The Raw Continues Through Winter

In September I could already see winter and I vowed to enjoy eating quick to prepare, raw salads as much as I could. But now it’s November, the darkness swings in earlier, and I’m still compiling uncooked greens.

Cabbage is quite wonderful raw, actually.

Raw Cabbage Salad with Grains, Beans and Avocado

I sliced one large savoy cabbage leaf into confetti, letting the slim greens better succumb to a heavier dressing. However I decorate the greens, I let it sit for about 10 minutes to gather together before eating.

Yesterday I added bulgur wheat and butter beans (I had cooked a big batch of both earlier in the week), diced avocado, oven-dried tomato and parsley with a feta-cumin dressing.

Sometimes I add other vegetables, but I always try to cover the cabbage in a fairly substantial dressing, otherwise it’s just a bit too coarse.

(PS – Does anyone else think of their Cabbage Patch dolls when eating cabbage? And maybe feel a little guilty?)

More in>>> Dark Green Raw Salads

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And She Ate the Pepper, Raw

I used to work in the basement of a converted townhouse for a political polling firm. My co-worker and friend Ruth used to visit me around 11 am; that’s when she took a snack break. She’d bring a knife, a plate and one green bell pepper.

She’d cut a slice. Eat it raw. One whole green pepper.

That was years ago, right when I started playing around in the kitchen. I never cooked with bell peppers because I would just think of Ruth and that raw, raw pepper. I thought of peppers as a snack. Soon I realized peppers turn into wonderful things once cooked, once broiled, once roasted, once whizzed around in a blender and turned into a sauce.

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The Search Continues: Bulk Bin #3387

Various Grains

The grains from bulk bin #3387 are about to be shown Who Is Boss. I’m tired of #3387 mocking me as I push past it to reach for properly labeled grains. I will figure out what the fuck this grain is and use that entire bag in one sitting. So. There.

In case you are wondering what I’m talking about, last week I pleaded for someone to come forward and name this unmarked grain I had sitting in my cabinet. To recap…

We had a few guesses:

NeeNee: really short grain brown rice or wheat berries
AW: some sort of barley
Maids: yellow dent corn from the Andes. Or Kamut.
dosdos, negged those guesses: I’m pretty sure farro is longer than that. Kamut’s pretty long and narrow. Wheat berries is a good guess but it doesn’t have the line down the middle splitting it in half like a little long booty…. I’m really leaning towards rice.
Danielle: Amaranth?
ajjelibean: Does raw sunflower kernels from Tree of Life sound familiar?

But no one could claim certainty and I have no idea what the Tree of Life is.

Although there were a few other tips. Olga from Mango & Tomato suggested I cook it like brown rice and Brit and westcoast thought I should think just a bit harder where I may have bought the grains to trigger an answer.

My guess is farro because I know that I’ve wanted to try it. But no one thinks that it looks like farro.

Oh well. So here is one last shot. Maids suggested that I show the mystery grain in comparison to other identified grains. See above. Please help.

Who are you bulk bin #3387?!?!

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Raw Is All the Rage


Tom Colicchio was seriously mean last week when he pounded Jacqueline about how she didn’t know the recipe of her (failed) chicken liver mousse after preparing it hundreds of times. Jackie – I feel your pain. I have simmered enough bulgur wheat over the years that I should remember the proportions of water to grain and its cooking time. In fact, the first recipe I ever shared on Endless Simmer was for a salad with bulgur wheat.

But I still googled for a recipe. And this is when I found an awesome idea: cook bulgur with chickpeas. Because I never muster the forethought of soaking and boiling dried beans days ahead of when I would consume them, I always turn to canned beans. I don’t think to prep them very much. But now, I will think different. The Second Lunch provided guidance to cook a big batch of this bulgur wheat and chickpea combo and save it throughout the week for a few different meals. It took her up on it. Her timing was right on. But more, the chickpeas became ultra tender and not chalky as they sometimes can be coming right out of the can. So thank you, The Second Lunch. I dedicate this salad to you.

Raw Kale Salad with Bulgur, Chickpeas and Avocado in a Cottage Cheese-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Sorry, I had to name everything in the title of this salad. All of the ingredients are too important not to mention. Amongst my friends raw kale salad is becoming a major topic of conversation. Raw kale is not bitter like some greens and can take a huge smacking of an aggressively flavored dressing; the green just won’t wilt under its weight.

I decided to jump on the trend. On top of raw kale add cooked (like this) bulgur wheat and chickpeas, chunks of avocado, scallions and salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix two spoonfuls of cottage cheese with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and pour over salad. (I asked, it’s okay to add cottage cheese to salad.)

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Restaurants are Catching Up


Now that I’m sufficiently through with summer vegetables, I’ve been getting really excited for a new season of vegetables. But what really excites me is restaurants that are also embracing the idea. I went to bird watch at a neighborhood pizza place. What caught my attention was the blackboard sign: “$5 slice and draft beer.”

That shit just doesn’t exist in the District. Shit, sometimes you can buy a Miller Lite for as much as $4. Anyway, so a bunch of us went to Radius and all of a sudden my mouth hung open and I oggled the menu.  There was pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash soup and a pizza with kabocha pumpkin puree, ricotta, feta, caramelized mushrooms and red onions. Unfortunately I was too hungover to experiment and just grabbed a large slice of cheese. I just love that everyone from high-end restaurants to the local pizza place endorses the mantra of eating seasonally.

Back to my kitchen.

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