Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 59 - Kale and Shell Beans, Bulgur Wheat, and Roasted Corn

Every week, I make a meal for Marcy, who is so easygoing - she'll eat pretty much anything. But if I actually ask her what she really wants, like this afternoon when I texted her "Steak or fish?", the answer always comes back, "Fish, or just veggies."

Which I know means, just veggies. So here's yet another all veggie meal.

Kale and Shell Beans (p. 327)

This is the do-over that I deemed necessary after making this the first time around with dried black beans. Now that fresh cranberry beans are readily available, I was excited to try it again.

This is only the second time I've used fresh shell beans, the first time being the veal stew with favas. Cranberry beans are beautiful! And so much easier than favas. Favas required so much work, just getting them out of the shell was an ordeal, and then the blanching to get them out of the second shell?... Zzzzzzzzz.

Cranberry bean pods, on the other hand, open right up, releasing four or five big white beans speckled with cute little red spots. And they're ready to be cooked! For the record, those sweet red freckles disappear when the beans get cooked. :-(

The beans' cooking water smells so yummy: cinnamon sticks and oregano (I actually used marjoram) and salt and peppercorns. And then all that kale and garlic and red pepper flakes... great ingredients. The flavor that really makes this dish is the final splash of lemon juice. Amazing.

This is a great dish for a vegetarian, and the portion in the book that "serves 4" is just right for a main course for two.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Bulgur Wheat (p. 413)

I was surprised to see that bulgur cooks up like couscous, just longer, i.e. pour boiling water over it, cover, and let absorb for 30-45 minutes. I've only eaten bulgur as an ingredient in tabbouleh, but it totally works as a side grain.

We were ready to eat before the water had all been absorbed, so I did a quick stir, waited a few minutes, and then grabbed the dry grain from the top of the bowl, which tasted great. And by the end of the meal, the water in the remainder of the bulgur was completely absorbed.

This is easy and hearty and tasty! The only downside is, after sitting for 30-45 minutes, it's not hot.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Roasted Corn (p. 313)

Maybe it's a little early for really good corn, but I saw it at Fairway and couldn't resist.

This corn is roasted in the husk. I wasn't sure how it would work to slit the husks and remove the silk, but it went fine. I put sprigs of thyme and marjoram in there, with some butter and salt, but I left out one really big step: tying them up with kitchen twine. Eeek!

One of the ears cooked up with the husk mostly closed, approximating what a twined version would be, and it was great! Moist and fresh!

The ears that cooked with more open husks were equally good, but different: a little more dried out, almost like grilled corn.

Though all the herbs were dried up, and we couldn't taste any herb flavor around the corn, these tasted terrific.

I think I'll be trying this again with the twine, just to see if it keeps the herbs fresh and infuses more flavor.

Almost done with the roasted veggies. Just mushrooms left!

Jeff: B
(for forgetting the twine)
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

If it's Marcy, it must be veggies.

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