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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Day 5...a MiddleEastern Theme

I decided the other day I would make hummus, so yesterday I soaked 16oz bag of chickpeas to get started.  I read that if you add a little baking soda to your soaking water, it helps remove some of the gassiness of the beans.  Soaked overnight, then rinsed.  I then heated them in fresh water until they were softened, about 30 minutes.  During heating, I skimmed off the foam, to further reduce the gassy properties of the beans.  I ladled the beans out, so I could reserve the liquid to use during the grinding..don't use all of it, just add a little as needed.  Ground the chickpeas, placed in the fridge to cool.  Later in the day, I added about 1 cup tahini, about 4-6 T. minced garlic, 1t kosher salt, 4-6 T lemon juice, and 1/4-1/2 t. cumin.  When I serve it, I'll add fresh parsley, and drizzle with olive oil.  I will check the blend first before serving, we like lots of garlic and lemon, and may need to add a bit more.

I will serve the hummus with pita, of course, and I am making my own for the first time. ever.
This Pita Bread recipe is similar to the one I am using, except I used honey instead of sugar.

When I decided to make hummus, I thought I could probably throw together some tabouli as well.  My family makes the Tabouli mixes/packages you can buy at most grocery stores.  I'm not really sure how that got started, the cousin that makes the packages isn't Lebanese, Mediterranean, or's a mystery!    For my version of tabouli, I soak a pkg of bulghur wheat in 1.5 c lemon juice and 0.5-1 cup oil.  Then, I dice 3 or 4 tomatoes, and 2-3 bunches of green onion, and a few sprigs of fresh parsley.  Stir all that together and place in the fridge.  Stir a few times during the day.  Don't serve until the next day.  I usually add a bit of salt & pepper, and my hubby likes lots of parsley and lots of lemon, so I add more to his portions!

The theme continued...I got excited about the hummus, tabouli, and pita, and decided I'd make cabbage rolls.  I usually just layer it all like a casserole because the cabbage never cooperates, but I tried something new today, which worked surprisingly well!  I washed the cabbage head, and cut off the bottom/cored straight across.  I put the whole head in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Then, a few layers were easily removed without breaking, plus they were wilted enough to roll, but not too wilted that they fell to shreds.  I had to microwave several times, since the inner layers were not as heated, but it wasn't a big deal to heat a few times to be able to peel the layers off so easily.  When I got 12-15 layers peeled, and I was getting down to the core, I cut the core out, and chopped the rest of the cabbage, and I will save the chopped cabbage for a dish I have been craving...I'll make Egg Fu Young in a few days with it!
While I was prepping the cabbage, I mixed together 1 lb uncooked ground beef(or use turkey, lamb, whatever), 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 egg, chopped onion, 8oz tomato juice(or sauce) and 1-2 t ground cinnamon.  I poured a layer of tomato juice into my slow-cooker, and stared to fill the cabbage leaves.  I placed a spoonful of the filling in the leaf, then rolled it closed, and set in the slow-cooker.  When all the leaves & mix were used up. I poured the remainder of my tomato juice over the rolls.  I used an entire 64 oz bottle of juice, but you could use less in the slow cooker, because the rolls will steam, but I like them very saucy, so I used the whole bottle!  I had a few cabbage leaves that had ripped, and with those I just placed a 2nd ripped leaved stacked underneath before filling and rolling...they will be just fine, and have extra cabbage to enjoy!  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I can hardly wait!  I will try to remember to snap a pic of our meal before we sit down to dinner!

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch:  packed Vince a lunch, the boys & I had grilled cheese, green salad, & chips
Dinner: hummus, pita bread, tabouli, cabbage rolls

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