Sunday, January 3, 2010

Some Italian thing

I made far too much bulghur the other day. I don't know what I was thinking. This recipe helped me use up at least part of it. Although I've just been calling it "Italian thing," I think henceforth it shall be, due to its basis in bulghur and the method of preparation, Italian tabouleh. This dish is both refreshing (lemon, basil) and meaty (sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives). Between the tomatoes, olives, and bulghur, it has a ton of texture. Chickpeas add protein and fiber (but bulghur also provides these). I should emphasize that it's really delicious. And it only got better each day that it sat in my fridge and marinated.

The basil plant in my windowsill has undergone some extraordinary metamorphoses this year. I think it is imploring me, "Just let me die!" but I have Italian tabouleh to make... It keeps trying to go to seed, producing tons of tiny basil-scented flowers that (AT MY WINDOW--IN THE MIDDLE OF HOLLYWOOD) attract hummingbirds. The stalks have turned brown and are now so thick that little sparrows are able to perch IN the plant. The leaves are a somewhat sickly, pale green, but they still taste like basil. I'm going to assume that it's the fact that this plant, an annual, has been producing basil for over seven months straight, and not the pollution, that's making my basil so weird.

Italian Tabouleh

2-3 c prepared bulghur
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
4 sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed (if packed in oil) and finely chopped
1-2 scallions, finely chopped
2 TB fresh basil, chopped
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1 TB olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste (careful--you've already put in olives)
ground black pepper to taste

Combine ingredients. If possible, allow to sit several hours before eating. Serve at room temperature. Serves about 4.

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