wandering through thrift stores is a favorite past time of mine. visiting the used book store is another. whichever the destination, i am bound to make my way out to the car carrying an armload of stuff, especially cookbooks. recently, i found a hardback copy of mark bittman’s “how to cook everything” for $7.99 and it was sporting the tag color of the week; serious thrift shoppers know that means it was discounted, i picked it up for $4 and change. yesterday, i mailed it to my older daughter who has expressed an interest in cooking. not to worry, a couple of months ago, i found a paperback copy at the used book store for $2. wow-two copies of that book and less than $10 spent.
you would think that as a cia grad that a comprehensive book like that wouldn’t be of much interest to me. after all, i should know the material. however, i gave up the cooking part a long time ago to pursue the baking/pastry side and with a husband who is a chef, i don’t need to do much cooking. with the girls out of the house, i really don’t need to do much cooking. but for some reason, i am finding myself in the kitchen after spending the day in a kitchen, cooking. and i really mean cooking from scratch using as many ingredients as i can pick from the garden.
reading through this book, i stumbled upon what i think is the best tabbouleh recipe and more importantly, it is a perfect way to use the abundance of tomatoes and parsley out in the garden. while the traditional recipe calls for bulgur, i have been experimenting with other grains. the last batch i made had red quinoa in it. lurking in the cupboard was a jar of millet and today, it became the grain of choice for my tabbouleh.
my husband scoffs at the idea of eating millet-“i’m not a bird…” and i understand his point since he is constantly filling the feeders outside with a seed mix that includes millet. but this is a great way to get big kids like him to play nice and try new foods…
millet is starchy and it must be rinsed a few times after cooking to prevent it from becoming sticky and pasty. the method i used can be found in a tabbouleh recipe from the vegetarian times. i used their cooking method and substituted it for the cooked bulgur in mark bitumen’s recipe.
having an herb garden is wonderful! especially when you can plant whatever you want!!! pictured here are the three types of parsley i used. the large one on top is mitsuba, a japanese parsley. it looks like flat leaf parsley on steroids.
with only minor changes, i reduced the amount of olive oil called for in the recipe and added a little diced cucumber since it is summer and i do have them in the garden, this is the result.
adapted from “how to cook everything” by mark bittman
makes about 5 cups
1/2 cup millet
2 cups fresh parsley leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onions
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
cook the millet according to the instruction on the package or by using this link
and allow it to cool. chop the parsley and mint leaves somewhat coarsely. combine the cooled millet with the remaining ingredients, season it with the salt and pepper and chill the salad for a few hours to blend the flavors. while chilling it allows the flavors to meld and develop, it will taste best if it is allowed to come to a near room temperature before serving.