Warmer weather is here! And with the warmer weather come picnics and barbecues and salad! And there's so much more to salad than lettuce and veggies (though I do love a nice mixed green salad). So letís start with my personal favourite. This is what I make for me for picnics or when we take a lunch to the park or the beach.
Tabbouleh (or tabouleh or tabouli) is a Middle Eastern salad that includes bulgur, which is, according to Wikipedia, a "cereal food made from several different wheat species, but most often from durum wheat." It is not cracked wheat, which is what I have always thought. There. I learned something. I have always bought bulgur at the bulk store. I seem to remember having bought a very fine (as opposed to coarse) type in a package in the rice/beans aisle at the grocery store, near the barley and oats. How fine or coarse the grain is won't affect the taste of this salad. I prefer it somewhat coarser.
2/3 cup bulgur
1+1/3 cup cold water
1/2 tsp salt
3-6 green onions, cut up (prettily, on a diagonal, if you like)
1/2 an English cucumber, finely diced
1 cup parsley, chopped (either curly or flat-leaf is fine. I used flat-leaf this time. I grow the curly-leaf kind in my herb garden just to make this.)
tomato, diced (optional)
feta cheese (optional)
juice of 1 large lemon
approx 1/4 cup olive oil (which I forgot to put in the photo. And actually, I use a canola/olive oil blend.)
1 tsp dried mint or 10 leaves (?) fresh mint, thinly sliced
Ingredients, with DD's finger. Rotten kid.
1. Put the bulgur, cold water and salt in a medium-sized pot and bring the whole thing to a boil.
Bulgur, up close and personal
2. Turn the heat down to 2 or 3 and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. The bulgur should absorb all the water. Itís a good idea to put the salt in because I find it a little bland without. Also, for a variation, I once added freshly ground black pepper to the water and the peppery taste got right into the bulgur. It was very good.
3. OK, so remove the pot from heat and let cool completely.
4. While youíre waiting for that to cool, cut, dice and chop the green onions, cucumbers and parsley, respectively. If youíre using tomato, dice that too.
Slicey, dicey, choppy
5. For the dressing, juice the lemon into a measuring cup. You should have a little over a 1/4 cup. Add olive oil until you have 1/2 a cup of liquid. Add the mint and stir. I used dried. Truthfully, I donít know how much fresh mint to use. I tried it last year with mint from my garden, but I donít remember how much. Tip! I cut mint the same way as basil: stack all the leaves together and roll them up lengthwise into a little cigar. Then, slice thinly from the end.
6. When the bulgur is completely cooled, transfer it to a large bowl (I use the Tupperware one in the photos because it's just the right size - 12 cups or 3L.) Add the cucumbers, parsley and green onions and mix well. You could add the tomatoes now too, if you like.
7. Give the dressing a little stir and then pour it over the salad. Mix the whole thing.
8. I like to sprinkle crumbled feta on top of a portion, not into the bowl. Your choice, though. Serve either as a side dish or a light meal.
Makes maybe 4-6 side dish servings or lunch for me for 3 days. I usually make half this amount.
Tabbouleh with Greek chicken and tzatziki (See below)
So, that was something a bit different. How about something more familiar?
Yeah, everyone else in the world eats cole slaw, but not us. This was originally from Top Secret Recipes - KFC Cole Slaw. I don't make it much differently, but a bit. I made this for the BBQ at my dad's just this Sunday past. It was enough for 10 people with leftovers. And I only ever make half the amount that the original recipe calls for. Which is incidentally why the amounts look a bit weird. This is a family favourite here.
1/2 head of cabbage, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 Tbsp minced red onion
5 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup sour milk*
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2+1/4 tsp white vinegar
3+3/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
pinch white pepper
*to make sour milk, put 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice (over and above the what's called for in the recipe) in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 1/4 cup. It should separate and look like it's gone bad. I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.
Equipment, front to back, left to right: peeler, butcher knife, grater, food processor, something to shake the dressing in. That's a Tupperware manual food processor, by the way.
1. Chop the cabbage finely using a knife or food processor. The original recipe calls for finely chopped, and that's how my family prefers it, but there's no reason not to just chop it coarsely or slice it thinly or whatever you like.
Cabbage in itty bitty bits
2. Peel the carrots, then grate them. Mince the onion with the knife or food processor. (I use the knife - it's a small amount.)
Carrots and red onions in itty bitty bits
3. Put cabbage, carrots and onion in a bowl (again, I use the handy 12-cup bowl with a lid) and mix.
4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a container with a lid and shake.
5. Add dressing to chopped veggies and mix.
As served at Dad's, with Dad and his GF's potatoes au gratin and Hawaiian Ham, and Middle Sister's veggie mix. Youngest Sister made pineapple upside down cake, which was good, but not pictured here.
I hope you all enjoy these.
This was a bit of fun. I was taking pictures at Dad's and everyone was laughing and trying to help me make up a pretty plate. DH and the kids have been laughing when I cook about whether I want a picture of that too.
I'll post the recipe for the chicken that I made to go with the tabbouleh below.
My kids' school has a big to-do today, but I'll make every effort to be around to answer questions.