Mary Beth Writes

This is not a recipe blog. You may sometimes wonder what kind of blog this is, but I bet you have figured out we’re not here to cook. Still, sometimes I come across amazing recipes and today I want to share two of them,by referring you to the sites where I found them.

How do I find these sites, you ask? 

Simple. Google the name of two or three ingredients you would like to use up. This takes you to recipes that use those foods; you decide if you want to try them.

Sometimes this Wild Exploration doesn’t work. The roasted sweet potato and carrot soup two weeks ago was a recipe that didn’t fledge.

But these two are good and I’ve made them several times.

The first is for Tuna, Bulgur, and Caper salad. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/bulgur-salad-with-tuna-and-capers/3461/

Yes, I had bulgur in the pantry. I can’t remember why I bought it in the first place, maybe for tabouleh. Bulgur is cracked and par-boiled wheat berries - so if you are gluten-intolerant this probably won’t work for you (maybe with barley?) Bulgur is not expensive. The four main flavors in this recipe that make it so amazing are the roasted bulgur, tuna, lemon, and capers. You will see there are other flavors; garlic, onion, and whatnot.  I don’t think I’ve used ALL the proper ingredients exactly as listed yet. Worse, I tend to use lemon juice from a bottle (the horror!) instead of from fresh lemons. Still tastes awesome.

This is an interesting explanation of bulgur: http://sanaacooks.com/2013/02/what-do-you-know-about-bulgur-tomato-bulgur-pilaf/  Four- and five-year olds chasing crows off the roof?  All the ones who don’t fall off must really enjoy this.

Anyways, I don’t top this dish with the tuna, I mix it in. Fresh herbs are great. Dried will work.

There is a LOT of nutrition in bulgur; protein, magnesium, Vitamin-6, and a lot of iron – all those things female bodies (especially) need to make healthy blood and healthy bones. Add in the tuna and the other sprightly ingredients, a person could handily make this for fast lunches or to bring as a salad or side dish to dinner at someone’s house. (Well, only if they invite you first, I suppose.)

About capers. You can buy them in your grocery store capers aisle (next to the mad-cap rom-coms). OR you can save upwards of $1-3 per year by gathering nasturtium seed pods at the end of summer; put them in a jar of cider vinegar in the refrigerator. I chop the capers to get that piquant caper- flavor in every bite.

I’ve been waiting for an occasion to use the word piquant.

I’ve made this for company dinners several times, as well as for just us.  http://www.sarahwaldman.com/artichoke-tart-with-polenta-crust/

Polenta isn’t hard to make, you just need to hang out in your kitchen so you can follow the instructions and stir the cornmeal mush every two minutes.  To get the polenta into the tart pan (or cookie sheet, or the bottom of a sheet cake pan); oil your fingers to simply just push, flatten, and then build up the crust edges.

I’ve made this with goat cheese but also with cheaper feta; canned artichokes, parmesan out of the green canister. This stuff is elegant and also – wait for it - piquant.

Sometimes the world gives us way too much high fructose corn syrup and drive-through salt and all the rest of those things that taste so good going down, but are not, in the long run, our friends.  I thought I’d share possible foods that are just as addictive - which are actually healthy for us and our kids and our friends.

Do you have unusually delicious, healthy, inexpensive and fancy recipes?

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The Choosing Season

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.”  (https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-...)

The Arrows of Yore

I have a weird dark closet in the back of my soul. In it are critical things people have said to me in my life. I rarely consciously think about those old cuts and criticisms, but they are tucked in back there and sometimes I remember them uneasily.

Here are some of my particular arrows of yore:

“Can’t you do anything with her hair, Dorothy?” Dorothy was my mom. My dad liked his daughters’ hair to be curly and orderly, mine was straight and flyaway. I think I was in my 40’s before I realized OMG I do not have “problem hair”… whatever the hell that is.

Make Persimmon Cookies; Don’t make a Persimmon Life.

We are new subscribers to “Imperfect Produce” which is a service that delivers imperfect (duh) but safe and flavorful veggies and fruit to your house. This helps to keep “imperfect” produce from being wasted. (https://www.imperfectproduce.com/  I don’t get kickbacks from them.)

We are open-minded about trying new things to eat so when they included a pomegranate – cool. I enjoyed pomegranate, raisin, and walnut oatmeal I invented for myself.

Buy Angry

Frugality is a tool and a weapon. You can use it to be powerful.

What?

Frugality and Privacy

 “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”

When one of our kids was 8-years old, Len thought it would be fun to let that kid drive his car. I swear - though I doubt you will believe me - no drinking was involved. Len just really believes in our kids and sometimes this turns into bigger adventures than one would expect.

Did I mention the car was in the garage so it needed to be backed out? Also, the child in question was too short to adequately reach the pedals.

Mindful Chickens – Up North Weekend Edition 9/24/18

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of little things like bugs and crumbs, dollars and daily choices.

Several years ago our son and his wife decided that they were going to set a goal to visit every state park in Wisconsin. There are 50 state parks and they only have a few more to go; what a cool way to claim where one lives.

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