LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I did a fair amount of traveling last spring, much of it for Sisters in Crime—Phoenix, LA, NY, and DC!. Much of the fun in travel for me is eating in new restaurants, trying new foods and wine, and visiting with old and new friends in the process, which made my trips totally delicious.
But the effect on my hips and the scale was a little less appealing. So I’ve redoubled my efforts to introduce more fun vegetable dishes into our meals. Mr. Right is an enthusiastic sous chef, willing to chop his share of the veggies and fire up the grill. We use a propane grill; if you prefer to grill over charcoal, that will work just fine for these veggies. He puts them directly on the grill, but you can also use a perforated grill sheet.
This salad kept nicely in the fridge for several days. I ate it for lunch over a bed of greens, both slightly warmed and at room temperature, with and without a little oil and vinegar, and all variations were equally wonderful. Because we realized we would have leftovers, we added the walnuts to our individual servings so that they wouldn’t get soggy in the bowl with the other ingredients.
Tangy Summer Vegetable Salad with Bulgur1 1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing vegetables
3 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus torn leaves for garnish
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 Asian eggplant, cut lengthwise into thirds, or one small Italian eggplant, cut in half and then in thirds
2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into thirds
1/4 to 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts for garnish
Heat your grill.
In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, vinegar, and shallot. Gradually whisk in the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the minced parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large shallow serving bowl, combine the beans and half the vinaigrette. Stir to coat. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, combine the bulgur with 1 cup lightly salted water. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the bulgur is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the bulgur stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on the grill rack, cover the grill and cook, turning once, until brown in spots, 7 to 10 minutes a side. The eggplant may cook more quickly than the peppers and zucchini, so check and be prepared to remove from the grill.
Place the vegetables to a cutting board, cut crosswise into thirds and then slice lengthwise. Add to the bowl with the beans. Add the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Fluff the bulgur with a fork and spoon into the bowl. Stir to mix. Sprinkle with the cheese and a few torn parsley leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a bowl of walnuts for garnish.
From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON:
Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.
Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…
GUILTY AS CINNAMON is now available on audio, and will be available in large print in mid August. Watch for KILLING THYME, out October 4!
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.
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