July 12th, 2008
My apologies to all of my readers for the abrupt pause in posting since June 29. I’ve been in St. Louis with my family and friends for the past week. Unfortunately, my 93-year-old, beloved grandmother passed away unexpectedly on Friday, June 27. I did managed to make my last post a couple of days after receiving the news, but haven’t felt much like cooking or posting anything until now.
I don’t know about others, but I tend to develop what I call situational or activity-based cravings for certain foods. I’m not sure that I can explain this phenomenon in a manner that makes sense, but I’ll give it a try. For example, I watch a foreign film or read a book or see a magazine article about a certain culture and before I know it, I’m having this intense desire for foods of that particular culture. This happened to me this week when I ran across a recipe for tabbouleh in the July issue of Gourmet magazine. I had discussed making tabbouleh and hummus a couple of weeks ago with a coworker and seeing this recipe brought back the most wonderful taste memories. That was all I needed to prompt me to action. It’s been quite a while since I’ve enjoyed flavours of the Mediterranean and this recipe seemed the perfect way to kick things off.
Tabbouleh, the national dish of Syria, first captured my heart back in the early 1990s when I visited a Mediterranean deli in downtown Houston for lunch. I was hooked from the very first spoonful. I must have eaten it at least three or four times a week for months on end. Well, I think we all know what naturally follows repeated overindulgence with anything, even our favourites, right? Burn out. Sadly, I ate soooooooo much Tabbouleh that I experienced complete and utter burn out, so much so that I didn’t think I’d ever want it again. Thank goodness I recovered from that most unintended consequence.
I’ve been thinking of adding more whole grains to my diet for a while now and this recipe is an excellent starter. Tabbouleh, a Mediterranean salad of sorts, is fully loaded with healthy bulghur, olive oil, fresh parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, and scallions, making it an excellent source of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. This was my first time making my own, but it definitely will not be my last.
Source: Adapted from Gourmet, July 2008 issue
Serves 4 to 6 | Vegetarian
1/2 cup coarse bulghur
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup mint
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, about 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon mild honey
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Pour 1 cup boiling water over bulghur with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cover and let stand until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing to remove excess liquid. Toss bulghur with remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with pita bread, crackers or whatever you fancy.