Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cooking from the garden

The garden is really rocking along these days, although it's been rather a slow start because of the rainy, cold weather. Still, I'm incorporating something from the garden in just about every meal.

I might chop and sprinkle some fresh cilantro over a couple of soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Vegetarian pasta dishes pulled together from whatever is ready to pick in the garden are becoming a weekly staple, and most of my daily salads have at least one element from the garden--whether its lettuce, cucumbers, scallions or just a sprinkling of herbs. I also keep a bunch of mint in my kitchen in a glass so that I can add a little mint every time I make tea.

The herbs in particular are really taking off. I just bought some pignoli nuts so that I can make a big batch of pesto with all the abundant basil. I'll make enough for dinner one night and then freeze enough for two to three more meals.

I'm also making tabbouleh at least once a week because it uses up the parsley and mint. Tabbouleh is a great on its own or as a side dish to grilled fish or meat, and, it ups my "raw" ante for the week.

Here's my recipe for tabbouleh, but feel free to improvise:


1/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (not the curly stuff)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 3 to 4 lemons to taste
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover it by 1/2 inch or so. Soak for at least 20 minutes, then drain through a sieve, pressing down to remove the excess water.

Transfer to a large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients, then let set for at least 2 to 3 hours, then serve.

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