I say Tabouli – you say Tabbouleh

Either way, it’s a Mediterranean dish made with bulgur wheat. When I don’t have bulgur wheat on hand, I buy the Near East Tabouleh grain mix. It comes with a season packet of dried parsley, onion, salt, garlic, molasses, honey, and black pepper. It very easy to prepare – pour the contents into a saucepan, boil some water (I usually use my hot water pot to boil the water), pour one cup of water into the saucepan, cover, and let sit for about five minutes.

I let the bulgur wheat cool off for a while before I put all the other ingredients in. While the bulgur wheat is cooling, you can dice cucumber, tomato, red onion, and red bell pepper. For the servings, I dice 1/2 cucumber, 1 tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, and 1/4 red bell pepper. Prep the juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 lime, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Creamy Potato Soup

Every year for the past several years we receive a gift card from a very dear friend who lives in Florida. Last year we drove to the restaurant to find that it had closed (CARRABBAS Italian Restuarant). Luckily, it was the type of gift card that worked at an affiliated restaurant OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE. This year, we received another gift card, but with COVID, my husband is still apprehensive about going and sitting inside, so we decided to order take out. The nearest restaurant is about a 30 minute drive. I placed the order over the phone – my husband left the house just as I was ordering so that it would be hot when he got it home.

I usually order the grass fed beef burger, but they no longer had it on the menu, so the only thing on the menu I was interested in was the potato soup. I ordered a porterhouse steak for my husband, a hamburger for my son, and Mac n Cheese for my daughter. Well, he came home with the order. After going through all the food and making sure everything was there, it was apparent they forgot to add the potato soup to the bag.

Ever since then, I kept thinking about potato soup. When I arrived home from an errand today, my Misfits box was on my front steps. I was very excited when I opened the box because there were russet potatoes in the box. Oh boy! I immediately peeled them, cut them, gather the other ingredients that were in the book I received with my cooking blender. Yes, this blender puree’s and cooks the soup all in one.

Things you will need: Potato, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, vegetable stock. Blender.

If you don’t have this blender, then you can throw everything in a dutch over and cook until the potatoes are cooked (fork goes through easily). Once everything is cooked, you can place everything in a blender – be careful because it is hot. You may need to cool it down before putting the top on the blender and blending. The heat from the liquid will cause the blender to explode its contents. ‘

If using this special blender, cut the potato into pieces, pour the water and 2 tsp vegetable base into blender, toss in the potato, garlic, carrot, celery stalk. Put the top on the blender, turn dial to soup, it will cook in 30 minutes. Serve with thyme! You can add pepper if you would like

Ingredients:

1 russet potato, peeled, cut into 1 inch size pieces

2 1/2 cups water

2 tsp vegetable base

4 tablespoons of butter or vegan butter

1 medium onion (cut in quarters)

2 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half (whole if you are using the special blender)

1 carrot peeled and cut into Inch size pieces (cut in half if you are using the special blender)

1 celery stalk cut into pieces (cut in half if you are using the special blender)

(you can add cheddar cheese, bacon or broccoli to this soup too!)


Apple and Sweet Pepper Salsa

Have you ever been set to cook something you’d been thinking about all week and then changed your mind at the last minute. Well, that happened to me today. I was going to make a regular summer salsa, but thought, “summer is actually almost on its way out.” I was looking at the bowl of apples in the kitchen, and then went to the garden to see that my last harvest of tomatoes was long from turning red. Well, here came the thought of making apple salsa, rather than the traditional tomato salsa. Lo and behold, I didn’t know how it was going to taste because I’d never had anything like it before. May a mango salsa, but that’s a close to a sweet salsa I’ve come.

Here is what I did:

Cut and sliced two cups of apples, placing them in a cup with water and lemon juice (the lemon juice keeps the apples from growing). Apple brown when they hit the air. Quarter a red pepper and yellow pepper, slicing them about the same width and length as the apples (it yielded about 1 cup). Cut on jalepeno pepper in half, discarding the seeds and membrane, and slicking about the same width and length as the pepper. Quarter one medium onion, slicing the same width as the other vegetables. Placed all ingredients into the hand held mixer, chopping to desired size. Then add 1 tablespoon honey (amber unfiltered), 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and three sprigs of parsley.

Now for the tortilla chips or cups (scoops): Take a round tortilla, cut with a round cookie cutter, place tortilla in a cupcake pan, cooking for ten months on 350 degrees. Let set for a few minutes before removing from pan. I used small dishes I bought at Williams Sonoma. Chop all ingredients together to incorporate the wet ingredients.

Look what I found:

My husband made chicken thighs last night and we had some left over. I chopped up the chicken, took a tortilla shell, toasted in the over with cheddar cheese, laced the chopped chicken on top, and topped with apple salsa. What flavors melded together was amazing.


Pepper Steak

This recipe reminds me of my mom. She used to make pepper steak with white rice and the sauce would just soak into the rice and make it nice and flavorful. After posting this from my facebook live video, I challenged my 81 year old mom to post her recipe in my comments. Well, we’ll see!!

I started replicating a lot of moms cooking when I moved out of the house in my twenties. Living on my own (sometimes with roommates) I had to learn how to cook. Rents were so high in Boston (surprise) that I had to buy groceries and become very creative in the kitchen. I remember going to the grocery store and purchasing enough chicken and beef to get me through the week. I was never one of those college ramen kids, so I learned pretty quick, and mostly through trial and. error.

Although this isn’t my mothers recipe, this is what I did:

Steak – I used precut stir fry steak (approximately 2 pounds).. I rinsed it, pat it really dry (you want to pat it dry so it doesn’t produce any moisture when cooking (this will toughen the steak). You want to sear it so it keeps the juices in.

This dish is great with flank, skirt, or flat steak (the less expensive you get, the more you have to pound the steak). Here’s what you do to pound it: take plastic wrap and place it on the counter, place steak on top, then place another piece of plastic wrap on top. Pound with cube side first, then flat side (until steak is really thin). Pepper and toss with flour until lightly coated (if you are Keto, you don’t have to coat it). Set aside.

Prep a skillet with 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbs butter. High heat until butter is just browned (but don’t burn it). Toss the flour coated meat into the skillet, not crowding it (remember, we don’t want the meat to steam, we want it to sear). If you have to do it in batches, you may need to divide 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Saut├ęs until beef gets crispy (flash cook for about 1 minute on each side). Turn heat down if it gets too hot (you can always take the pan off the heat too). Set aside.

Prepare the liquid: combine the following. Two cups of water, 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, 1 tsp better than bullion (beef flavor), tsp sugar (I use Swerve sugar alternative), 1 tsp mince ginger, 1/4 cup soy sauce. Place to side.

After slicing the yellow pepper, red pepper, and onion (cut onion in half, then medium slices (around the same width of peppers). If you want to add green beans and/or asparagus to this meal you can. Toss all ingredients into the saucepan with two cloves of garlic minced (if you don’t like a lot of garlic, only use one clove). Add water as you cook the vegetables. I usually judge the water as I go because I like my pepper al dente (bit to the tooth). My husband likes the peppers mushy. :(.

Once peppers and onions are cooked to your liking, toss the liquid you prepared into the pan and cook (boil) until it thickens. The Xanthum Gum is the binder to this recipe. Toss in the beef and cook for two minutes.

Server over white rice and/or Chinese noodles.