Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh yeah.... that

Hey!  Remember when I used to write in here on a somewhat regular basis? Yeah.... sorry blog.  Sometimes life gets in the way, the passion dwindles, and you start asking yourself if you're even interested anymore.  Well I'm determined not to let a good thing slip away, and I will do what I can to reignite the cooking fires!

It's not like I stopped cooking.  Ok, I have been doing less of it lately.  I could make excuses, try to explain away my absences... but lets face it, excuses are lame.  I want to pledge allegiance to my blog, to solemnly swear to update it weekly, but I'm not in the habit of making promises I can't keep.  I learned my lesson during my failed attempt at a "52 week challenge" (quite frankly I'm surprised I made it a whole 20 weeks before I gave it up).  Let's just say I'm going to try harder.

In spite of my apparent lack of ability to commit to a blog, I started a second blog, called "Ash Out of Doors".  This is where I intend to share my outdoor adventures, and primarily, the wildlife I encounter along the way.  Considering that I'm a biologist, this only seems natural.  I'm hoping that being drawn to blogger to show off my latest nature pics will also inspire me to show off my culinary prowess while I'm there.  It's worked so far, since I'm here after having written my latest Out of Doors post.

Ok, enough rambling, onto the food!

Last week I threw together a couscous tabouli that was fresh, bright, and super easy.  If you're not familiar with couscous, you ought to be.  It's just about the easiest thing to prepare and infinitely versatile.  Couscous is essentially tiny little balls of wheat.  Pour a cup of boiled water onto a cup of dry couscous, and in 2 minutes  you've got yourself 2 cups of fluffy couscous.  It's seriously that easy.  Since it's just wheat, it can be flavoured in any way you can imagine.  Use broth instead of water, stir in some fresh herbs, let it cool and mix in veggies, nuts, and dried fruit for a tasty salad, whatever!

Tabouli (or tabbouleh, depending on who you ask) is a Lebanese salad that traditionally made with bulgur, parsley (and often mint), tomato, onion, and lemon juice.  Bulgur requires a half hour to soak and another half hour to cook, and while that's not a lot of time, some days we just want to flick the kettle on and be done with it, you know what I'm saying?  So this is a little less traditional, but still totally delicious.

Lazy Couscous Tabouli

1 cup dry couscous
1 cup boiling water
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped (about a cup chopped)
1/2 cucumber, diced
3-4 roma tomatoes, seeds & slime removed, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 3 lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper

Pour boiling water over couscous and let it sit for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

Add remaining ingredients to cooled couscous, chill in the fridge and allow to marinate for an hour or so, if you want.  To speed up the preparation of this dish and augment the lazy factor, employ the use of a food processor for veggies and especially parsley.  Deviating from tradition once again, I threw cucumbers in here because I love them and think they belong in almost any salad.

Salad Challenge Countdown
Salads made: 21   Salads left: 31

Yeah, I'm still keeping track of the salads, even though the last salad recipe I posted was about 11 months ago.  I insist that 52 unique salads can and will be made.  You just wait and see!