Whole Grain Bulgur Wheat Salad with Roasted Leeks, Small White Beans and Currants

Ingredients

  • 4 large leeks, halved lengthwise, cleaned and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can Goya Small White Beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup Whole Grain Bulgur Wheat
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves and tender stems

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Using a large rimmed baking sheet, toss leeks with 1/4 cup oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread leeks out in a single layer (use a second baking sheet if necessary) and roast, tossing frequently, until golden brown and crisp at the edges, about 20 minutes.
 
2. In a large bowl, toss leeks with beans, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, chile flakes and garlic. Stir in 2/3 cup oil. Let marinate while you prepare the Bulgur.
 
3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook Bulgur until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Toss with bean mixture. Stir in currants and celery leaf. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
 
Based on a recipe from The New York Times: Farro Salad with Leeks, Chickpeas and Currants
I served this with Apple Chicken Sausage.

Portrait Of The Artist, Heather Green

Yesterday,
January 29, 2013,
I had the distinct pleasure
to photograph the portfolio of paintings and drawings,
a beautiful and interesting collection,
of the artist 
Heather Green.
I will be writing about her art in my next post.
Meanwhile, here is Heather:
If you are looking for distinctive portrait, nature, or documentary photography,
or someone you know is looking
for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life,
please contact me.

Rutabaga Soup with Herb-Crusted Scallops

This is a perfect cold winter night’s soup! I have made it twice; last night I smashed the vegetables, which I preferred to the other time when I puree the soup.
Smashed Version

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 3/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup chopped onion
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, mined
1 6-ounce Yukon Gold potato, peeled chopped
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock

6 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon mined fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

Melt butter in large pot over medium-low heat. Add rutabagas, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add potato, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to pot. Cover and cook another 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock and bring to simmer. Cover partially and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring soup to simmer before serving.)

  
Cut each scallop horizontally in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine 1 tablespoon minced thyme, tarragon and parsley in bowl with oil. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add scallops and sauté until just opaque in center, about 1 minute per side.

 Ladle rutabaga soup into warmed soup bowls. Place 2 scallops atop soup and a sprig of parsley. Serve.

~Based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, December 1999 (which was based on a recipe from Harvest restaurant, Atlanta).
Puree Version

Turkey and Black-Bean Soup with Spinach

Outstanding! From Food & Wine “Quick From Scratch, One-Dish Meals.” This is a great cookbook.

I made a few changes; noted below:

I halved the recipe; I used 1/2 pound ground turkey, cooked; 3 cups stock, 5 ounces spinach and I small can chopped tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 15-ounce can) 
  • 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock 
  • 1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (one 15-ounce can) 
  • 1 1- pounds piece cooked deli turkey, cut into 1/2-by-1/2-by-1/4-inch slices
  • 10 ounce spinach, stems removed, leaves washed and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips

Preparation

  1. In a large stainless-steel pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.
  2. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cocoa, Tabasco sauce, oregano, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans and turkey to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and the bacon. Cook until the spinach just wilts, about 1 minute. 
  4. Variations : · Use smoked turkey in place of plain. : · Substitute 1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed kidney, pinto, or cannellini beans for the black beans.
  5. Wine Recommendation: You need a lusty red wine with plenty of spiciness and fruit flavor to stand up to this powerful soup. That describes zinfandel to a T, so try one here.

Spicy Shrimp Biryani

HOT. HOT. HOT.

AND YUM. YUM. YUM.

And the house smelled wonderful!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati or brown rice
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro or parsley
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1 1/2 inches
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 – 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • salt to taste 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the rice and soak it in cold water until needed.
  2. Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and turmeric and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Peel the ginger and garlic and use a food processor to blend it to a paste with the cilantro/parsley and jalapeno (I did not seed the pepper.). Use a little water if it is too dry.
  4. Chop the onion and mint and leave to the side until needed.
  5. Heat the oil on medium in an oven safe dish. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf. Saute until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped onion and saute until light brown, stirring constantly.
  7. Add 1/2 of the paste and saute for another minute or two.
  8. Add water and salt (1-2 teaspoons depending on taste) and bring to this to a boil.
  9. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water and add the butter and mint. Bring this to a boil, cover and place it in the oven. Bake for 20–40 minutes (depending upon what kind of rice)
  10. When the rice has been in the oven for about 10-30 minutes (or almost done) heat some oil in a saute pan and add the remainder of the paste along with the other bay leaf. Saute this for a minute or two and add the shrimp. Saute the shrimp until done; about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the rice from the oven. Top it with the shrimp.