When I was younger my cousin Angela would come over some weekends to babysit while my mom was out or had to work. I have a lot of fond memories of these times spent watching and rewatching The Naked Gun trilogy, eating Baskin Robbins ice cream, and tending to the needs of our extremely sensitive Great Dane, Sasha. My younger sister and I always loved drawing pictures together and on one of these artistic expeditions my cousin joined us and we came up with a portrait of a rock band that we named The Taboulehs. Out of all my memories of my sister and cousin The Taboulehs is the one that keeps resurfacing, an inside joke that we refer to fifteen years later because it’s simultaneously funny and warm. If anything, the name is a reminder of my life-long appreciation for the minty grain salad. I sometimes like to add chickpeas to the mix but I’m also quite content with just the soft mild grains being the centre of the recipe. I like to use quinoa, bulghur, or couscous in my tabouleh although couscous is my least favourite one to use simply because I tend to find its blandness a little bit too overwhelming. Whenever I use quinoa I never bother to rinse it as is often suggested, I’ve never had a problem with bitterness before and until I face that day I’ll continue to omit this step. This salad is perfect for lunches as it will keep for several days in the fridge, in fact the longer the salad can marinate in its lemony dressing the better it tastes.
1 cup of quinoa/bulghur/couscous
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 of a cucumber, cut into halves and then quarters
1 bunch of scallions, chopped finely
1 bunch of curly parsley
1 bunch of fresh mint
1-2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1. Combine the grain of your choice with 2 cups of water and allow to come to a boil in a lidded pot; once the water has reached its boiling point turn the heat almost completely down, making sure the pot lid is securely on to capture the steam. I have found that these grains can take anywhere from 5-25 minutes to fully absorb all of the water. Once all of the water is absorbed take off of the heat and fluff the grains, allow to come to room temperature.
2. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Combine the grains with the vegetables, parsley, and mint. Drizzle the lemon dressing over top before tossing again and checking for seasoning.
When I was in university I listened to a lot of A Sunny Day in Glasgow on the bus, I always used to feel really invisible and totally anonymous when I was travelling by myself (a feeling that I enjoy on the bus but not in an airport.) There’s something be said for the soundtrack to public transportation anonymity, namely that this is music that sounds like it should be in a dream which lends itself perfectly to a mood of personal transparency. I also just wish I was in a band with my sister and fictional brother, we have coinciding taste but are severely lacking in musicality.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Passionate Introverts (Dinosaurs)