Archive for the ‘meze’ Category

Bento #352

Red Couscous salad with cucumber, onion and parsley, fried halloumi pieces on more parsley and watermelon for dessert.

This is my own box. Somehow it was hard to photograph it tonight.

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Bento #320

Big box (foreground): bell pepper stuffed with feta, olives, cherry tomato, chocolate, mouhammara, eggplant spread and some parsley and lettuce as decoration.
Small box (background): Tabbouleh, more olives, feta with black pepper and another cherry tomato.
Iranian flatbread on the side.

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I have to admit: I’m actually not the grain fanatic in my family. That would be my mother. She’s the one who always brought home interesting new grains to try instead of rice and still does. Now that I no longer live at home, I still sometimes get some strange new sorts of grain from her (when I visit, or in a packet…). And recently, I’ve also started to go from my usual “oh-no-boiling-rice-woud-take-too-long-let’s-have-pasta” attitude over to tasting more healthy and delicious sorts. There really is so much more than rice and wheat! (Nothing wrong with the two, though.)

So, it’s with pride I announce a new series on WereRabbits: Grain reviews!
Each episode will review a different type or variety of food grain, some of its background, my own opinion and my favourite recipe for it.

So let’s start with… (drumroll please)

Something simple and not too exotic for the first installment of this series.

Made from durum wheat, Bulgur is a staple food in most middle eastern countries. The whole grain is parboiled, then cut, and the bran removed (except in the case of wholewheat bulgur, which I will review separately when I get my hands on a packet). Usually, you can get several different cut sizes, and any supermarket I’ve been to that has a middle-eastern section has at least a coarse and a fine variant.

Like couscous (which is actually pasta and therefore not a proper grain at all), Bulgur can usually be prepared by adding salt, boiling water or stock and a bit of fat (butter or olive oil). However, some of the variants I have encountered (looking at you, Saltå Kvarn!) are somewhat tougher and actually need to be boiled for a few minutes to start soaking up the water properly. When that happens, what should you do? My tip: Just toss the bowl in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and you’ll be fine.
I am also informed that for salads, Bulgur is not supposed to be boiled at all but instead soaked for several hours. Call me a philistine, but I don’t have that kind of patience. My salads taste just as good with boiled Bulgur :)

So my opinion?
Bulgur is a great replacement for couscous in a lot of middle-eastern dishes if you want to add a bit more of that whole-grain healthiness. Sadly it also adds somewhat more dryness and crunchyness to the mix. If you are good with not having to balance that up with a lot of calories, power to you!
I like Bulgur in my bento boxes because it is a lot more filling than couscous while just as quick and no-frills to prepare. It’s also very cheap and readily available almost everywhere.

And my favourite recipe with Bulgur?

Probably the middle-eastern salad, Tabbouleh is tasty, refreshing and overall delicious. I’ve seen varieties that went from mostly bulgur to mostly parsley and everything in between, so I don’t think you should run with set amounts on each ingredient. Just try combining them and see what works for you.

This tabbouleh, which works just fine for me, was made with:
3/4 cup of medium-grain bulgur, boiled in saltwater and butter (yes, yes, I know)
1 big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 sprig of fresh mint, chopped
1 handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 Tsp. lemon juice and 2 Tsp. olive oil.

Just combine everything in a bowl and knead, yes, knead the ingredients together so the flavour gets rubbed in. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the fridge. Serve.

When I have this stuff in my bento boxes I usually up the bulgur ratio a lot and pack it in tight so I bring enough filling carbs to last me the day. When I serve it with lots of other foods on a meze table, I put in a lot of refreshing parsley and mint.

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Halloumi, lettuce, rucola, tomatoes and mini-pitas I baked myself (in a break from studying) on Sunday in the big box. Bulgur with sundried tomatoes in the small compartment. I might bring another pita on the side… not decided yet.

This one I made earlier this week but didn’t even have a chance of posting until now, I’ve been so busy. It’s minestrone in the thermos can, a mini-quiche and a whole tomato in the other container and a blue elephant containing butter for the dark bread that I took on the side. It all fit nice and snug in the bag that comes with this set, which is another reason I like this set so much!

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Bento #270

We don’t celebrate thanksgiving in my neck of the woods, but these are still leftovers – my family was visiting from my home country and I had made some non-traditional food which they had specifically ordered.
Couscous with parsley and mint, falafel on picks, a cherry tomato and a marzipan chocolate in the foreground; Tsatsiki, rucola, steamed pumpkin and a container with muhammara for dipping in the background.

I’m also bringing some homebaked foccacia, which I didn’t take a photo of. Yum!

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Bento #246

I did my bento the “wrong way round” today – first I made the food for the bento, then I ate the leftovers for dinner :)
Big box (background): Couscous with chopped parsley, rucola and sundried tomatoes (dressed with some lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper)
Small box (foreground): Sliced organic tomato, corncob flowers and fried Halloumi on lettuce.

I’ve been experimenting with different angles on this photo… what do you think?

BF’s box. I think it actually looks better than my box IRL, but it didn’t seem to want to come out on the photo. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

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I made this bento a while ago. It’s stuffed with goodies – homemade bread, mouhammara, a cheese and spinach roll and bell peppers in the big box, and homemade Tabbouleh in the small box.
The accents are all parsley because I didn’t have lettuce on hand – but it still looks nice and fresh!

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Bento #223

I did some other bentos this week but I didn’t get around to post them. They weren’t particularly interesting, anyway.

This one on the other hand is stuffed with yummy food – and since it’s all leftovers, it was easily assembled!
Front: Spanish potato tortilla, pickled beans and onions, cherry tomato.
Back: Spinach and feta “börek” roll, roasted bell peppers in balsam vinegar, a babybel cheese and a chocolate frog.

I haven’t had a Spanish tortilla in my bento in ages! Maki of Just Bento reminded me of it.

The feta and spinach rolls are really easy. I bought dough for it, but you can just use some sheets of phyllo dough cut into triangles as well. Just cut a stick of feta, cover it in spinach (I thawed whole leaf spinach from my freezer – if you use fresh parboil them so they wilt and press out the water), then roll the feta-spinach roll up in the dough triangle. Deep-fry or ovenbake sprayed with a little oil (like I did).

For pickling the onions and beans, caramelise 4 Tsp. sugar in a pot. Add a cup of wine, 4 Tsp. balsamic vinegar, some water, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, and the beans and onions of your choice (the cookbook called for giant white beans and whole shallots, neither of which I had, but borlotti beans and quartered red onions worked just as well) and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and keep in a jar in the fridge.
Serve as-is or add a little olive oil on top before serving. All I can say is YUM.

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Bento #221

OK, this is officially the most food I’ve ever managed to stuff into that box :D
Lots of meze leftover from last night’s dinner. I had no lettuce at home so I overcompensated a bit on the green veggies side when stuffing the bento :)

Big box: baked potato wedges, broccoli, shredded carrot salad, celery, couscous-feta-spinach patties, a falafel, cherry tomatoes and a cup of Ajvar and mayo for dipping.

Small box: more broccoli, asparagus, Halloumi, a mini kit-kat bar and a cup of pickled onions. Tomato flower and oregano decoration.

BF gets the same in a different box.

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Bento #196

Mostly to show off the new picks I got in Austria :) Falafel, croquette balls, broccoli, ajvar and mayo in the cup, half a hardboiled egg, lettuce and sliced carrots with a fishy of vinegar dressing, a cherry tomato, grapes and a chocolate.

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