Lately I´m quite in love with bulghur – it´s very quick cooking, has a very pleasant texture and it seems easy on digestion, even though it´s gluten, probably because it´s sprouted before it´s dried.
I just cook it for 15-20 minutes in a double amount of water, with a pinch of salt.
In a separate pot I heated 2 tsp of olive oil and sauteed minced garlic ( 1 or 2 cloves – I´m doing more garlic right now) for maybe 2 minutes, then added fresh cracked pepper and a blend of Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme… any will do) and then a bunch of florets of cauliflower and broccoli. I added some water (maybe 2 cm), covered the pot with a lid and let simmer for some 15 minutes or so. When the veggies got soft, I mixed them into the cooked bulghur.
Served with a lettuce and rucola salad with a dressing of 2 tsp flaxseed oil, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, a small pinch of salt and finely chopped fresh dill. And for the man I made a little side of seitan cooked under a lid with some maple syrup, shoyu, mirin and lemon juice 🙂
This time I tried a recipe out of my most favourite macro book – Jessica Porter´s Hip Chick´s Guide to Macrobiotics. This boiled salad uses a slightly different method than the other boiled salad I posted about – you don´t really blanche the veggies, you just dip them into boiling water and immediately turn off the gas, leaving them in the water until they get a bit more bright, about one or two minutes. They stay very crunchy and taste almost like raw (well, except for the leafy greens perhaps, which get wilted very fast). This is a positive feature of this salad, and at the same time it can be a disadvantage if you have more troubled digestion, as I do – I think I prefer a “real” boiled salad, where the veggies actually boil for a couple of minutes. But I´m sure this will be great once the weather is hot and once my digestion improves so that I can process more raw food 😀
I “boiled” red radishes, curly cabbage, pointed cabbage, spring onion, parsnips, parsley root, green and yellow kohlrabi, green beans, and also (very briefly) some rucola, dandelion greens and corn salad greens. I topped the salad with a dressing coming from the same book. It doesn´t look too pretty, but it tastes very nice! Just roast half a cup of pumpkin seeds (which you washed and drained beforehand) until they start popping and turning more brown, then either process them in a blender, or (as I did) grind them in a suribachi until they are mostly crushed (depends what consistency you are aiming for). Then add half a tablespoon of umepaste and a bit of water, to your liking, mine came out quite chunky.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I miss a good old raw salad while eating macrobiotic…I could have it once in a while, provided the weather is warm, but not on this specific tailored diet I am now doing. Plus it´s not yet THAT warm. Plus raw veggies make my stomach moan for hours. But there´s a way! And it´s called quick-boiled salad…
You cut up all your veggies (that is, all veggies that you would like to include in a salad) into pieces that suit this purpose 😀 You bring to boil a large pot of water and then you quickly blanche (boil) each of these vegetables, each kind separately! Start with the most sweet or neutral tasting veggies and end with the most pungent or bitter ones, otherwise the sweet ones will taste a bit bitter. Pile all blanched veggies into a big salad bowl. Blanche the veggies really shortly, some need just a few seconds of a dip (softer leafy greens), some need maybe 3 minutes, but not more, it´s a salad 😀 At the end of the operation, strain any excess water from the bowl. You can make a dressing too(I mixed shoyu, lemon juice, water and a teeny bit of rice malt).
I blanched: young carrots, spring onion, leek, thin parsnip slices, thin parsley root rounds, dandelion greens, pointed cabbage, chinese cabbage, broccoli (+leaves), red radish (+leaves), celery stalk. I also added non-blanched radicchio leaves and rucola (but I mixed them into the hot mixture so that they were not completely raw), corn kernels from a jar, fresh shelled garden peas, sliced olives and toasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!
For today´s lunch I cooked millet with hokkaido pumpkin chunks (this time normal millet, though I prefer sweet millet for this dish) and stir-fried some veggies on a bit of rice bran oil fennel, leek, carrot, daikon, parsnip and green beans), which I seasoned with tamari, mirin and lemon juice (ratios 2:2:1). You can never go wrong with this combination of seasonings, I use it very often 😀
But the reason I am actually posting this post is the “blanched salad” – a typically macrobiotic salad which is not raw, but you combine greens that you previously separately blanched in a pot with rapidly boiling water for a short time. Sliced chinese cabbage needs just about half a minute, chopped kale maybe 3 minutes (whole kale leaves would need 4-5 minutes though) and sliced white winter cabbage about 5 minutes. The only raw addition was rucola (arugula) leaves, which seriously are too fragile to be blanched and at least give a slight pungent taste. The greatest part was the dressing: I mixed 1 tbsp white (shiro) miso, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tbsp ume plum vinegar, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard and water to thin. I now vow to make blanched salads more often!