Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beet & Bulgur Salad

I've been quite attuned to the New York Times "Dining & Wine" section for a variety of reasons lately, and one trend I've noticed is a lot of healthy (and tasty!) vegan recipes. I've been having a lot of fun trying some of them out.

This recipe  for beet & bulgur salad was featured in an article by Melissa Clark in the Restaurant Takeaway section. The recipe is from Bill Telepan of Telepan Restaurant on the Upper West Side. It immediately caught my eye, particularly because I was looking for a way to incorporate the last of my winter CSA beets into a spring-appropriate dish.

Never heard of bulgur? It's a whole-wheat with a high nutritional value, often used in Middle Eastern cooking. Beet juice is used to infuse the bulgur, making for a truly bright and beautiful salad!

Beet & Bulgur Salad

Beet & Bulgur Salad
What You'll Need:
1/2 pound beets
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (plus more, as needed)
Black pepper (as needed)
1 cup medium bulgur wheat*
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped dill
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

What You'll Need to Do:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place some foil under the beets and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, a couple of tablespoons water and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover beets with foil, place in a baking pan and bake until tender when pierced with a knife (30 to 60 minutes, depending on how small or large they are). Allow the beets to cool, then peel and dice.

Place bulgur in a large bowl (or heat proof container).

Add the beets and two cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain the beets and reserve the liquid. Take 11/2 cups of the beet liquid and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour over the bulgur. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (or tight lid) and let sit until liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare your beet vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and a large pinch each salt and pepper. Whisk in remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and the canola oil; add more salt and pepper if needed. Add beets to a blender, and pour dressing over them. Pulse until the mixture forms a coarse purée.

Once bulgur has absorbed all of the beet liquid you had previously added (above), add half of the beet vinaigrette to the bulgur and toss well. If bulgur seems dry, add a little more dressing, to taste. Toss in parsley and dill and more salt and pepper if needed. Serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

winter root vegetables

My Thoughts
This dish makes more beet vinaigrette than you'll actually need to dress the bulgur.  You can add the remaining beet vinaigrette to salads or even spread a small amount as a bit of a beet relish onto a sandwich, if you're feeling adventurous.

Although I roasted the beets myself (and they were delicious!), you could buy pre-cooked beets if you are looking to save some time (just skip the first paragraph of the directions above).

I've been experimenting with lots of beet recipes this season. In the fall and winter, roasting is one of my go-tos. Before tackling this recipe, I tried a stellar recipe for beet burgers with lentils and brown rice, from the Post Punk Kitchen. My boyfriend was a bit hesitant, as he's not usually a fan of beet burgers, but he and our omnivorous dinner guest both devoured their burgers!

A final note:
*I used coarse bulgur wheat for this salad since my local supermarket did not have a "medium" grain. It worked great!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Making a Cookbook

Looking for a way to share your new favorite recipes with your friends or family?

Last year, when my brother began eating a vegan diet for health reasons, I wanted more than anything to be able to share some of my favorite recipes with him. Sure, I could have just emailed him a few...but those would easily have been lost in the email netherverse. And besides, I wanted to create something more concrete and special, a true cookbook that he could use for years to come.

I discovered the Tastebook site somewhat by accident, but was thrilled to discover that it had everything I was looking for. On Tastebook, you can start by choosing a theme for your book (I went with "Meatless Masterpieces"), and the site will create a template with recipes that fit within that theme. You can choose to include all or only some of their suggestions, and add as many of your own recipes as you like as well.


If you've been using a recipe manager like Paprika, let's say, it's very easy to copy and paste your own recipes into Tastebook and include them in your book. Tastebook includes wonderful images for you to use with their suggested recipes, and they make it very easy to upload your own images as well. The site also allows you to save your recipes in a personal online database, so that you can easily access them whenever you like. With links to the Food Network and Epicurious cooking sites, among others, they offer a wide range of truly excellent recipes for you to comb through.

You can organize and insert your recipes as you'd like. The book comes with suggested categories which are separated into sections with tabbed dividers; you can organize and rearrange these as you see fit. You can also easily generate a table of contents, and create a dedication page, if you'd like.

The book itself can be on the pricey side--if you go with their suggested book it will be $39.95. They do, however, offer the option to order pages individually which can save you some money. If you order more than one book at a time they will also discount the price. And if you join the site (it's free) they often have promotions around major holidays, etc. The quality is truly excellent, and with their "binder style" presentation, and the inclusion of several blank pockets in the back of the book, you can add recipes as you like (the book will store up to 100 recipes comfortably).

I think this is a great gift idea for birthdays, Mother's Day, etc. My brother couldn't believe how professional the cookbook looked, and neither could I!