Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Are You Eating?

I must get that question at least three times a day just at lunch time. I get it. I eat weird food. Any lunch not sandwiched between two slices of bread seems to be completely foreign to people-and I take the strangeness even further.

A couple weeks ago for example, I made a bulgar wheat salad for lunch. Bulgar wheat with roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, and dried figs.

A few people asked me if I was eating cantaloupe. Some people just went for the direct-what (on earth) are you eating? And everyone else just stared conspicuously me every time I took a bite to see if they could figure out just what was going on in that tupperware.

So yeah, my general response has become a muffled confusion of words, like "ummm it's just bulgar wheat and some stuff, haha" or "oh, it's bulgar, I eat weird food, haha" etc. (But the awkward "haha" is pretty much always there. Attractive, I know.)

However, for the first time probably in my life, I got a totally new response! My boss at my internship walked by while I was eating lunch. She peaked over and said, "Ooo! Are you a vegetarian?" I responded yes and told her what was on the menu for the day. And she said?

"Mmmm yummy!"

That may have been the most exciting moment of my day. I am indeed vegetarian. I take advantage of my limitations by eating every non-animal product that comes my way. I'll try just about anything non-meat related that comes my way (I'm not vegan though, cheese and milk are right up my alley).

Truth is, it may have looked weird to most people, but my lunch that week was (as my mom would say) DE-licious!

Bulgar Wheat Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Other Goodies

-1 cup bulgar wheat
-about 2 pounds of butternut squash
-1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
-1/3 cup dried chopped mission figs
-olive oil
-juice from half a lemon
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the bulgar in a heat proof bowl. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil and pour over the bulgar. Stir and let sit about 20 minutes or until tender.
3. Cut the butternut squash into bite-size pieces and put on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir to coat. Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Place pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts into a large pan and put on medium heat until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep the seeds moving, they burn easily.
5. Chop the missions figs into bite-size pieces.
6. Drain the bulgar and place in large mixing bowl. Add roasted squash, seeds, nuts, and figs and stir to combine. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and add salt and pepper to taste. Don't leave out the lemon juice-it adds a brightness and freshness to the salad.
7. Can be served with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and an extra splash of olive oil.



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