Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hummus, tabbouleh, and Shalom Square

As Jessica and Kyle suggested, Saturday night I went to the Shalom Square Israel pavilion, as part of the annual Winnipeg Folklorama festival.  For all my friends back in Windsor: think Carousel of Nations, but bigger, more organized, and with set show-times for guaranteed fantastic entertainment to go along with amazing food.  I'd been to the Portugal and India pavilions already, so I was excited to continue my first year of Folklorama fun. 

The gorgeous Asper Jewish Community Campus, home of Gray's Academy, a K-12 private school, and the Shalom Square pavilion.  Photo from the Asper Foundation website.
I was a bit peckish a couple of hours before leaving (the market perogies only held me over so long), so I decided to chow down on some hummus and tabbouleh salad I'd made earlier in the week as a sort of lunch/dinner (I'm not a fan of the term "linner").  It definitely got me in the mood for some Middle Eastern fare.  It being Shabbat, the Israel pavilion wouldn't be open until after the sun went down, so dinner would be late; I needed a snack!

Tabbouleh Salad
Adapted from "The G.I. Diet Clinic" by Rick Gallop
 (Adaptations = I didn't have some of the right ingredients. 
This is far from authentic, but it's tasty)

Makes 4-6 servings... generously.  A great one to bring to a bbq or potluck.
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 540 mL can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cucumber, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (but only because I was out of mint)
  • 1 tbsp chopped red onion (but only because I was out of green onion)
  1. In saucepan, bring water to boil; add bulgur.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Using fork, scrape into large bowl; let cool
  2. In small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin; pour over bulgur.  Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, basil and onion until well combined.

    On to Shalom Square.  With the sun safely below the horizon, Jessica, Kyle and I ventured out to explore Israeli culture.  The displays lining the halls were rich with great information; I had no idea the first cell phone was designed in Israel!  My one track mind, however, was on the nosh.  I went for the Tel Aviv platter: falafel, a cheese and spinach pastry horn, and a slice of citrus cake.  Jess and Kyle went all out and got the Jerusalem platter, too: a potato boureka, hummus with pita, and a piece of carrot cake.  Kyle insisted on trying matzo ball soup to round it all out.  Overall, I think we had everything possible from the food menu at our table.
    Spinach and cheese pastry horn.  This was FANTASTIC, and quite reminiscent of Greek spanakopita.
    Nice, medium texture falafel hiding behind a cabbage, tomato, and lettuce slaw in a pita.  Gotta love the amount of chickpeas I've consumed by this point in the day...  I've had falafel that's been dry and crumbly, and others that are super-soft and creamy; this must've been the Goldilocks version, since it was juuuust right.
    Moist, subtly flavoured citrus cake with chocolate sauce drizzle.  Mmm.
    After feasting, we got to learn a few phrases in Hebrew and watch the astounding skill of the Chai folk ensemble (no, not chai like your Starbucks latté; chai as in life).  They had a live band, a choir, and a fantastic folk dance group.  One of Kyle's friends was a dancer; it was just amazing.  I had no idea of the range of the styles of dance and the types and sounds of the music from the region; it was an eye-opener.  What a fantastic show.  They didn't allow flash photography, unfortunately, but you can check them out here.  It was a great way to relax and be entertained after stuffing myself full of food.

    My hummus.  Honestly, it's only on a swath of pita for your benefit, dear reader.  Typically I just grab a spoon and have at it; why introduce the extra carbs? I would post this recipe, but it's won me rave reviews at parties, so I think I'll keep it my little secret.  Plus... I never measure anything for hummus, so I wouldn't know what to tell you ;)
    I may not be Jewish, but I've had a respectful curiosity about the amazing culture of the descendants of Abraham ever since I learned that my uncle (by marriage) is Israeli.  I can remember the smell of garlic mixed with the burning of the overworked motor in our ancient Oster blender as dad set about making homemade hummus for family get-togethers where Uncle Ram would be present.  Maybe that's where I get my love for learning new customs... my parents have always embraced them.  Being Canadian for more than seven generations hasn't stopped my dad from apprenticing under my Nonna.  The man grinds his own pork shoulder and makes his own Italian sausages in the basement like a "nice Italiano boy" (as zio would say).  Hilarious, and ridiculously delicious.  I think my mom also made latkes once or twice around Chanukkah... so tasty.  Who could possibly turn down a crispy fried potato fritter?  Not I!  I've made them once or twice; especially while celebrating Christmukkah in freshman year with my roomates from Toronto.  Good times.

    I'm really looking forward to continuing to explore different culinary cultures, especially through the Eat Around The World In Winnipeg diner's group I joined.  It's South America next... olé!  I'm sure you'll hear all about it.

    Until then, lechaim!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment