You Win Some, You Lose Some

It’s true that you can’t always win, but I have a feeling that it’s quite possible to always lose. Slogging through a bit of a losing streak myself, it certainly seems that way at least. My apricot ice cream lost, although I’m not the least bit surprised, having watched first-hand as the tally of my competitors’ votes swelled into impressive numbers, while my own inflated temporarily only to burst and collapse like a cheap inflatable pool toy. I’ve given up on entering blog raffles, as the suspense kills me and by the time some one else’s name is announced, you’re just beating a dead horse over here. Nope, I have better things to pin my hopes to. Even though I haven’t officially heard back from the lovely folks at Whole Foods about the most recent contest of theirs that I entered, I have no doubt that a gentle letter of rejection is sure to arrive any moment.

The premise for this contest was simple enough; Make a healthy meal for $4 or less per serving. No problem, that’s pretty much the norm around here anyways. Savories still aren’t my forte though, so taking the safer route, I whipped up a tasty tofu dish and an easy pilaf. Admittedly, the tofu was rather forgettable- Delicious, yes, but nothing to write home about. It was that pilaf, a bulgur pilaf to be exact, that really got my appetite going. I even contemplated sending in an entry of only the pilaf, since it’s a good balance of protein, grains, and veg if you ask me, and I’m all for one-dish meals as well.

Ginger, garlic, and miso make up a flavorful broth, which toothsome whole grain bulgur is only too happy to soak up. Rounded out by some nutty almonds and bright green peas, it’s a simple yet comforting dish that is agreeable to just about every palate. It might not win any awards, but it’s a keeper in my book.

Miso Bulgur Pilaf

1 Cup Bulgur Wheat
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Miso Paste
1 3/4 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Frozen Peas, Thawed
1/2 Cup Whole Almonds, Toasted
1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives

Heat a dry skillet over the stove and toss in the bulgur. Toast for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the bulgur moving, until it smells nutty and turns slightly darker brown. Pour the grains out onto a plate, and place the emptied skillet back over the heat.

Add in the oil, garlic and ginger, and cook for just a minute or two until the spices have browned a bit. Stir in the lemon zest, soy sauce, and miso paste, breaking up any lumps that may form. Stand back a bit while slowly pouring in the water, as it may hiss and splash slightly. Scrape everything off the bottom if it’s sticking, and add your toasted bulgur into the mix, along with the peas. Turn down the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. If all of the liquid hasn’t been absorbed by then, simply continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, until it has all evaporated.

Let stand for 5 minutes off the heat, and stir in the almonds and chives.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

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