Randy’s Recipes: Meals of the Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)
These two recipes share the same ingredients, amplified in the tabouleh, yet taste very different.
My cupboards were bare, so I combined running my various errands with a major shopping spree to buy all healthful items. I did rather well, with that mission, although I spent a minor fortune, and I forgot that the market in that area was a small, somewhat-limited one, in scope, so I was not able to purchase everything fresh, so I’ll write the recipes for fully-fresh, as well as including the pre-packaged items I used.
For so much effort, one may as well prepare everything with fresh, whole ingredients, but it also shows how we can begin to enhance our heat-and-eat home preparations towards something tastier and, likely, more healthful for us.
So, here are two dishes you can prepare, which will stretch far, and which will be ready to eat when your time is more pressing. Both are the fare one thinks of when dining in the Middle East and Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh. I’ll give the recipe for tabouleh first (which is how my prep went; the pasta sauce was a last-minute quirk I came up with).
Randy’s Recipes: Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)
This is basically a Greek-influencd tabouleh, jazzing up a simple tabouleh with the addition of Greek-style elements, such as cucumbers and feta cheese. The recipe is basically the same, and not many twists are to be found; but, nevertheless, even exact recipes can taste quite different in the end product, dependent on a chef’s techniques and tools, etc.
So, this is my own recipe, at present, possibly to fluctuate, with its adjustments and additions, but it is similar (but, of course different) to that recipe which is found on the box of Near East brand tabouleh, whose company makes many great products, which I use. I didn’t really measure out my ingredients, and so, as usual, I’m recreating, by my guess, an approximately hopeful likeness.
This makes approximately 5 quarts (four, when the ingredients have had time to marinate, meld and wilt down, a bit).
2 supermarket bunches of fresh parsley, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)
Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)
Handful spearmint leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)
3 or 4 tomatoes, salted and diced fine (cut an additional 4 or 5 tomatoes, or so, if also making pasta sauce; see below)
2 cucumbers, finely diced
Tiny bottle, extra virgin olive oil (minus two or three tablespoonfuls set aside, if also making pasta sauce; see below)
Bulgur wheat (if using boxed brand, like Near East brand, then use two boxes with its included seasoning packets) (here, I used the boxed version)
Onion; Any color; use vertical wedge cut from one large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers (set aside an additional small handful, if making pasta sauce; see below)
Dill; fresh, chopped fine; or, dried: about 1/8th teaspoon, or one smallish pinch
Pepper, to taste
Juice from 1/2-to-1 lemon, to taste
8 oz. (set aside 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls, if making pasta sauce; see below) feta cheese, crumbled
Combine all ingredients, then sort into lidded quart containers. Shake to blend. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy.
6.8 Yums Up
Randy’s Recipes: Pasta Sauce (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)
Approx. 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic; 1 or 2 cloves, smashed; or about 3/4-teaspoon dried, to taste
4 or 5 large tomatoes; diced fine and salted (adjust quantity to suit your needs); or, 1 large can Hunt’s tomato sauce
Onion; White or Yellow best; wedge cut from large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers
Hand-pinch fresh parsley, chopped fine
Hand-pinch fresh basil, chopped fine
A few leaves fresh spearmint, chopped fine
Pasta; approx. 16 oz., your choice (in this serving suggestion, I used bowties)
Pepper, to taste
Parmesan Cheese, Shaved/Sprinkled (serving suggestion, for topping)
Feta Cheese, crumbled (serving suggestion, for topping. This was excellent! I put it on after sprinkling parmesan on top, apres-photo)
In a large pot, boil water for your pasta. Add a small shake of salt, if desired, to taste. Add your pasta; stir, bringing to slow boil.
Remove leaves from plants, and stems from herbs; wash and set aside.
Pour oil into skillet.
Add garlic, and begin heating, to blend.
On a cutting board, chop your tomatoes, and salt them as you would, if eating plain. Pour off the running tomato juices into the pan, and let blend. Heat for a short bit.
Add your tomatoes, or tomato sauce, and let cook until bubbling for a short bit.
Add your slivered onion.
Sprinkle in herbs and let heat through.
Drain and plate your pasta.
Ladle sauce over top.
If using parmesan, feta, or other cheeses, sprinkle on top.
7 Yums Up