Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shabbat on a hot tin roof

This past Shabbat (and Shavuot), it was like a zillion degrees here on the Upper West Side. I literally melted many times into a messy pool of ima-ness. So when it came time for the afternoon picnic on the 2nd day of Shavuot, the prelude to 5 hours at the sprinklers in the park, I made my two favorite Shabbat lunch hot weather salads. I share them with you because they are delicious, and they cool you down!

Neither are difficult to make, and only one requires cooking anything, but they are chopping intensive. I find wielding a sharp knife to chop veggies very satisfying and once done you are done chopping, kids can help put things in bowls and mix everything together.

B'tayavon (and stay cool).


This recipe was something I originally got from a Williams Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook (if you care to look up the correct version). It is super pretty and everyone will think you worked very hard on it. It is also very high in protein and has lots of veggies.

1 1/2 cup french or puy lentils (these are better but plain will do in a pinch)
Boil these till tender, drain, and let cool. These can be made before Shabbat and you can do the rest on Shabbat if you run out of time.

Then chop the veggies and add them once the lentils have cooled.
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, sliced into tiny slices

Then crumble the feta into the mixture.
7-10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (this depends on how much you like. And please PLEASE use gvina bulgarit, Bulgarian feta and not greek feta. It is softer and much more delicious.)

On top, pour in
olive oil (use how ever much you feel comfortable using, but probably between 1-3 tsp.)
balsamic vinegar (same as above)
20 big leaves of finely chopped fresh mint (I like to use scissors to chop it in)
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp. ground cumin (just a few shakes from the bottle)

Mix it up. Put it back in the fridge and later, Serve it. Look like a rockin' hostess with the mostest because you are serving a weird looking salad that is yummy and cool.

TABBOULEH (or, Tab OOH! li)

2 cups dry bulgur (the whole grain kind)
2 cups boiling water
Put both in a bowl. Let stand for an hour or so till the bulgur has absorbed the water. Again, can be made before Shabbat.

When cool, add:
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (again, you can scissors it)
1 cup chopped mint (see above)
2 big tomatoes, diced (keep the juice to put in too)
3 israeli or persian cucumbers (I suppose you can use a hothouse one too), diced
3-5 chopped green onions (sliced into small pieces)
1 can drained garbanzo beans

Mix up. Do it with flair and you will seem French. Or Lebanese, or wherever this recipe came from.

On top, add the juice of 2-3 lemons, to taste (or 1/3 cup of lemon juice), some olive oil (again, however much you want, but probably about 2-3 tablespoons, and sea salt.

Have a nice picnic!

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