It is so odd how we are born with unique palates and preferences. Our oldest daughter is much more like a normal carb-loving kid. She is somewhat picky about meat, adores pasta and pancakes and is always bargaining for sweets. We knew something was different about Baby Whipped (who is now Toddler Whipped) when she turned away from her cupcake on her first birthday. Gasp!
Over the past year, we have discovered that the little one has an affinity for kalamata olives, broccoli, cucumbers and feta cheese. She likes to torture herself by repeatedly trying spicy things. She shudders, her eyes water, she guzzles milk and giggles as she goes at it again.
Our little rascal has been known to sneak sips of coffee when she finds unattended mugs. Don’t call the authorities. We don’t let her drink caffeine. I just find it interesting that she even expresses an interest in them.
My food hasn’t exemplified the utmost creativity of late. I’m starting to weave new recipes back into the fold. But, there have been a lot of standbys, or variations on a theme. We almost always keep good quality feta cheese in our refrigerator from a local ethnic grocer. I have found that feta, kalamata olives, red onion and cucumber can be added to almost anything to make a delicious meal. Mix the combo with pasta, salad greens, chopped chicken or quinoa. Drizzle with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar and you’ve got a meal.
Recently I bought my first bag of bulgur to make some vegetarian bean burgers. The hearty whole grain wheat is a bit like couscous but tastes nuttier. I toasted my bulgur before cooking it to bring out the flavor. We ate the cold salad on top of a bed of arugula (also a bit of a nutty flavor) for dinner and a few time the following days for lunch. It holds up well and gets even tastier over time.
If you don’t have bulgur or don’t like it, you can follow this recipe with your favorite grain or pasta. Be sure to use the best quality feta and olives that you can find.
Bulgur Salad with Feta, Cucumber and Kalamata Olives
4 cups cooked and cooled Bulgur (follow package directions)
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
3/4 cup feta cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cucumber cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup red onion, diced
Olive oil & red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Arugula or other salad greens for serving (optional)
1. If you like a nuttier flavor, toast the dry bulgur in the pan with a tablespoon of olive oil before following package directions to cook. Let cool before mixing with other ingredients.
2. Toss the bulgur, cucumber, feta, onions and olives together with a fork to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of salad greens if desired.
Keeps in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.