Middle Eastern Feast

Dear friends of ours are getting married this fall. I have the honor of helping coordinate the wedding feast. Because the bride grew up in Jerusalem, they are choosing a Middle Eastern theme for dinner. 

Here are some recipes from the feast, which are perfect for cooling summer heat. They will tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing.

Tabbouleh

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups bulghur wheat*

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups minced scallions

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 cucumber, unpeeled and diced

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

*You can substitute cooked quinoa for a gluten-free version of this salad.

Place the bulghur in a large serving bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh marinates for a few hours.

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Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

You will need:

  • One 8 pound (approximately) watermelon

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Chop the watermelon, remove the seeds, and place in a colander to drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt, and black pepper to create a dressing.

Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat. Crumble the feta over the top ans stir gently to incorporate all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Israeli Salad

This salad is delicious served with feta and olives or pita bread.

You will need:

  • 3 cups Roma tomatoes, diced (about 5 tomatoes)

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 2 cucumbers)

  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 pepper)

  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

This salad's flavors improve when given a few hours to marinate. Prepare it mid-day to serve at dinner.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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Summer Meal: Quinoa, Grapefruit, Fennel, Avocado

Summer is here. Relax, enjoy cool, colorful meals, and take in the brilliance of the moon as it grows to fullness. This is the thunder moon, time of dramatic skies, electric lightning, and brilliant sunsets.

Enjoy these recipes and be well.

Quinoa Pilaf

You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, and cinnamon

  • 1 cup fresh peas

  • 1 bunch spinach

  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, minced

  • 5 medium radishes, chopped

  • 1 bulk fennel, sliced

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Rinse, drain, and cook quinoa in 2 cups water with turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.

Add peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, chop / mince all other ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.

Add cooked quinoa, mix well to incorporate, and enjoy!

Coleslaw

You will need:

  • ½ head green or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Slice cabbage.

Mince the fresh herbs.

Place in a large bowl.

Wisk all other ingredients together. Pour them over the cabbage and herbs.

With a wooden spoon, bruise the cabbage until it becomes watery and all the juices from the sauce are incorporated.

Set aside in the refrigerator overnight for best results.

This dish is wonderful for a picnic along with hard-boiled egg salad and cornbread.

Beet and Grapefruit Salad

You will need:

  • 1 pound red and golden beets

  • Beet greens

  • 1 large grapefruit

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 ripe avocado

Chop and steam the beets.

Add beet greens on top during the last 5 minutes of steaming.

Meanwhile, peel and chop grapefruit and avocado.

Place in a large bowl with olive oil and salt.

Set aside.

Once the beets are soft enough to poke through with a fork, remove them from the heat, rinse under cold water, and place in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Toss well and enjoy immediately!

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