of pine nuts laying around, so I decided to use those instead. Lastly, if there's one thing better than summer tomatoes, it's more summer tomatoes, so the ratio in my version is skewed from the original. The final result: One of the EASIEST and prettiest healthy summer salads I've ever made. It keeps very well in the fridge (it's now 2 days old and I just had a delicious bite as a snack).

2 cups boiling water
2 cups medium-grind bulgur
1 pound green beans
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped italian parsely
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Pour boiled water over the bulgur in a large metal or glass bowl. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes (roughly how long it takes to prepare the other ingredients).

2. Add enough water to cover the green beans to a pot. Bring water and a few dashes of garlic salt to a boil.

3. Wash and trim green beans. Chop into 1 inch segments.

4. Blanche green beans 'til bright green (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and rinse with cold water.

5. Wash and cut cherry tomatoes. Chop parsely.

6. Juice lemons. Mix lemon juice with olive oil. Toss mixture into Bulgur wheat with a fork after the Bulgur has absorbed all of the water.

7. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Toss with a fork. Serve at room temperature or chilled (better chilled).


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