Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Spring has fully sprung in southern Minnesota. In fact it has probably become a bit excessive in its exuberance, and overshot its goal (it was 90 degrees on Tuesday). But everything is green and the lilacs are blooming beautifully. I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of photos, and tried to show some restraint in posting them here. This is a food blog after all, and as far as I know, you can’t eat a lilac, although placing a bouquet of them on the table can significantly enhance a dining experience.

I might not be able to eat the lilacs, but they are the heralds of delicious spring produce. I get particularly excited about asparagus when it is in season, and in this home, we love radishes. Since I had an over-abundance of medium-grain bulgur in the cupboard (after buying a package when I already had one…happens a lot around here), I decided to try a spring vegetable take on Tabbouleh, a hearty salad of Middle Eastern origin. All the Tabbouleh recipes I’ve seen have lemon juice, olive oil, and lots of herbs. My porch garden is going strong (more about that in another post, I hope), so I had the herbs covered, and I try to keep a lemon or two around for just such an occasion.

I find asparagus to be one of those fruits of the earth that can be totally ruined by cooking it (especially over-cooking), and I actually quite like it raw. I chopped the asparagus and radishes into pieces roughly the size of the peas. I find that salads of chopped vegetables are more appealing when the pieces are of similar size. Fresh peas can only make this salad better. I didn’t have any, but helped tidy up the freezer by using up the last of the frozen ones I did have. I’m waiting (not so) patiently for the first box of vegetables from the CSA so I can make this salad again. It’s a big bowl of salad, but will last several days in the refrigerator.

Spring Vegetable Tabbouleh
Use thin asparagus spears if you can and chop them and the radishes about the same size as the peas.

1 cup medium grain bulgur
1 ¼ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped thin asparagus (about 12 spears)
3 large radishes, finely chopped
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur. Add ½ teaspoon salt and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at least 20 minutes or until the bulgur absorbs the water.

2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes. Add the olive oil and whisk until well combined

3. Add asparagus, radishes, peas, green onions, parsley, mint, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to the bulgur. Stir gently to combine. Add lemon juice mixture and stir well. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings, and leftovers can stay in the refrigerator 4 days or so (if they last that long).

Third photo on this page by Harry Leckenby (he's just a better photographer than I am!)


  1. For people having problems leaving a comment, here is what I did.

    1) Wrote this insightful thing that you see before you.

    2) Under "Comment as:", I selected "Anonymous"

    3) Hit "Post Comment"

    The first time that I did this, as well as the third time that I did this, I was directed to the authentication screen where I had to copy slightly fuzzy letters, and my comment was sent to Anne Marie for approval. The second time that I did this (with Anne Marie here) This didn't work, for no reason that I can understand. My advice is to (once you have completed your comment) select the entire text (Cntl-A) and copy it (Cntl-C) just in case it is rejected, so you can paste it (Cntl-V) and try again.