kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
1) Something I've cooked recently: the cherries I pickled in May are now ready to eat. Googling did not provide a wealth of suggestions for what to do with them, so I made something up.

Bulgur Salad with Chicken, Greens, and Pickled Cherries

Scant 1 cup of coarse whole-grain bulgur (I used Red Bulgur from Bob's Red Mill)
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Harissa (I used Trader Joe's brand)
About 30 pickled cherries (recipe follows), halved and pitted
About 2 tablespoons juice from the pickled cherries
1 cooked chicken breast*, preferably from a roasted chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
A nice double handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves (I prefer them left whole, but chop if you like)
A nice double handful of arugula, chopped into bite size pieces if the leaves are big
About 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese


Cook the bulgur in lots of boiling water, as you would cook pasta, until it's almost as tender as you want it to be. Dump into a colander and let it drain for a couple of minutes, then add it to a bowl along with the garlic, the lemon juice, a small glug of olive oil, and as much harissa as you like. Let cool to room temperature. Add the cherries, the pickling liquid, and the cut up chicken breast, and mix well. Add the parsley leaves and arugula, then as much olive oil as you need to moisten everything, then the feta. Serve at room temperature.


*Cookbooks, confusingly, sometimes say "one chicken breast" when they mean both of the two pieces of white meat on either side of the keelbone, and call each piece a half. But I mean one of the two pieces, not both.

Variations: You could easily substitute firm tofu for the chicken; I'd blanch the tofu and then marinate it in some harissa and olive oil in the fridge for a few hours. You could also omit the cheese, though I like its salty kick. You could substitute other chili sauces and/or spices for the harissa; I chose it because the pickled cherries include cinnamon and cardamom, and those spices make me think of north African and middle eastern cuisines. The two turned out to be a very good match, in my opinion, but follow your own tastes--and this goes double if you're using commercial pickled cherries, which may have different spicing. And of course you could use grains other than bulgur. I initially planned to use farro, but I wanted to emphasize the middle eastern aspect. Any sturdy flavorful grain would work, but you do need something with enough substance to stand up to the glorious little flavor bombs that are the pickled cherries.

If you want to pickle your own cherries, here's the recipe I used, from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

Russian Pickled Cherries

2 cups sweet cherries, stems removed
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Seeds from 1 cardamom pod
Fragment of a cinnamon stick
Pinch of ground mace
1 whole allspice berry
2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)


Put the cherries into a nonreactive bowl or jar, cover them with vinegar, cap the jar or cover the bowl, and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Drain the vinegar into a nonreactive saucepan, then add the sugar, water, and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Don't simmer longer or you can boil away too much of the vinegar. Let the liquid cool in the saucepan.

Stir in the kirsch if using, then pour the liquid over the cherries, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 3 days.

Return the liquid to a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil, and let cool.

Pack the cherries into a hot sterilized pint jar, then strain the cooled pickling liquid over them. Fill the jar to the brim with liquid. Close tightly with a nonreactive lid. Let stand in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place for at least 1 month before serving. Will keep well for about 1 year. (N.B. The recipe doesn't specify, but I'd refrigerate them after opening.)

These have a nice balance of sweetness and tartness. The cherries I pickled did wrinkle quite a lot and lose some color, but it doesn't seem to have harmed the flavor.



I'm contemplating other things to use the cherries in. I still want to try them with duck, but the weather's too warm to want to eat duck. I did end up roasting a chicken for the salad--I did it at nine in the morning to avoid the heat, and thus had a late breakfast of roast chicken at about 11 am--but a rotisserie bird from the supermarket would be fine.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I have corn in the refrigerator that needs cooking. I meant to cook it right away but that didn't happen, so now I'm doing an unplanned test of the proposition that modern corn is so damn sweet that a couple of days of refrigeration won't do it any harm. I'm probably going to cut the kernels off the cobs and cook them with butter and green chiles, because that was good last time and then I'll have some leftover corn to add to another loaf of the cornbread I made last week. And I will save the cobs in the freezer to flavor the broth of a corn soup/stew that I know I'll cook eventually. Otherwise I don't have any cooking plans.


Something I vaguely plan to cook someday: I recently gave into temptation and bought a nonstick skillet, so at some point I want to make crepes. Um, maybe in the autumn? #toodamnhot
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kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
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