I like to say I was born with a stainless steel thumb - my culinary equivalent of the green thumb - and that's a lucky thing for me since my passion in life is food and cooking, and everything that comes a long with it.
What do I do with my life? I dream food, think food, look at food, read about food, work in the food business, travel via food, talk about food, use food as my artistic muse, teach others about food, and clearly, cook, play with and EAT food!
Food is my compass.
I sometimes have a strange...yet SERIOUS hankering for Middle Eastern food. I can't go too long without a nice creamy hummus, a smokey baba ghanoush, or solid grilled shisk taouk with garlic sauce. Some may say that's the Metro Detroit in me....but I frankly say it's because it's all downright delicious. No funny business - just straightforward ingredients with amazing spices to boot.
For the record, a favorite place of mine in the 'burbs of Detroit - Pita Cafe - literally has some of the best food ever. I have to make a stop there anytime I'm home. Their shish taouk is UNREAL. A chicken kebab you say? That exciting? Dang right it's exciting! A few years back we heckled the owner for the marinade - he gave us the ingredients, and we just played around. Still not 100% of what the original is, but it's pretty on point. I may give you that soon...all I can say is that white pepper is involved.
But on the note of Middle Eastern food, I do love myself some good tabbouleh. Garlicky, parsley-ey (?), refreshing, and simple. You just can't go wrong! For the following recipe, I must say I did not come up with it.....but it's from a certain Dr. Alejandro Junger. It is SO GOOD. I've made it in the most famously large batches, and it has gone SO quickly that it's ridiculous. And might I add that it's a power food? Yeah, it is. So hop to it!
2 C quinoa, cooked (red, regular, whichever you please!)
1/4 C currants
1/4 C almonds, chopped
1/2 C carrots, diced
1/4 C mint, chopped
1/4 C scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 C parsley, chopped
1/4 C lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
This recipe makes life so food. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine - let the flavors meld together for at least 20 minutes before serving. Dig in and enjoy!
So this may seem like a silly recipe. But let me assure you, it is not. There is something about this "tabbouleh" that is just right. It may be the quinoa, it may be the mint. It may even be the currants! I'm not sure what exactly it is, but it is just downright delicious. You get a nice puckery pungency from the currants, along with a nice caviar-esque pop, while the cumin gives the entire dish a deep, earthiness. The raw carrots and almonds also give a nice textural crunch to the whole situation.
This is a great side, a great salad as a meal, and a great snack. You can make it in huge batches, and have it around the house for a moments notice! If you see currants anywhere, pick them up and be sure to make this!