Sunday, May 4, 2008

Salad Days
Since visiting our local Turkish restaurant, Anatolia, recently, I have had a strange desire to make tabouli, tabouleh, tabbouleh... Yes, they are all the same thing, but apparently the spelling, as well as the recipe, changes according to the country. Oh, yeah... anyway, here we go.

Given my available ingredients, I went with: 1 cup bulgur wheat soaked in cool water for 30 minutes, one tomato, diced, 1/2 shallot, diced, 1/2 cucumber, diced, mint, parsley (unfortunately, my Italian parsley is in great demand and not growing fast enough to meet demand), olive oil, lemon juice and cumin (alas, I only have whole cumin seed, not ground, but we make do).

The bulgur wheat is soaking. Exciting isn't it?

The mint leaves are ready to chop. But here's the easy way to do it...

Tightly roll the leaves lengthwise and then thinly slice. This is called a chiffonade, by the way. Now, aren't you the smart one?

Then you can chop the chiff0nade of mint for the salad.

All the veggies are ready for the tabouleh salad.

The dressing has been added and the salad chills for 2 hours before serving.

Now at this point, you can either eat the tabbouleh salad over lettuce or on bread. Somehow I managed to do both - at the same time. Hey, I'm special!

And now on to dinner:

Look, xmaskatie! I harvested all these greens (as well as the chives and their blossoms) from my garden pots. Just soak the greens in water to drown all the little bug-wuggies first and then drain (or as Sandra Lee would say, strain).

I love to add the chive blossoms to salads this time of year. And yes, they are edible. They add a nice peppery, onion-y flavor to the dish, and as they are only available this time of year, I relish their addition to my food.

I started with one recipe and of course ended up with an entirely different recipe. Such is the way of my life.

Here I toast the remaining focaccia from earlier today. A reminder: this is no longer a wine bottle, but rather a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. The round bottle holds my own blend of Herbes de Provence from last year's garden.

Drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes.

Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence over the croutons and bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes. Watch carefully, as these can burn very quickly and every oven is a demon (er, varies significantly in its function, yeah, that's it...).

Yay, I win!

And now the first part of the dressing: 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 1/2 shallot, diced and ground black pepper.

See, that wasn't so hard, now was it?

Cook 3 slices of bacon, diced, over medium heat. Pour the bacon and the fat over the salad. Now, relax. Recent studies may suggest, if you look squinty-eyed at them, that this fat is better than trans-strangulated, re-hydrolated, re-hyphenated, man-made-up fats. And besides, how often are you likely to eat this dish? Hmm? So just relax and enjoy. Besides, the rest of this dish is very good for you.*

*The blogger can hardly take care of herself: she certainly cannot take responsibility for your health. So there.

Now, don't you feel bad for even thinking about not eating this?

And this is the finished dish: four sea scallops and one shrimp, seared to perfection, along with a freshly harvested chive blossom. This was so good. I can't even begin to tell you. But, sorry, I'm not sharing. It was that good.

1 comment:

xmaskatie said...

Mmmmm, good lookin' greens! I've started seeds in a pot, so far so good. I have a hard time thinning them; it feels like such a waste pulling out all those 3" plants. I just hope Mr. XmasKatie remembers to water them while I'm out of town.