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This is a fair representation of my life over the past six months. Too little, too late? A day late and a dollar short? Something like that.

tabouleh

I started this year full of energy, plans and ambition – fired up about cleaning up the NaNoWriMo draft of my novel and finishing it with new direction and more intensive collaboration with my colleagues and co-bloggers here at SS&S (S. A. Young and K. R. Brorman, such darlings). The Big Plans extended to this blog with the intention of posting regularly and frequently, with both high concept posts and fun things. Not that those are mutually exclusive and they’d better NOT be if we hope to entice you to come around and stick with us.

Several months ago I hurt myself. This happens more often lately and that is truly one of the toughest things about getting older. It ain’t for sissies. Sadly, the injury took out my right shoulder (I am right-handed, because, of course) and so I quickly lost the ability to sit at the computer and write. Also the pain had a trifling bit to do with my rapidly diminishing motivation. It was distracting as hell, to be honest.

Six months later, surgery and most of my rehab is well behind me and I have no excuses. The momentum is still lacking and the energy reserves are ever so slowly building back up. Is this writer’s block? I don’t know. My muse, if I have one, and my wonderful characters have been sitting quietly for so long, waiting for me to get back in gear, that someone needs to start kicking butt around here to get us all talking to each other again!

a-swift-kick-in-the-butt

Thanks to Bill Watterson who’s given us so many iconic “Calvin and Hobbes” images to love and to Universal Press Syndicate for sharing them with the world.

Back to the nearly empty bowl … one of my all time favorite summer dishes is tabbouleh – it uses so many of my favorite summer veggies and herbies fresh from the garden: tomatoes, cucumber, green onions (the way I do it), parsley and mint… Since one of my recently acquired physical challenges is celiac disease, I can’t have it the traditional way with bulgar wheat, but I make it now with cauliflower and we love it even more, if that’s possible.

I hadn’t intended to start posting again with a recipe, but since it is timely and many of us share the gluten free diet, and this was my first outing with the chopping and the mixing, I wanted to share this one with you. Only when it was nearly GONE did it occur to me to take a photo to go along with the recipe – another sign of my unfocused, lazy and somewhat lame approach to getting back in the swing.

What about you? Have you found yourself ground to a halt by life and had trouble getting back on track? Any suggestions for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts and how often do you get ASKED to give someone a kick in the pants? Hmm?

Anyway, here you go:

GLUTEN FREE MINTY TABBOULEH*

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized head of cauliflower

Juice of 2-3 lemons (at least ½ Cup of fresh lemon juice, more to taste)

2/3 to 1 Cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 Cup coarsely chopped mint

1 Cup coarsely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

½ Cup diced red onion (½ of a large, red onion)

2 bunches of green onions, white and light green parts chopped

1-2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped into ½-inch dice

1-2 European style cucumbers, peeled and chopped into ½-inch dice

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (this recipe can stand a LOT of both)

½ to 1 tsp. turmeric (optional and to taste)

Prepare:

1. Wash and chop cauliflower into florets that fit into food processor. With cutting blade, pulse cauliflower until it is chopped fine (should look like the bulgar wheat when it’s prepared with liquid). You’ll have to do this in a number of batches.

2.  Place chopped cauliflower in a large bowl and combine with other chopped vegetables and herbs. (This recipe makes a large quantity, so start with a very large bowl.)

3.  Add lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and stir well to combine. Taste to see if more fresh lemon juice is needed (it probably is…). Add olive oil, if necessary, to moisten the mixture to your preferences.

4. Add salt and freshly ground pepper, and turmeric if you’re using that, mixing well to combine and continuing to taste to adjust seasonings to your preferences.

This makes enough to serve as a generous side dish for 4-6 people at least twice. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.

* This is my adaptation of a few tabbouleh recipes combined, but the primary inspiration comes from “The New Basics Cookbook”, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (authors of “The Silver Palate Cookbook” among others).  

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