Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Battle of the Bulgur

A few weeks ago, I received a chain email. Now, there are only two types of chain email that even make it past my spam filter these days: “inspiring” poetry and/or quotations about being a strong woman, living each day like it’s my last, etc. that my mom sends me; and recipe exchanges. This chain email was the latter.

It stressed me out for a couple of reasons. First of all, it instructed me to come up with a recipe, send it to a person I didn’t know, and then forward the original email to my twenty closest friends. Twenty closest friends? If I had twenty close friends, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t drive them away by forwarding them chain email.

But I did just that. I forwarded the chain email to my seventeen closest friends (and three people whom I consider to be just so-so friends), and I sent a pretty tasty quinoa recipe to the random girl whose contact information was at the bottom of the chain email.

The second reason this recipe exchange stressed me out was that I had to indicate that I wanted only vegan recipes, of course. I put “vegan” in parentheses after my name and contact info, knowing that it would likely limit the amount of recipes I received in return.

And I was right. I received only three emails, one of which was an apology for not participating. (Um, I forgive you.) Fortunately, one of the emails was from my friend Kinley, and it contained a recipe for Bulgur with Spinach and Basil.

I didn’t know what bulgur was, so I went to my local hippie grocery store, Lazy Acres. Amazingly, nobody at Lazy Acres knew was bulgur was, either. But after spending about ten minutes hunting around the bulk section with the help of a dedicated sales associate, I found it.

Turns out, bulgur is just whole grain wheat. Here’s the recipe Kinley sent me:

Bulgur with Spinach and Basil

3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups medium-grain bulgur
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch spinach (thick stems removed), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

First, I combined the vegetable broth, bulgur, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a skillet and brought it to a boil. Then I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes, until the bulgur had absorbed all the broth. Meanwhile, I chopped up the spinach and basil. When the bulgur was ready, I just stirred in the greens until they were all wilted.

It tasted great; I always like the combination of spinach, basil, and garlic, and the bulgur was a nice change from boring old rice. I ate it as a main course and it was quite filling, but it would also work as a side dish.

As I nommed on my bulgur, I decided to send Kinley a text message to say thank you for the recipe. Unfortunately, Kinley had changed her number recently without telling me (and I am only a little suspicious that it’s because I send her annoying text messages). So I had the following text message conversation with someone who is now thoroughly confused:

Me: I made your bulgur recipe!
Not Kinley: Who’s this?
Me: How many people do you send bulgur recipes to?
Not Kinley: I don’t know what bulgur is
Me: With spinach and basil?
Not Kinley: No.

So, on the off chance that Not Kinley reads my blog: I hope this clears it up for you.


  1. Hey, my apology for not participating included recipes! They were even vegan (or easily veganized!!)

    1. Haha, I know! Yours was the third email. The apology came from Ms. Lauren Snyder.