Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Armenian Tabbouleh

A few weeks back my friend Rouzanna Berberian had a reception at her house to celebrate getting her MFA from Cal State LA.  Among the dishes prepared by she and her mother was Armenian Tabbouleh.  It was simply amazing and magical. I've been trying for a few weeks from recipes on the web to duplicate...but my efforts fell short in duplicating the bright taste of her tabbouleh.

So I broke down and begged her for the recipe.  As with most family dishes its a handful of this, some of that, less of the other type recipe that is typically passed down through the generations.  What she did give me was something I would have never guessed and never found in other recipes.  Spices...specifically Aleppo Pepper and Paprika to bring a sweet heat to the dish.  I had to guesstimate quantities and took copious notes.  I think I nailed it.  This is some righteous food stuff.

Also...this can be a lunch onto itself on a hot summer day.  Vegan too if you substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth in the bulgar wheat.  Or use it as a side dish with grilled meats or fish.  

I get my bulgar wheat at Fresh & Easy markets here locally.  Its inexpensive and oh so good for you.  If your regular groc doesn't carry, any local hippy mart surely will.

Armenian Tabbouleh
  • 1 1/2 c raw bulgar wheat
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 c thin sliced spring onion including green tops
  • 1 c fine chopped parsley
  • 1/2 c fine chopped mint
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 t aleppo pepper
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil.  Add salt and the raw bulgar wheat.  Cover and remove from heat.  Allow to steep for 30-45 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Add aleppo pepper and paprika and gently fold in to mix.  Put into a covered mixing bowl to cool.

About 1 hour before serving layer on to the cooled bulgar add tomatoes, onion, parsley and mint.  
Mix olive oil and lemon juice, some salt and pepper.  Pour over the veggies and herbs, gently fold to combine.  Test for seasoning and more salt and pepper if needed.  Cover and put in fridge to allow flavors to blend before serving.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dr Pepper Pork Loin Chops

This was the result of a little brainstorming and thinking...what could I do to jazz up a basic pork loin chop and play on the sweet white flesh of pork.  I've seen Coke used in marinades and chili and stuff, why not Dr Pepper.   Its sweet with vanilla overtones, could be a match with pork.  What did I have to lose right?  Nothing it worked out pretty swell.

Use regular Dr Pepper, not diet. You want the sugar to combine with the salt to create a brine.  Using diet you'll only get a funny aftertaste from the artificial sweetener in Dr Pepper, or in my case, a migraine.

Dr.  Pepper Pork Loin Chops
  • 4 thick cut Pork Loin Chops (about 2 lbs)
  • 3/4 c Dr Pepper
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper.

In mini food processor add garlic, salt, and pepper.  Strip leaves off the Rosemary stem by pulling backwards down the stem across the grain.  Add leaves to mini food processor.  Pulse a few times until garlic is finely chopped.  Add Dr Pepper and oil oil.  Pulse until mixed.  In small non reactive dish or large plastic bag add the pork loin chops and marinade.  Turn over a few times to coat well.

Set aside for 1 hour (no longer as the acid in soda will break down the pork).  Turn chops over every 15-20 minutes to keep well coated in marinade.

Preheat oven to 325F at end of hour.  Heat an oven proof pan such as the Calphalon everyday pan over medium high heat.  Coat bottom of pan with olive oil.  Sear pork chops on one side about 5 minutes.  Turn over and turn off the heat.  Spoon 1 T marinate over each chop.  Cover and bake in oven until they test medium 145F.  About 20-25 minutes.  

Remove from oven.  Place chops on platter and loosely cover with foil to rest.  Use pan drippings to make a gravy from scratch or with the no-brainer stupid easy success every time Ah Bisto gravy mix. If your local groc doesn't carry you can buy it on line at Amazon.