I need to tell you something. But you have to promise to not get mad. Ok here it is: my tomatoes are looking gorgeous and going nuts. I realize it is the end of October and those of you who can feel winter coming on may read this as a bit of braggadocio, but seriously the reason I have to tell you this is because I'm so proud of my garden and my exceptional tomatoes.
One thing you must know is that it is notoriously difficult to grow tomatoes in Hawaii. My theory is that it doesn't get quite hot or dry enough most times, leaving the plant susceptible to bugs and mildewy type funguses.
There are no mildewy type funguses on my tomatoes and the fruit itself is about the size of my fist, by far the biggest maters I've grown in my little plot.
I've also been scoring lately with big bunches of asparagus from the garden, plants I've babied and coddled for going on four years. They are finally repaying their mommy. So I said to myself, self, let's cook some risotto, shall we?
Lemon Thyme Bulgur Risotto with Asparagus
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups bulgur
4-6 cups water or veggie stock
salt & pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 TBL fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dry
In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes.
Over a separate burner, warm the water or stock over medium-low heat.
Add the bulgar to the pan with the onion and toast for 2-3 minutes. Add some salt and pepper and the garlic, too. Begin slowly adding the the water/stock one soup ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. You will know to add more liquid when the bulgar has absorbed what you added before. You don't have to constantly stir, but you can't walk away from the stove either. The whole process takes 20-30 minutes and you may or may not use all the liquid.
You will know when the bulgur is done by it's creamy texture. Taste it, it will still have a very slight crunch, similar to oatmeal. What I'm trying to say is that it won't be completely soft, like rice. When the bulgur is done, add your asparagus and cook maybe 2 minutes, or until bright green. Now add your lemon juice, zest, and thyme and more salt & pepper to taste.
Top with fresh grated parmesan to serve. Enjoy!