Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tabouli Salad with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and Grill-roasted Babaganouj

I went to coffee this morning, as usual I sat out front of The Cave Creek Coffee co and chatted with a few neighbors and friends. I had a light jacket on and after a few moments I was getting very warm. It's that time of year again, when we go from keeping warm to keeping cool. Here in the Sonoran desert where we see summer temperatures in the 110-120f range, that's an art form. It means getting up early if you need to do anything in the yard, taking it easy during the midday heat and eating light.
When it comes to recipes dealing with lighter fare, I like to look to the regions of the world that have been dealing with living in the heat for centuries. There are many to choose from, but today let's look to the middle east and one of my favorites dishes tabouli. Good tabouli, served with Grill-roasted Babaganouj, a selection of olives, a pita bread and cucumber yogurt sauce is exactly what you're looking for when eating in the heat. It both refreshes and satisfies you without filling you up. If you must add meat think grilled lamb!

Tabouli Salad with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Tabouli salad:

1 C Bulghar wheat, dry
1-1/2 C Water, boiling
1-1/2 TSP Kosher salt
1/4 C Olive oil, extra virgin
1/4 C Lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 TBL Lime juice, fresh-squeezed
2 CLOVES Garlic, finely minced
1/2 TSP Mint, dried
1 C Plum tomatoes, diced
1 C English cucumber, diced
1/2 C Scallions, chopped fine
1 BUNCH Italian parsley, chopped fine
2 TSP Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce:

1-1/2 C English cucumber, peeled
1/2 PINT Sour cream
1/2 PINT Yogurt
2 CLOVES Garlic, minced fine
1 TBL Mint, dried

1. Pour the bulghar into a mixing bowl, then add the salt and pour in the boiling water.
2. Cover with plastic and let soak for 30 minutes.
3. Whisk dressing together and stir into the bulghur.
4. Allow flavors to blend in the refridgerator for three hours.
5. Carefully stir in finishing ingredients.
6. Taste to correct seasoning.
1. Shred cucumber with a cheese grater.
2. Combine all ingredients and allow to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Grill-roasted Babaganouj:
By roasting this in your grill, you get the light smoky flavor of barbecues of the past.

2 Medium eggplants
1/2 C Tahini
4 CLOVES Garlic, minced fine
1/2 BUNCH Italian parsley, rinsed and chopped fine
Juice of 1 large lemon
3 Scallions, chopped fine
2 TSP Kosher salt
1 TSP Fresh-ground black pepper
1 TBL Extra virgin olive oil

1. Light the grill and turn one burner on medium. Adjust heat until temperature reaches 400 degrees.
2. Cut stems off the eggplant and pierce the skin in several places with a fork. Place the eggplant in an oven-safe baking dish and slow roast in grill over indirect heat for 45 minutes, or until the eggplant has wilted and they are totally soft.
3. Remove from grill and allow to cool. Separate the peel from the insides. In a mixing bowl, mash the insides well and stir in the Tahini, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, scallions, salt, and pepper.
4. Place in the refrigerator and chill well. Drizzle with a good olive oil before serving.

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