Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tabouli Recipe! Also, Advice From Michael Pollan

"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," says author and healthy food champion, Michael Pollan.

I came across an interesting article in the Vancouver Sun. It is full of reminders of what to eat, why and what is currently going on in the American food system. Much, if not all, is covered in the documentary, Food, Inc.

"The thing is, the big profits are made in cheap, easy, processed food. 'It’s easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or carrot.'

Pollan is optimistic. 'There’s a revolution going on and I’m very encouraged. The fastest growing segment [in the food sector] are farmers’ markets and organics. It’s important on the health level because there are no processed foods at farmers’ markets. Anything that gets people to cook more tends towards a healthier diet.'

I have a suggestion for a healthy, summer salad (see below). First, visit your local farmer's market and buy the ingredients there. Make a date out of it or bring a friend or go yourself and mosey by the produce, flowers, herbs, homemade goods, fresh pastries, etc. Once in a while I will not know whether something is grown organically--I have to ask. Sometimes, even at farmer's markets, people will be selling their produce but it will have been grown with pesticides. I have a hard time deciding sometimes if I should pass and buy organics that have been shipped, thus leaving a larger carbon footprint, or support my local farmer even if pesticides were used. It's a tough choice when you have to choose the lesser of two evils! Personally, I like to support my local farmer and comment that I would pay more for organically grown produce in the future. I think with the industrialization of our food, it's important to support and encourage local growers. Some may just need encouragement to begin growing organically.

Last summer I lived a few miles away from a little old man who posted a hand-painted sign at the entrance to his driveway: "Apples-25 cents a pound." I stopped. His front yard was an apple orchard and smelled deliciously sweet. He had boxes of hand-picked green apples in this garage and gave me a bag to fill. I asked if they were organic.

"Noooo, I tried doing that once but they spoiled quickly. I don't use harsh chemicals now but I do use some agents to help my apples."

I was hesitant to buy any apples until I realized that even if these were not grown 100% optimally, he was doing something right. He was providing his community with delicious, green apples. I decided to buy some.

Most recently, I have been making tabouli (tabouleh) at least once a week. It is delicious, filling, refreshing and my husband will eat it! He prefers the meat and potatoes types of meals but for some reason, he can not get enough tabouleh. To a vegetarian cook, it feels like I've hit the jackpot!

Here is the simple recipe I use. I've heard all sorts of suggestions, but the latest is from my Lebanese friend. He suggested to add sumac, which is the prime ingredient in philo spinach wraps. Sumac makes my tabouleh very tart, and with lemon to add sour, there are many taste sensations that highlight our ability to taste.

1 bunch curly parsley
1 bunch green onions
1 tomato
1 or two lemons
1/2 cup bulgar, 1/2 cup water
1/2-1 tablespoon sumac
pinch of mint, crushed and diced
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, to taste

Soak the bulgar in 1/2 cup water for at least one hour. Wash and cut parsley as small as you can (or use food processor to chop). Slice green onions and dice tomatoes into tiny pieces. Throw in a bowl with the bulgar and add mint, sumac, and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze lemons over the top, careful to catch any seeds that may pop up. Mix well and refrigerate. Goes great with toasted pita bread, especially to soak up the lemon juice/olive oil mix. It can be difficult to find sumac (international markets) and it is not a typical ingredient in tabouleh.


*Parsley is one of nature's internal deodrants. It is great for bad breath, especially.

Remember to "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants!"


Amy said...

I love Michael Pollan! Will definitely try your recipe, just my style, easy, simple and healthy - thanks!

Naomi Devlin said...

Michael Pollen is currently my hero....