Monday, July 11, 2011

There's just nothing like the produce of summer be it from your personal garden, the local farmers market or the organic section in the supermarket. Now is the time to enjoy the bounty.

I highly recommend organic produce whenever possible, but if you absolutely can't get it or don't want to go to the expense, always make sure to wash produce well in cold water, then let it drain or pat it dry before slicing or chopping. Same thing goes for fresh herbs.

One of my all-time favorite foods is tomatoes and now is the perfect time to eat plenty of them.

So, here's an easy recipe for Tabouli - the hardest part of this recipe is purchasing/finding bulgar wheat. I prefer to purchase bulgar wheat at my local community health food market which justs happens to be "The Co-Opportunity Market" in Santa Monica. (They have a fabulous "bulk section". ) You can find bulgar wheat in the bulk section or in the dried grain isle (near the pasta, rice, and other sorts of grains). It is also called "cracked bulgar". Bulgar is a wonderful grain, low on the glycemic index, easy to digest, and requires no cooking (at least in this recipe).

1 cup bulgar wheat
l large tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped small
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 large green onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
4 tablespoons EVOO
salt and pepper to taste

Place the bulgar in a large bowl and pour in hot water to cover it completely. Let it soak for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare and place the next five ingredients in a separate large bowl. Toss. Next, drain the bulgar well (squeezing out excess water), then place in bowl with vegetables. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and voila. Chill for a while in refrigerator or serve at once, either way, it's delicious and very healthy.

Sometimes I add firm fresh finely chopped cucumber, finely chopped red or green pepper, even chopped firm avocado. It's all good! Heck, why not throw in a little finely chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper too to kick it up a notch.

Chopping is a big part of cooking, at least if you're a savory chef like me. I personally love to chop -- I suppose I like wielding a knife -- keeping them very sharp and never putting them in the dishwasher. And because I care about keeping my knives at their finest, I use an "Epicurean" cutting board -- it's the best!

Enjoy your summer, eat lots of fresh vegetables, get outdoors, wear sunscreen, and take a walk under the full summer moon.  Next full moon:  August 13, 2011.

And here is a variation for Cauliflower Tabouili:

Grate 1 head cauliflower into grain-size pieces with a box grater. Toss with 2 diced plum tomatoes, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 2 chopped scallions, 1 bunch chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons chopped mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

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