Bulgur Pudding with Honey and Dates
I have adapted this earthy, comforting bulgur pudding from Gil Marks’s The World of Jewish Desserts. According to Marks, it is a Sephardic pudding (alternately called prehito, moustrahana, and belila) that is common among the Jews of Turkey, who serve it to celebrate the fall holiday of Sukkot.
This dessert cooks in a flash and can be served warm or chilled. Leftovers make a delicious breakfast.1 cup fine bulgur
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey, to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
Ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Combine the bulgur and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the water is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the milk, 1/4 cup honey, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, uncovered, at a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture develops the consistency of porridge, about 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts, dates, and currants. Sweeten with additional honey, if desired. Serve warm in bowls. Top with a scoop of ice cream, if you wish.
For a more coarsely textured pudding, use medium bulgur instead of fine. Instructions and cooking time remain the same.
amaranth, quinoa, and corn chowder
Ingredients indigenous to the New World, such as amaranth, quinoa, and corn, taste good together.
In this soup, the amaranth and quinoa add substance and a subtle flavor that complements the more familiar taste of sweet corn.
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
• 1 cup finely diced celery (remove “strings” by peeling celery before dicing)
• 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon salt; plus more to taste
• 1/4 cup amaranth
• 1/2 cup ivory quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large, heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, celery, red bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the amaranth and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and thyme. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook at a gentle boil, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree 3 cups of the corn kernels with 1 cup of water. When the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, stir the corn puree and the remaining corn kernels into the soup. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa and amaranth are tender, 3 to 5 more minutes. When the quinoa is done, there will be no starchy white dot in the center of each grain, and some of the germs’ “tails” may unfurl and float freely. On close inspection, the amaranth will look like tiny opaque bubbles floating on the surface.
Stir in the milk and remaining tablespoon of butter. Add more salt, if needed. Divide into portions and garnish each with a little parsley.
NOTE: The soup thickens on standing; thin as needed with additional milk, and add salt to taste.
• For dots of color, use 2 tablespoons of red quinoa and a scant 1/2 cup ivory quinoa. Add the red quinoa when you add the amaranth.
• Use half-and-half or heavy cream instead of milk.
• Use dried tarragon instead of thyme.
Shrimp, Corn, and Quinoa Soup
Instead of water, use 4 cups of fish or clam broth. Use oregano instead of the thyme. Once the quinoa is tender, add 1/2 pound peeled small shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Omit the milk.