Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mmmmmm, tabbouleh.

I'm not a vegetarian by nature. Not that I have anything in particular against vegetarianism as a diet choice -- I just like the taste of meat too much to go, um, cold tofurkey. So when I choose to cook (or, in this case, prepare) a vegetarian dish, it has to be really worth my while.

Today as I was foraging in the pantry, I came across a bulk-food bag of bulgur wheat that I'd purchased about a month ago. About an hour and a half and lots of chopping time later, my honey and I had tabbouleh and hummus, both homemade, stuffed into mini-pitas as sandwiches. Oh, they were SO GOOD. And if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, now's a pretty good time to make tabbouleh since you can pick up really ripe tomatoes for a good price.

If you're curious, I used this recipe (made "Old Country Style") with a few tweaks. I didn't have fresh spearmint, so I used the 2 T. of crushed dried spearmint called for in the other variation, and I added just over 1 cup of cucumber, seeded and finely chopped. I also ran out of olive oil (horrors!), so I used a tiny bit of peanut oil along with the olive. It tasted great.

Hummus is ridiculously easy if you have a food processor. Peel a coupla good-sized cloves of garlic, whirl them in the processor until they're in little pieces, open a can of garbanzo beans (draining all but about half a cup of the liquid, which is reserved for use in a few minutes) and whirl with the garlic, add about a quarter-cup of tahini, the garbanzo liquid, some lemon juice, salt and pepper, then process while adding a thin stream of olive oil to the mix. It's done when it's a nice smooth dipping consistency. Garlicky good! Some people like to serve it with more olive oil and some sumac sprinkled on top, but I think it's good just as is. (And really good in a tabbouleh-filled pita.)

I think I need some sort of magical transport so that I could shower you all with the joys of tabbouleh. Well, not literally, of course -- most of us don't associate "shower fresh" with the scent of green onions and olive oil -- but I would wave my magic wand, and *poof* in your fridge would be a little take-out box of tabbouleh! Ah, making the world happier through random culinary surprises. (Maybe I should be the Tabbouleh Fairy? ...Nah.)


PG said...

Oh yes, we had bulghur wheat the other night, as alternative to potatos...and I can never work out why anyone would buy hummus when (As your recipe shows) it's so darned easy to make...I keep a dish in the fridge, for my oh so healthy oat-cakes and hummus afternoon tea...very worthy!

Soozcat said...

I don't know -- there are a lot of so-called "convenience foods" which frankly baffle me. Hummus is one of 'em. But I suppose there are those who don't know how to make it, in which case this entry was a Public Service! :)

tlc illustration said...

And if one does not have a food processor?.... (I've actually never tried making hummus by hand. Am going to have to try your tabbouleh recipe however).

Soozcat said...

Hmm. The food processor makes it easier, although I suppose one could also make it in a blender. You'd just need to press the garlic and make sure you added a lot of liquid along with the garbanzos.

PG said...

I use my hand held 'soup stabber, and the liquor left from the drained can of beans. Go on Tara, give it a go!

Soozcat said...

Do that! People made hummus long before the advent of kitchen appliances.

("Soup stabber," huh? Never heard of one of those. I have an amusing mental image of you attacking a bouillabase with a peculiar implement... "Take that! And that! And a coupla those! Hoo-hah!")