Dwan-Jjang Gook (Soybean Soup)

It’s really unclear how to spell Korean words in English. Sometimes I think they sound one way, but then the conventional spelling that most people online is completely different. Anyway – I think it should be spelled “dwan-jjang” but I have seen “doenjang” and “ddanjjang” and some others. Regardless of the English spelling, dwan-jjang is fermented soybean paste. It’s made in a variety of ways, but One Fork, One Spoon wrote a little bit about it, so hop on over to read up if you are interested.

Personally, I find the word “fermented” to be a bit off putting, which is why I excluded it from the title of my post. Anyway – this is a quick way to make dwan-jjang gook, or fermented soybean soup. From start to finish it takes less than 30 minutes. I start my rice first, and then start on the soup. I usually make my rice in a cast iron pot or a stoneware pot… Let me know if you want me to do a more in depth post on making rice without a rice cooker.

A quick note before I do get started, for people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity to wheat, this is NOT the soup for you. Many of the commercially manufactured dwan-jjang pastes include some form of wheat… if you are set on eating the soup, you will have to do significantly more research into what types of commercially produced paste do not contain gluten.

Dwan-Jjang Gook (the way my mother makes it)

  • 1/2 cup of dried anchovies, or “mael-chi” 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of dwan-jjang paste (I suggest started at 1 tablespoon and working your way up as your paste may differ in flavor and saltiness than mine.
  • Scallions (optional)
  • 1-3 teaspoons of soy sauce (also, for gluten sensitive folks, almost all commercially manufactured soy sauce contains wheat so watch out for this also)
  1. Boil4 cups of water with the anchovies for about 20 minutes
  2. Remove the anchovies from the water and discard
  3. Muddle the gwan-jjang paste 1 tablespoon at a time into the anchovy stock, and bring to a simmer
  4. Add soy sauce to taste
  5. You can add any variety of vegetable at this point. My favorite is spinach.
  6. Pour the soup over rice and enjoy!!

Easy right?!

Little anchovies in water

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White rice and spinach leaves (I usually just pour the hot soup over the leaves so my spinach is “just” wilted, but feel free to add them to your soup as it simmers.SONY DSC

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Crispy Quinoa Cakes (burger substitute)

The other day I was trying to convince myself that I did NOT need to eat my 3rd burger of the week… I was losing this self-argument, but in a lightbulb of genius I decided to make quinoa patties. I had been thinking about quinoa and black bean vegetarian patties for a few days, so I thought it only natural to use what I had in the house already. I pulled inspiration for these “cakes” or “patties” from here and here. Have you read Yummy Supper before? Excellent pictures, excellent inspiration, and the name is so adorable!! The other blog is a new find, and I’m excited to read more from it!

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Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Inspired from Yummy Supper and EYS)

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 cup of cooked brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used some random raspberry beer cheddar I had languishing in the fridge, but I imagine anything would be good in this! I’m going to try feta next time)
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of flour (optional)
  • 1 cup of olive oil (maybe a little less)
  1. Wash the quinoa and drain well (I find that unless you give the grains a good scrub you end up with a little sandiness so I’m sure to wash them really well and drain in a mesh sieve). 
  2. In a saucepan, bring the quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of water. Once the water boils, lower to a simmer and put a lid on it (bahaha… put a lid on it). And let it cook until fluffy (about 20 minutes).
  3. While your quinoa is cooking, get started on the vegetables.
  4. Dice the celery and onion. Put into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Slice the brussel sprouts. I used pre-roasted brussel sprouts, but you could use frozen ones or whatever other green vegetable you have on hand. Add to the mixing bowl.
  6. Chiffonade the parsley and add to the bowl
  7. Grate the carrots, using the large holes on your grater, into the mixing bowl with the other vegetables.
  8. Once your quinoa is done, add to the bowl and stir until evenly incorporated.
  9. Add in the whisked eggs, shredded cheese, and salt/pepper.
  10. Shape the mixture into patties. I used about 1/3 cup of the mixture for each cake (this makes about 16 cakes)
  11. (OPTIONAL: You can dust the patties lightly in flour before frying them, it helps a little with cohesiveness, but I fried with and without flour… so it’s really up to you.)
  12. In a frying pan (I used a non-stick one), heat the olive oil until a little bit of batter sizzles.
  13. Taste the little sample batter and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
  14. Fry the cakes in small batches, allowing them to brown before flipping them. I cooked mine for about 4 minutes on each side.
  15. I let them drain on a cookie cooling rack.

I ate my quinoa cakes with seared scallops and packed the rest of the cakes in a large container with pieces of parchment paper in between layers. To reheat, I simply put them in a frying pan and reheated for a few minutes with a teaspoon of olive oil. These keep well in the fridge for up to a week, but I doubt they will last that long.

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Let me know if you have any other questions! I think my recipe might be a little garbled, but I made these in a frantic and starved state (and I’m writing it in the middle of the night)!!

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Paleo Cabbage Ribbons

Did I tell you my sister and my mother keep a paleo diet? Yeah. I don’t really… I eat cookies and brownies. I don’t eat much pasta or bread, but I am not paleo. I just don’t have the self control, plus the three months I tried it all I did was eat bacon and eggs. You know what happens when you eat bacon and eggs every day? You get fat.

Anyway – my sister brought home these two gorgeous cabbages from her co-op and then promptly flew the coop for the west coast for the holidays. I’ve been staring at the two cabbages thinking “how much coleslaw can someone eat???”

However, I decided I wanted something warm and yummy. It is snowing outside, after all. I read a couple recipes about roasted slices of cabbage, and as I sliced into my pretty cabbage, I realized the slices wouldn’t stay together, let alone roast in a single piece. However, I threw caution to the wind and roasted my pretty slices. I generously sprinkled some salt, pepper, and good olive oil over the slices. I baked at 400F for about 40 minutes. I had two pans. One, I kept as tidy as possible and let the slices roast. And the second? I pulled apart those slices into beautifully toasted ribbons. I tossed a little chopped garlic in at the last minute and baked for another 5 minutes. Glorious.

Paleo Cabbage Ribbons (an inspired recipe)

  • 1 head of green cabbage, washed and the outer leaves removed
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • about 1/4 cup of olive oil (plus some as needed)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Slice the cabbage into slices and remove the core in the middle sections
  3. In two rimmed baking sheets, place the slices in the sheets, spaced apart well.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Evenly drizzle olive oil
  6. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes
  7. Break apart the slices into ribbons and toss with minced garlic
  8. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until caramelized

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Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares

This is a tart of sorts… it’s a pie? I don’t know what I should call it, but I needed something to help me procrastinate my little heart out. I’m having the worst time focusing on finals this year. I’m good at waking up, but the only thing getting me out of bed is dehydration this semester. This is the first semester I have been single since starting law school, so I have been getting more work done (no pesky boys clamoring for my time), but I’ve also been distracted. I’m thinking about running and getting back into top running form. I’m thinking about where to jet off too… I just want to be on the move.

This morning, my neighbor invited me to run with her running group. I went along and it was phenomenal. I ran 10 miles with the group, paced at about 9:30/mile. It was wonderful. I was back in my apartment by 9:00am. But, the only thing I have been having problems with is splitting headaches after my long runs. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem… but about an hour after finishing a longer (more than 7 miles) run, I’m sitting with my head in my hands with a horrible headache. So instead of hitting the library as planned, I was zoinked out on my bed sleeping off my headache. Maybe it’s the water. Or maybe, like my neighbor suggested, it’s because I run without water and without any nutrition. I just go. Hmm.

This tart is super easy. Five ingredients, thirty minutes, and delicious. You can use any variation of vegetables. I imagine it’s delicious with some squash, maybe thin eggplant slices? Or even tomatoes. Or potatoes… the possibilities are endless.

Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares (the result of Kaprise Kitchen procrastination)

  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced. If you have a mandoline (I do not) this would be supremely easy
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (I used 8 out of a package, but feel free to use whatever thickness or variation)
  • 4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled finely
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  1. Place the phyllo dough on a cookie sheet, brushing the bottom of the first sheet with butter, and brushing alternating layers lightly with butter.
  2. Spread crumbled feta cheese once inch from the sides of the phyllo dough.
  3. Arrange the zucchini and onion slices on top of the feta cheese
  4. Fold the sides of the dough up to cover a little bit of the zucchini and onion.
  5. Brush with butter
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown

Guilty

In law school, I think a lot about guilt. We learn and analyze guilt on so many different levels, and think about proving guilt, disproving guilt, and the nature of guilt. Law school has changed the way I think of people, maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I see things in terms of lawsuits, guilt, and how solid my arguments to nail you to the proverbial wall. I judge things based on the gravity of the information I have in my possession… and I research to further analyze whether my judgment is sound. I judge. I judge a lot.

The other day, someone asked me, “What are your guilty pleasures?” And I thought… how could something that is pleasurable be guilty? Is it wrong? Are you doing something morally questionable? Why does something that make you happy a guilty thing?  Because in my mind – pleasure is good. Feeling good is good. So… what is guilty about it? A lot of people talk about food like that… chocolate is their guilty pleasure… or cupcakes. Or ribs. But to me? Food is never guilty or bad or regrettable. I believe in eating all of the wonderful things in the world and enjoying every single bite… and then if you are worried about the calories? You go run it off… I don’t believe in low calorie. I don’t believe in fat-free. I don’t believe in sugar free. I don’t believe in skipping meals. I don’t believe in dieting to lose weight. I believe in loading up on all of the good things in life. Food, exercise, and laughs.

Anyway, a few years back, my sister and I saw some stellar reviews for an arepas bar in NYC. I was working in the Financial District at the time, so my sister collected by father and me from work and we went to the arepas bar. It was delicious. Granted, my dignified father, sister, and I were squished in a little hole in the wall restaurant table nailed against the wall… but the food was delicious. And I was instantly infatuated with the idea of making my own arepas. After doing my research, I bought a bag of masarepa flour and fixings. My family and I ate arepas for months afterward… it was one of those treats we would gather around the table to eat. It was fun. We’d hollow out the pillows of arepas and load them up with cheese, beans, and meat. It was messy, and inevitably the munchkin would stick her head through our arms and try to lick the table. It was so much fun, and so delicious.

So, now that I live alone and in a little apartment, arepas are few and far between. The frying oil permeates my apartment, and I dislike sitting eating what I consider family food by myself. The arepas we ate at the arepas bar were thick, and hollowed out to make room for fillings, but I make mine thin and crisp. It eliminates the hollowing out step, and then I top the arepas with toppings like canapes. I think this would be an amazing appetizer for a dinner party, the crisp little arepas are just phenomenal with melted cheese and beans. I think any topping would be phenomenal. Maybe some pulled pork, or chicken to make them heartier.

Arepas (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 1 cup of masarepa flour (this is different than masa harina!)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of salsa (or homemade pico de gallo)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (any kind! I used a pre-shredded mix from the grocery)
  • hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula, whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 -1 cup of canola oil
  1. In a bowl, stir together masarepa and water until the water is absorbed. Cover the mixture for 10 minutes
  2. After the dough has rested a bit, wet your hands and form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Flatten them to about 1/4 inch thick. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons per circle to make smaller and cuter arepas.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet
  4. Fry the arepas in the oil until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Allow the arepas to drain on paper towels, continue to fry the remaining arepas.
  6. Arrange the arepas on a cookie sheet
  7. Top with black beans and cheese
  8. Broil (on high) arepas until the cheese has melted
  9. Top with salsa and serve.
  10. The arepas keep well in the refrigerator (without salsa) for up to 3 days. You can simply reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Crispy Falafel

This morning, I had planned on running at 7:00am and then getting to the library just as it was opening. My plans were shot when I woke up this morning to thunderclaps and my poor little munchkin huddled on the covers shuddering. The poor thing is terrified of thunder and shakes like a little leaf. So I slept in and went for my run at noon when the thunder had passed and my munchkin was no longer trembling.

I normally don’t run when it’s rainy outside or water is on the ground because I don’t want to fall. I’ve broken and sprained more than my fair share of bones and joints, and I know the waiting for everything to knit back up will drive me insane. Everyone wants me to run, because I get crazy without it! Anyway, this was my first training run since April 3 (when I ran the Cherry Blossom 10mi), and as I was hitting mile 6, the rain started again. It was glorious. I used to love running in the rain, because everything seems to wash away and the world just seems cleaner. I loved the smell of the cold rain hitting the hot pavement and the precipitation-disliking people scuttling inside. My run was like that today… no one else except me and my feet.

I felt so good, I registered for another half marathon in 21 days! Because I can use the extra race and motivation to get prepared. I’m running my first WHOLE 26.2 miles in July, and the mileage scares me just a bit. I need every minute I can get to get ready. I just want to finish it, but I also want to have a solid time too!

Anyway, since it is finals, I haven’t really been eating anything but the quickest cheese and black bean wraps. I’m craving good vegetables, so on a study break day, I’ll run over to a good grocery and load up.  I read a while back that chickpeas are good for you, so I made falafel. Because, no matter what it is… it always tastes better crispy!!

Crispy Falafel (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 15 oz of chickpeas, drained (or reconstituted chickpeas, about a cup and a half) and then crushed
  • 1 onion, minced finely
  • 2 carrots, minced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chiffonade
  •  1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 egg,whisked
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  1. In a large bowl, crush chickpeas with a fork. I like mine just a bit chunky, so I don’t go crazy. If you like a smoother texture, feel free to use a food processor.
  2. Stir in onion, carrots, garlic, basil and lemon juice.
  3. Stir in egg, and depending on the texture of the mixture, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour.
  4. The batter should resemble a loose cookie dough – firm enough to be shaped into patties, but loose enough to flatten in a pan.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil.
  6. Form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Fry gently, about 4-5 minutes per side until firm.
  7. Serve over greens with a bit of tahini.

Note: I think the next time I make this, I’ll add more vegetables. Maybe a bit of kale or spinach to pack more nutrient rich vegetables into the patties. 🙂

Mushroom Melt

I think we have established, I really like mushrooms. So it’s no surprise, that I made this delicious sandwich. (For the record, I do NOT eat tuna melts. Warm tuna, mayo, and limp veggies is just yuck. And that smell…. it rivals my distaste for the smell of airplane coffee. Gross man.)

There are no hard and fast rules for this sandwich, but I often add other vegetables too. Sometimes I grill some eggplant and zucchini. And I often use different kinds of cheese. Either way you like your sandwiches – this is a quick way to whip up dinner (or in my case, a midnight snack) that is healthier than Chinese takeout.

Mushroom Melt (Kaprise Kitchen style)

  • 1 package of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of good butter (I made my own, and it’s just delicious)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • good rolls, sliced and toasted lightly
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, like mozzarella or provolone
  • 1 tomato, sliced thinly
  1. Toss mushrooms, salt, and pepper in a hot skillet with butter until the moisture is released and evaporated
  2. Stir in onions, and when the onions just begin to become translucent, stir in wine and parlsey
  3. Cook until moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to sear just a bit. Remove from heat.
  4. Toast rolls under the broiler for just a minute, top toasted rolls with tomatoes
  5. Pile mushrooms on top of the roll/s
  6. Sprinkle cheese (or in my case, HEAP!)
  7. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese has just melted
  8. Enjoy!

Comfort Food: Galbi Jjim (Braised Short-ribs)

This is a recipe for Korean braised beef short-ribs… my way. My mother used to make this for me with the proper accoutrements (ginko, chestnuts, dried mushrooms, and Korean radish), but I was delirious, compliments of my cold, at the supermarket so I made do when I got home with a random assortment of food items. The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, but it is important to properly prep the short-ribs before braising them with the sauce and vegetables, otherwise your dish will been extremely greasy because of the heavy marbling in the beef.

Galbi Jjim

  • 2 pounds of bone-in beef short-ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1 small bunch of sliced green onion
  • 2 King Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, 1 inch slices
  1. Cut the short-ribs, one bone per piece.
  2. Place the short-ribs into a large pot, with the bone vertical. Fill the pot with cold water and allow the beef to soak for 1 hour. Change the water three to four times.
  3. Change the water in the pot one final time, and bring the pot of ribs and water to a rolling boil
  4. Simmer the ribs for 15 minutes
  5. During this time, whisk the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and white onion into a bowl.
  6. Remove the ribs with tongs and place on a clean dish. (I also rinsed the ribs under cool water once more to remove a little extra fat)
  7. Pour the remaining liquid into a heat-proof bowl*(because of the high fat content, flushing the liquid down the sink will clog your drain. Instead, let the liquid cool and the fat to float to the service. Discard the fat in the trash. The remaining poaching liquid is beef stock that you can either keep for another dish, or discard. I kept it and put it in my beef stew I made the following morning)
  8. Clean out your pot, and then place the ribs back inside of the pot.
  9. Add the soy sauce mixture, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes
  10. In the mean time, slice the potato, carrot, green onion, mushroom (and really any other vegetable that you want to add, just make sure it’s a sturdy vegetable that will hold up after simmer for an hour).
  11. Add the vegetables to the pot, and using a spoon drizzle some of the liquid over the vegetables
  12. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. (DO NOT OPEN THE LID OF THE POT FOR ONE HOUR)
  13. Check the beef after 1 hour by sliding a knife into the meat. If your knife slides in the meat easily, the dish is ready. If the meat resists, then cover and simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes.
  14. Serve with steamed rice 🙂

Notes on this recipe:

  • This is not a traditional Galbi Jjim recipe… at all
  • Use a heavy pot, like a Le Creuset, with an equally heavy lid
  • Do NOT open the lid of the pot while the meat is simmering, the steam that forms inside of the pot is essential in allowing the meat to cook evenly.
  • Be sure to use LOW heat to ensure your braise doesn’t burn and that you have even cooking
  • Two pounds of short-ribs is enough for two to three people
  • Left-overs keep well for up to 3 days (That’s how long mine stayed in my fridge before I devoured it, I’m sure it’s good for up to a week, but I can’t guarantee past 3 days).

Links to Click

17 Degrees

After spending a week in Florida, with my furry jacket stuffed in my suitcase and dancing down the streets in flats and running outside in the sunshine, I’m feeling down. I want to go back and pick up another bushel of blood oranges and walk on the beach with the sand squishing in my toes while the red juice runs down my chin. I want to put that $15 bikini I fished out of a clearance bin back on and roll around on the sand.

Not to mention the start of classes. EWWW. I’m happy to be back in my cozy apartment with my fluffy little munchkin, but  this morning when the thermometer read 17 degrees… I was blue. 17 degrees is even too cold for a cold weather running junkie like me. My little dog was thrilled, it’s not wonder, because she was born wearing a cashmere sweater… but me? I was born cashmere-less.

Anyway, this general ennui has spread… I’m sitting in the library leafing through Income Tax law and looking through pictures from last week. The sun! The sand! The beautiful hotel!

Normally when I am stuck inside I resort to baking, rolling out jam tarts and baking mounds of chocolate cupcakes. This time? I have  rolled like a taco in my blankets and watching itunes movies on repeat. I didn’t even finish unpacking from Florida yet! And this morning? I realized the puff pastry I was defrosting on Friday was still on the counter in a floopy and gloopy mess. I realized this morning, as I chucked this goopy mess, that I must need a new spark. And inspiration.

So I have given myself a project. I will post every single Monday and Friday of each week (twice a week!) with recipes, pictures optional. You all can keep me on track.

This is a recipe for bbq chicken that I use frequently when I feel that the massive quantities of buttered bread should be offset by some protein. The removing the skin from the chicken is a bit tedious, but it is well worth it.

BBQ Oven Roasted Drumsticks (a Kaprise Kitchen original and favorite)

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup of bbq sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Worchestire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crumbled lavender
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of whole grain mustard
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Using a pair of kitchen shears, remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks. I slide the tip of the shears under the skin and cut from the meaty part of the chicken to the end of the bone. Then I cut through the little tendon and peel the skin from the meaty section down and over the end of the bone. Then I push back the clear and gelatinous membrane from the chicken before rinsing and patting dry.
  3. Cut two diagonal slices into the meaty part of the drumstick, just until a little before you hit the bone.
  4. Whisk the bbq sauce and ingredients together in a small bowl. Using a basting brush, brush the chicken with  sauce
  5. Reserve any remaining sauce for basting
  6. Lie the chicken in the baking dish with about 1 inch of space on each side.
  7. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once during cooking and basting with remaining sauce
  8. Raise the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the juice run clear when you prick with a knife.
  9. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving

Notes on this recipe:

  • Skinless drumsticks are available for purchase at some groceries, however they normally charge up to 2xs more per pound for skinned chicken. I prefer to do it myself (because I am a control freak) and normally buy about 5-10 pounds of drumsticks, skin the chicken and then store it in freezer bags (4 per bag) for whenever I want to have this dish.
  • I use a specific type of bbq sauce (with a yellow label), but the name escapes me right now… but that one is my favorite. Feel free to use any type of sauce you want… this chicken is just as good with a soy/ginger sauce as it is with bbq sauce.
  • During baking, try not to open the oven more than once to rotate the pan, the high temperature required for this dish is essential in having the chicken cook evenly and brown perfectly.
  • If you prefer a slightly crisper crust on your chicken, sprinkle a little salt on the tops of the chicken, it’ll help crisp up nicely.

Butternut Squash Bulgar Wheat Salad

It just started getting cold in Baltimore this week, which coincides with the busiest time of the year for all law students. Well…. maybe not busiest, but absolutely the most stressful. And for a procrastination guru like myself, I find myself in the clutches of mini depression and annoyance because I am so drastically and embarrassingly behind. And of course, the only place I would ever admit this is here, because in law school it really is just all about hanging on.

Yesterday, after spending the entire day fooling around and then sleeping through class (how do you manage to spend 12 hours sitting around, and then manage to SLEEP in class?! How could you possibly be tired from doing nothing?? Well… it’s possible). So I ran to the grocery store for some much needed solace and then hurried back to my kitchen for some much needed therapy. Mind you, I was cooking 1 handed, at times with two but very gingerly. I made the fatal mistake of grating chocolate on my very new and very sharp microplane while drinking some delicious port (perhaps the bottle… but I can’t tell you that), so I am missing a grated portion of my thumb.

I have been looking at recipes for baked pastas and salads that keep well in attempt to study more and spend less time to my elbows in chopped veggies and bowls of flour. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked, so I picked two vegetables that I liked and then went from there.

The focus of this salad is really the wonderfully tender and beautiful butternut squash. I found an adorable and slightly smaller squash so I cubed and used the whole thing. I also found some fluffy curly leafed kale that I immediately paired with the squash.

I didn’t season the bulgar wheat at all, instead figuring if this giant bowl of food was supposed to last a week, then I would want different seasonings each day. I think the best thing to do is pick a different protein each day to toss with the salad and eat. I had mine with a little Italian dressing yesterday and some oil/vinegar this morning. Both were delicious. I’m planning on using this salad as the bed for my roasted chicken legs tonight.

Butternut Squash Bulgar Wheat Salad

(remember this is supposed to last all week, so the recipe is large. Feel free to halve or quarter as necessary)

  • 2 cups of uncooked bulgar wheat (you might consider quinoa or barley or any other whole grain)
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 bunch of kale (or any other sturdy and hearty green)
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jar of olives (I used little green ones, but I think black or any other variety would work just fine)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh chives or green onion (red onion works too), chopped finely
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of chopped figs
  • 1 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts
  • salt, pepper, and olive oil as needed
  1. Cook the bulgar according to package directions (I would suggest under-cooking by just a bit because the texture and crunch of al-dente bulgar adds more dimension to the salad). Drain and cool
  2. Bring a salted pot of water to boil
  3. Roughly chop the kale (use more than you think necessary since this boils down quickly)
  4. Peel and cube your butternut squash (you can buy this pre-sliced in my grocery but I like chopping so I did it myself)
  5. Plunge the kale into the boiling water and cover for about 3 to 4 minutes. I left most of the steams in the kale, so I boiled a little longer to soften the ribs of the kale. If you prefer crunchier kale, feel free to blanch.
  6. Remove and drain the kale – when the kale is cooled, you will need to squeeze the moisture out of the leaves. I realize this removes a lot of the nutrition, but the salad needs to be as dry as possible.
  7. Bring the water back to a boil and plunge the squash into the water. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your cubes. You want your squash to be soft but maintain the cube shape.
  8. Drain and cool the squash.
  9. While your bulgar, kale, and squash are cooling – chop and prepare the other ingredients.
  10. In a very large bowl, toss of the ingredients with a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well.
  11. Taste and season accordingly

Keeps for one week in a well sealed container.