Summer has definitely arrived. I don’t know about you, but I really hate summer for so many reasons. Hot, disgusting weather, poor air quality (at least where I live), bugs, high electric bills…ugh.
You know what I love about summer though? All the wonderous things coming out of the ground. Strawberries anyone? How about Heirloom tomatoes and basil? Yeah, it almost redeems my $400.00 PG&E bill.
My CSA, The Farmer’s Daughter, provides awesome food year round, but there is NOTHING like the summertime CSA boxes.
Here is a look at what I got this week:
Heirloom tomatoes, basil (caprece anyone?), mint, parsley, eggplant & zucchini is what I chose this week. Love that I can *choose* what I get in my box!
As soon as I saw the list of available items this week, I was struck by the word “eggplant.” I have heard
myself people say that they don’t get eggplant in their boxes because they either don’t use them, don’t know HOW to use them, or just don’t like them. I am about to change your mind on that. I felt challenged by the eggplant…like it was some sort of mission for me to conquer. I would order the eggplant…and I WOULD USE IT!
I instantly thought of baba ganoush when I saw it. If you like hummus, you will likely enjoy baba ganoush. Being that I am off beans of all kinds right now, it seemed like the perfect way to quench my hummus craving. 🙂 Baba Ganoush made me think of Tabouleh salad, so I scanned the produce list and picked out several items for that. Mint, parsley, tomatoes…oh yes.
One problem: I am off grains too. Tabouleh is made with bulgur, which is essentially poached, crushed wheat. Obviously contraband for me. Then I thought about the fact that I had been making cauliflower rice…maybe I could pull this off!
And so, I give you, grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, raw tabouleh salad!
I started out with this:
Four heirloom tomatoes
One head of organic cauliflower (yeah, obviously not local…sorry ’bout that.)
2 bundles of organic parsley
1/2 of a bundle of organic green onions
1/4 – 1/2 cups chopped organic mint(depending on how much you love it)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup of good quality cold pressed olive oil, such as Bari.
Technically, There should be a peeled, chopped cucumber in there too, as I have never seen a tabouleh salad without one, but I had two issues with that. One, I didn’t have a cuke, and two, I *hate* cucumbers. If you are a cucumber lover, toss one in…I hear it’s delicious. 😉
I chopped the cauliflower into florets, cutting off the stalks. I added the cauli and the green onions to the food processor and pulsed until the cauliflower resembled something small and grain-like. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the heck out of it.
It took 65 pulses. I counted for you. I ended up with this.
Dump your cauliflower “bulgur” and green onions into a large mixing bowl. Next, core and seed the tomatoes, and chop fine. Add to the bowl. Pulse the parsley and mint (or chop fine if you don’t have a food processor) until the herbs are very fine also. Dump the herbs into the bowl. Sprinkle the mix w/the salt and drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over it all.
Here, I display how to use fancy equipment to combine the ingredients:
Now, pour it into a serving bowl and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to merry and develop. 🙂
While your salad is in the developing process, get to work on your baba ganoush.
First, take three medium-sized organic eggplants. Prick them several times w/a fork and roast them over your gas burner, turning frequently, until evenly charred. If you do not have a gas burner, (and do not feel like pulling at the bbq to do this), don’t worry about it. It’s not a *necessary* step, but the smokey flavor sure is nice. Once charred (or not), put the eggplant on a cookie sheet and into a 350* oven for 20-25 minutes until a knife can be poked into them w/out resistance.
Collect your ingredients:
3 roasted (and possibly charred) eggplants
1/2 cup organic parsley
1 TBSP cold pressed olive oil (Again, I like Bari)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/3 cup tahini (That Cedar’s brand was amazing, seriously!)
It’s a simple process. In a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one), Add the tahini, salt, lemon juice, parsley, crushed red pepper, olive oil and garlic cloves. Then, peel the skin back on the eggplant, and scoop out the pulp. Add eggplant to the processor/blender. Pulse several times until creamy.
Garnish w/parsley (or in this case, mint, because I used all my parsley between the tabouleh and the baba ganoush, lol), a bit more crushed red pepper, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve w/pita chips or veggies. I made these grain free pitas, chopped them into triangles, and toasted them up to make chips.
The flavors of summer are some of the best. Don’t miss your chance to eat plenty of fresh, delicious ingredients this time of year. You will never regret the time you spent in the kitchen to create yummy food. You also won’t break the bank on these dishes, which is good, considering your air conditioner is out to bankrupt you.
Don’t forget to look into CSA’s in your area. It’s a fab way to save a few bucks, nourish your body, and support your local farmers all at the same time.
Eat up and enjoy!