CUMIN MINT TABOULI

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This is a delicious twist to a very Classic Tabouli Salad – made with cracked wheat bulgar, parsley, tomatoes, and a garlic mint parsley dressing and accents of lemon zest.

We had a good time with this at the store today, doing a cuisinart demo to make the dressing. An enthusiastic customer was my taste tester (and camera person), helping to dial in the salt, acid (lemon), fat (olive oil) ratio while a crowd looked on, having tastes and waiting patiently while we packaged it up for each one to take home a container.

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Let’s backtrack to show you how to make this simple dish. Note: the second time you make a dish, it takes about half the time, once you know what you’re doing. Like riding a bike.

The cool thing about tabouli, is that the grain – cracked bulgar wheat, is actually cooked al dented, NOT on a stove, but actually just by pouring boiling water over it, and letting it sit for 20 minutes covered. Instead of using a bowl, today I made the bulgar in a canning jar – which has a screw on air tight lid and what’s so cool, is that the glass jar can handle the heat of the hot water without breaking.  Just pour it over  – 1 cup bulgar to 1/2 teaspoon of salt, screw on the lid, give it a shake. And voila!
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Now for the veggies. It’s always best to have a sharp chef’s knife. In Oakland, I take my knives to The Shaver & Cutlery Shop for sharpening. They love knives and I love them.

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Toe-mato, Toh-mahto…First, trim the end off of the tomatoes, quarter them and then turn them upward so the flat end  is on the cutting board, this makes it easy to trim out the seedy center. Lay them flat and then dice them by slicing them first into strips, and then the final manuever, the dice.

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Peel your cucumbers with a veggie peeler, then do the same process as you did with your tomatoes, cutting out the seeds.
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And cutting them down to strips, ending up with diced cucumber.

Dice your mint and parsley and set aside. Make your dressing  in the blender or cuisinart with:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems are fine
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • NOTE: I often make a double or triple batch of dressing to have for a second batch or to use the dressing on other things. Yum yum yum.
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Pour this over your cooked bulgar, let it soak in and then toss in the veggies, garnished with parsley, more fresh mint, and a little extra lemon zest. ALWAYS taste your food before you serve it to be sure  it tastes just right! In other words dial in the salt – acid – fat ratio.

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That’s me holding up the tabouli with all our great bulk herbs in the background. The world of herbs & spices is your oyster! Remember to take liberties to flavor it up just like YOU like it and make it orgasmic.

 CUMIN MINT TABOULI

Makes 6 to 8 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cracked wheat bulgar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch flat leaf or curly parsley (I prefer the texture of curly, both for taste and appearance)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English or hothouse cucumber

Preparation:

  1. Put bulgar in a medium bowl and mix in 1/2 tsp. salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. Note: let it stand undisturbed – this will cook the bulgar to a perfect al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processer blend olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender . Add mint leaves and the ends of the parsley, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, onion powder, and cumin. Whirl until parsley and mint are minced into the dressing and the dressing is more or less smooth. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and spices.
  3. Chop parsley leaves. Core, seed, and chop tomatoes. Peel, seed, and chop cucumber.
  4. Drain bulgar, if necessary. Pour dressing over the bulgar and toss to combine well BEFORE adding the veggies. Add parsley and toss to combine well. Add tomatoes and cucumber and stir to combine.
  5. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Best within 24 hrs, served classically with hummos, stuff it into a wrap or enjoy as side with grilled vegetables or fish.
  6. Note: If you’ve had this in the fridge a day or two, adding fresh parsley and / or mint will resuscitate your tabouli salad if it’s looking a little lack-luster.
  7. Remember: We eat with our eyes and nose first, so make it look and smell delectable.

 

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