Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mezze Plate

Eagle-eyed blog visitors will notice that this looks a lot like the falafel plate from a few weeks back. This is another variation on a frequently-recurring theme: The Mediterranean Plate.

The basic concept is easy: a fresh vegetable (or vegetables), some cheese, some olives, a little bread and the wild cards (at least one, but I usually like two): baba ganoush, tabouli, hummus or falafel. Little cheese or spinach pies are also nice.

Tonight the wild cards are tabouli and hummus. The hummus is made with green garbanzos (freezer section at Trader Joe's) so that why it looks a little funny. Yes, it's lime green. Also on the plate are black olives, lemon wedges, pita bread, fennel, roasted red peppers and feta cheese.

Bonus night - 2 recipes!

Tabouli

Ahem ... tabouli is not a grain salad with herbs, it is an herb salad with grain. The stuff you get in the supermarket is not bad, but it is not tabouli unless it's green. So there.
  • 1 cup fine bulgur wheat (you can buy this in mosts supermarkets)
  • lots of herbs, chopped: I like parsley as my main herb with scallions, mint, dill, and/or fennel fronds as nice counterpoints. After you chop them up, you want about 2 cups (or more) of herbs
  • pint container cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Put the wheat in a bowl and pour boiling water over it - you just want to pour enough water to just cover the wheat. Let it sit on the counter for about half an hour while you do the rest.

Chop up your herbs - you want them chopped coarse, not too fine. Slice your tomatoes into bite size pieces. When I use cherry tomatoes, I cut each one in half or quarters, depending on size.

Fluff up the bulgur wheat with a fork. Toss the herbs and tomatoes in, squeeze the lemon over and pour on some oil (If you're uncomfortable with this casual approach: squeeze the lemon into a jar, add as much olive oil as you have lemon juice in the jar. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil. Proceed with recipe). Fold everything together with the fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This will store for three or so days with marginal loss of quality - your herbs will lose their greeniness toward the end there, but take a look at what's in the deli case at your supermarket: those herbs will be not-so-green too.

Hummus

This is fall-out-of-bed easy. My recipe uses a food processor. I have been told you can use a blender, but I have not tried, and therefore cannot endorse this method.

I do not like tahini (sesame paste) in my hummus. If you do, add a tablespoon or so to this recipe.

  • 1 bag frozen green garbanzos (Trader Joe's brand) cooked as described on the package or 2 small cans garbanzos, drained
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons dried oregano (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

In your food processor, chop the garlic clove. (In mine, I turn it on, drop the garlic down the feed tube and it bounces about, getting minced up wonderfully.) Put the beans in the blender. Add the lemon juice, some oregano and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Turn on the processor and whirl everything about.

You may want to scrape the sides down a few times to make sure everything gets pureed in. If it's too chunky, add some more olive oil and/or a little water to loosen things up. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse everything together again until it all look hummus-y.

This will hold for four days with no problems. At mealtime, it's nice to squeeze some fresh lemon on and drizzle on some olive oil.

1 comment:

Stefan Jones said...

I made hummous with a blender many years ago. Turned out fine as I recall.

Now, I'm lazy. The discount grocery across the street sells the big three of middle eastern pop cuisine -- hummouse, tabouli, and falafel -- in powdered mix form.

When Trader Joe opens its new location between home and work I'm going to be in serious trouble.

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