New Soups & Salads!

from the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

1lb. black beans, dried
2 quarts water
2 med. onions finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 green peppers, cut in strips
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbs salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
white rice, cooked
chopped onions for garnish
lemon wedges

Soak beans overnight or boil for ten minutes and let sit until cool.
Pour beans and water into a 4 quart pot, bring to boil. Cover and  
cook over medium heat.
Meanwhile, saute onions and peppers in the olive oil until golden. Add 
oregano, bay leaf, cumin and garlic. Add this to the beans, along with 
salt and pepper and simmer until the beans are tender (about an hour).
Serve on a bed of white rice, chopped raw onions and lemon wedges.

Over the years, we’ve increased the garlic, cumin and use lots of 
Spanish extra virgin olive oil.

From Daniel: My measurements here are approximate and the recipe generally is intended to be a template rather than an exact guide.

This is the base of the salad

1 14 ounce Timeless Natural Food Black Kabuli TM Chick Peas
2 1/2 cups medium bulgar wheat
Lemon Juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic, peeled and minced very fine
Salt
Pepper
1 cup well-chopped fresh mint leaves

Rinse and pick through the chick peas there might be the occasional bit of grit or even a pebble. Relax. Thats how you know they were grown someplace. Combine the chick peas in a pan large enough to hold them and 4 ½cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer the beans for about 2 hours, or until tender, but not yet soft. Drain and cool in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl , combine the bulgar wheat with 4 -5 cups (depending upon how chewy you want it) of salty hot water. Set aside. The bulgar will absorb all the liquid in a fairly short time and it wont get at all pasty. Perfect for salad.

Once the bulgar has absorbed all the water, add the chick peas to the bowl.

Make a dressing with lemon juice, a goodbuttery olive oil (my current pick for this recipe would be Kouras), minced garlic to taste, salt & pepper to taste. The proportions I use for the dressing is about 1:1 juice/oil, but your tastes may very. If you want less oil but dont want a more intense lemon flavor you could add a little water to the dressing.

Add your dressing to the salad. Its okay if this makes our ingredients pretty wet. The bulgar will absorb any excess and will only be improved in this way. Adjust seasonings again. Add the mint leaves now.

Additions:

This is where the fun starts. You can add pretty much anything to this salad and it will be more fun. I added pitted calamata olives, sliced cucumber, diced sweet red pepper, chopped scallions and sliced yellow crookneck squash to my salad and it was lovely. Heres a list of suggested additions:

· Pitted olives
· Cucumber
· Peppers (sweet or hot, pickled or roasted)
· Yellow crookneck or zucchini squash
· Scallions
· Fresh figs
· Dried cranberries
· Crumbled Feta Cheese
· Fresh peas
· Pine nuts or almonds
· Persimmons
· Roughly cut spinach
· Pickled shallots
· Capers
· Cherry tomatoes
· Shaved Kefalotyri
· Grilled beets
· Grilled fennel
· Flat-leaf parsley
· Fresh oregano or basil leaves
· Dill weed

Dont let that be a limiting list. Use your imagination here. It would be hard to fail this salad.