Kitschy it may sound – but trust me – it is simply divine. This dish is an Eli Shem-Tov original (I think he adapted it from a Rose Reisman cookbook, but not sure) from back in his bachelor days on 118 Albany. The dish has gotten better and more sophisticated over the years – but remains uncomplicated and steadfast; a great go-to dish when you need something hearty and satisfying. I made this in less than 20 minutes, start to finish and the whole thing was under $10. Pour yourself a glass of red, and get comfortable. This dish however, is not in line with South Beach restrictions. Sometimes you gotta break the rules.
- a few garlic cloves (to taste – about 2 -4 depending on how garlicky you like it), pressed
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 can of chickpeas (the bigger cans,) drained
- freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
- penne pasta (lately I’ve been doing a brown rice flax pasta – and it’s actually really good)
- Fresh Parmegianno Reggiano -grated, to taste
- Boil pot of water;
- As you’re waiting for water to boil, press garlic and sautee in olive oil with salt and pepper; be sure not to burn the garlic – keep the heat low
- Once water boils – add the pasta; 7-8 minutes
- Add drained chickpeas to the pan with olive oil, garlic & pepper; mix & stir occasionally – keep on low heat
- Drain pasta; add the chickpea, garlic and olive oil mixture to the pasta – garnish liberally with Parmesean cheese.
- Pour yourself a glass of red and, enjoy.
This is another dish that my kids love. It’s the ultimate comfort food. I don’t tell them how good it is for them!! This dish has dozens of variations all over Asia and the Middle East. This recipe is close to the one that I remember as a child -the ‘Iraqi Kitchri.’
Chickpeas and lentils are an excellent food choice. Their nutritional composition includes complex carbohydrates (e.g. fibre, resistant starch, oligosaccharides), vegetable protein, important vitamins and minerals like folate and iron as well as antioxidants and only very small amounts of fats. They have about twice the protein content of cereal grains. As well, a one-cup serving of Chickpeas and lentils provides almost half of the daily amount of fibre recommended for Canadians. They also have a low glycemic index, which has several health benefits
• 1.5 cups of basmati rice
• 1.5 cups red lentils
• 3 cups water or chicken broth
• 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed.
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 large (540 mL) can of chickpeas. (I prefer ‘Cedar’ brand.)
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 0.5 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons cooking oil, vegetable, canola or sunflower.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, preferably Middle Eastern and extra virgin
• Plain yogurt
1. Rinse rice, drain well in colander and set aside in a bowl.
2. Rinse red lentils, drain well in colander and set aside in a bowl.
3. Dissolve 3 tablespoons tomato paste and the salt in the water (or chicken broth).
4. Drain can of chickpeas in colander and set aside
5. Heat cooking oil in pot and place in pepper. Fry for 20 seconds.
6. Add crushed garlic to oil and fry for 20 seconds. Do not burn!
7. Add rice to oil and mix well for 1-2 minutes. Add more oil if needed.
8. Add the tomato paste/salt/water (or chicken broth) mixture to the pot and stir well.
9. Add chickpeas to the pot.
10. Add red lentils to the pot and bring to boil
11. Once it boils, turn down heat to medium/half (or lower if necessary).
12. Set timer to 15 minutes.
13. Turn off and pour contents of pot into separate large bowl.
14. Add olive oil to bowl and mix well.
15. Serve with or without yogurt on top.
I went through a stage of addiction with Tabouli. I’m still in recovery, but it’s one straight way to my heart. Nothing quite like a fresh, perfectly dressed tabouli salad.
There are only two places I will order it out from: at The Olive Vine Cafe on Macdougal Street in NYC, and the Lebanese restaurant in Ein Karem (Just outside of Jerusalem). Mohammed, the Egyptian cook at the NYC spot, brought me into the kitchen once after I lauded him with compliments for his outstanding tabouli. His secrets (hope it’s okay I’m sharing!) were: (1) always make it fresh, and (2) nearly equal parts fresh mint, and fresh flat parsley.
My brother Eli, and mom Martha, taught me the basics once they got sick of my requests for it. What has evolved is my own take on the salad below. My cousin Mira, didn’t even like the salad, but continued to try for years, because of my impassioned obsession for it.
Enjoy! You can even sprinkle it with some crumbled feta (my aunt Marilyn’s spin on it) and enjoy it with some freshly baked pita.
- 1/2 cup bulgur (cracked wheat); medium coarseness
- 1 bunch fresh flat parsley, rinsed & chopped finely
- 2 handfuls of fresh mint, rinsed & chopped finely
- 2-3 green onions/scallions, rinsed & chopped finely; (alternatively, purple onion is a nice substitution)
- 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 2 persian cucumbers (optional)
- 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed (Cedar or Goya are fave brands)
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh lemons (1 -2) or two tbsp. lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp. of very good olive oil; (the olive oil from middle eastern grocery stores tends to be the best)
- Soak the bulgur in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 25 minutes; drain, rinse, squeeze out any extra liquid, and set aside, or in refrigerator
- Rinse parsely & mint; chop either by hand or in food processor
- Rinse scallions and chop finely, on an angle; add to parsley & mint
- Rinse cucumbers, and chop finely; add them & bulgur to the mix
- Tomatoes: I always do them last because of the juice it can get messy; dice
- Add drained chickpeas
- Whisk together the olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice, and dress.
- If you want to be fancy about presentation, looks nice on a bed of lettuce garnished with lemon slices – but I rarely have the patience for the Martha Stewart-touch. Stir and eat!