Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tabbouleh Thursdays

I try to be good and bring my lunch from home on work days, but there some days when I just don’t feel like eating what’s waiting for me in the lunchroom fridge. I make a deal with myself on these days: I can go out to eat, but only if I walk (as long as it’s not raining or searingly hot). A 10-minute stroll is all it takes to reach a shopping center occupied by all sorts of tempting options. I try to fight off the urge to get a cheeseburger or jumbo froyo, opting instead for a big salad or the ready-to-eat section of Whole Foods. One of the dishes they seem to only offer on Thursdays is a flavor-packed bulgur tabbouleh that has quickly become my favorite summertime lunch. Here’s my attempt at recreating it.

8 ounces quick-cooking bulgur (I used Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Bulgur)
4 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
4 medium Persian cucumbers, diced
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
2 green onions, dark green parts thinly sliced
Juice of 2 large lemons (about ⅓ cup)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Cook bulgur according to package instructions. Combine cooked bulgur with tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint and green onions. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl before stirring into bulgur mixture.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spice cabinet is a glass act

The more I embrace my love of cooking, the more my spice collection grows. In my younger years I thought all you needed to flavor food was garlic salt, lemon pepper and packets of Taco Bell mild sauce. Over time I’ve experimented with and acquired a little bit of this and a little bit of that, to the point where I’ve considered creating a spreadsheet in order to keep track of my spicy stash.

One spice-cabinet project I recently tackled was for the sake of better organization. I buy my most-used seasonings in bulk, and used to just keep them in the baggies from the store. Sick of sifting through an assortment of these bags, I decided to find a more sturdy, reusable container. Plastic won’t break, but it absorbs scent. These jars are cute, but $2 a pop adds up quick. My solution? Jelly jars.

A dozen four-ounce jars only costs about $10. They’ve got a big enough mouth to enable easy filling and scooping, something you can’t always do with the plastic spice containers you find at the store. They also come with sticky labels, which come in handy so you can differentiate your paprika from your ancho chili powder. I’ve opted to write in pencil on these labels in case I feel like mixing up.