Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This is a fantastic dish to keep company to any grilled meat or fish. It is no more work than just knowing how to boil water and that is precisely all you have to do. You can change the look of this golden grain by adding anything your pantry owns. Of course you need to keep in mind that food is like clothes, they need to match. So you can have a seafood tabouli, a sundried tomato, olive and prochiouto tabouli, a Greek salad tabouli, a fresh vegetable tabouli, a grilled vegetable tabouli or even a left over from last night bits and bites tabouli or even a pistachio nut apricot and cinnamon tabouli.

The one below is my favorite.
2 cups plain bulgur (cracked wheat) or cous cous
2 cups hot salted water

Tomato and parsley vatiation
2 cups fineley chopped tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped green onion
2 cups finely chopped parsley
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped red pepper
¼ cup roughly chopped mint
A hand full pitted kalamata olives
½ cup olive oil, salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Dried fruit variation
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
A few leaves of fresh tarragon
A few leaves fresh mint
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
½ cup dried figs, finely chopped
½ cup sultana raisins
¼ cup grated carrot
½ cup sliced toasted almonds
½ cup halved pistachios
¼ cup green onion, finely chopped

In a large salad bowl place the dry bulgur. Pour over the hot boiling water, salt and 2 tbs olive oil. Cover with a dish towel and allow to sit for a couple of hours . Remove the towel and fluff the bulgur working with two forks.

Continue by adding the rest of the olive oil with lemon and all the rest of the ingredients. Omit the lemon if you are making the dried fruit edition. Place in the fridge and take out when ready to serve. Your guest will be indeed impressed.
“Pick me up”
½ pound mascarpone cheese
½ liter whipping cream

4 tbs instant Nescafe or espresso
1 liter fresh milk
4 Tbs coffee or chocolate liqueur

36 “lady fingers” or “savoyardi” cookiesor 1 pound of cookies
1 cup cocoa powder

In a clean mixing bowl whip the cream with 1tbs of powder sugar until it is very thick. Do not over beat as it will turn into butter!! Fold into cream room temperature mascarpone cheese. In a second bowl mix the milk with coffee and liqueur.
You will now need a pyrex pan about 9X13 in.
To assembly the dessert you start by dipping, not soaking!!, very fast the cookies into the milk coffee mixture. Cover the bottom of the pan by layering the cookies next to each other and spread half of the cream. Continue with a second layer of cookies and finish by spreading the rest of the cream on top. Refrigerate and when ready to serve generously dust through a fine sieve the cocoa powder. Only good comments and compliments are echoing as your family and guests get to taste the “pick me up” dessert. This is what “ti ra misou” means in Italian. A little help with the coffee, the liqueur and the cocoa certainly can “pick you up”…anytime, anyplace.
In case you feel like making your own savoyardi cookies here is the recipe since they can be used for a tea party and other occasions as well…eating occasions I mean. You will need:

6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
3 egg whites
¼ cup + all purpose flour

Whip the yolks with ¼ cup of sugar until they hold stiff peaks. Continue by whipping the egg whites with another ¼ cup of sugar until they get pale and light. Fold the two mixtures by folding in the flour through a fine sieve. On buttered baking paper shape long cookies by dipping a wet spoon into the mixture. You cannot hold this dough, it is very light and wet. There are special molds to be filled that give a better looking cookie. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Before baking sprinkle with sugar. Allow to cool and can be kept into a air tight container for up to two weeks once they are cool and dry.