I wish I could remember the first time I ate an apricot. Obviously, it wasn't any kind of unforgettable experience, but I'm curious now as to how exactly that happened. Growing up, we were big fans of raisins in my household, but as far as I can remember, those little, wrinkled, purple nuggets were the only dried fruit in my life.
Regardless of when I first ate an apricot, I do know that it was dried. Most of the time that you eat an apricot, unless you actually live in Turkey, it will be dried because they don't travel well or stay fresh long. So, imagine my delight when I walked into Whole Foods on Sunday to be greeted by a big bin of perfectly peachy fresh apricots! I picked one up, running my thumb over its soft, fuzzy flesh like it would go home to be my new pet apricot, then I pressed gently to see how close to edible it was. Content that they were actually ripe (nothing is sadder than an unripe fresh apricot), I picked out three and narrowly avoided the temptation presented by a second bin of ne'er-seen-before red apricots!
You know if they're still there and not rotten on Saturday, they will be mine.
Anyway, I did not believe they were completely ready to be eaten yesterday, but as I was cleaning up after dinner, I saw little soft spots beginning to appear, so I made sure they would be breakfast this morning.
They were most certainly ripe and ready for eating - I probably could have split them with my fingernails, but that seemed like a foolishly messy undertaking, so I used a paring knife instead. The pits released themselves with the slightest tug and they were easily eaten in a few little bites each.
What a happy, sunny, Mediterranean breakfast... there was only one thing that kept it from perfection. Spoiled by years of dried fruit, I forget that the dried apricots will always be substantially sweeter due to the concentrated nature of drying the fruit. Since even dried apricots aren't that sweet, you can imagine that fresh apricots are extremely mild, which was at least slightly disappointing.
Fortunately for me, another Turkish-inspired meal of my day would be far less disappointing.
I love, love, love Bulgur and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale and Olives from The Complete Vegan Cookbook. I can't say it enough. I have another recipe somewhere (I am forever forgetting where) that is nearly identical and almost as good. Every little component of this dish works so well with the others - the nuttiness of the bulgur with the creaminess of the red lentils; the chewy kale against melt-in-your-mouth oil-cured black olives. Usually, I use kalamatas, but I had some black olives leftover from something I made last week, so I used those instead. I also had 1/4 cup less bulgur than I thought I did, which resulted in a slightly quicker cooking, creamier dish.
Mister and I each wolfed down two bowls (okay, that's kind of a relative term - I eat slower than molasses in January pours). I shared a couple of funny stories about a hate mail we got at work that was actually typed on a typewriter. Remember those? 5 points if you've ever seen one, 10 if you've used one. Also, we had another fun building evacuation - heck of a way to start the day. With all the fun, it's a miracle I got anything accomplished! Now, on to conquer some home-chores...