Friday, June 29, 2012

Complain of Grain - Parshat Chukat

I was already thinking I would make tabouli this weekend before reading the weekly Portion, Parshat Chukat, and visiting my past relevant post. Go there to learn about this significant portion where Moses loses both of his siblings and is barred from entering the promised land.

The complaining Israelites can be found once again in this week's portion - lamenting the lack of water in the desert, as well as some of the very items that the spies recently reported could be found in the land they are headed to. "Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There isn't even water to drink!" Clearly, they are not the best bunch when it comes to delayed gratification. Soon after their whining, Moses hits a rock for water instead of speaking to it as God instructed and receives the crushing punishment of not being able to complete the 40 year journey with his nation.

This year I've got another grain recipe - one that actually pairs well with tabouli. It's based on a rather processed form of grain - Japanese Panko bread crumbs - that adds a great crunch to foods in frying or baking. The plain Panko readily takes on the flavors of herbs and spices and I often use olive oil to bind such a mixture together - mixing the dry Panko with the viscous oil reminds me of playing in the sand at the beach. Which is exactly where I'd like to spend the last few weeks of this wonderful pregnancy - under a beach umbrella, with my toes dug into some wet sand and my hands gripping a bottomless cup of chilled sparkling lemonade.

The Tabouli with the Panko Turkey

Couscous TabouliServes 4
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of olive oil, plus 1tbsp
3/4 cup of couscous
1 cup of water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and 2 tsp oil and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Let the couscous sit in the pot with a cover on for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and refrigerate to cool completely.

Add the juice of the lemon, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to the the cooled couscous. Mix well, then add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. Serve cold as a side dish or with tortilla chips as a snack.

Parsley and Pepper Panko Turkey
Adapted from two epicurious recipes (this one and this one). Serves 4

1 egg
2 tsp mustard
1 cup Panko (I can easily find Jeff Nathan's in my supermarket)
2 tbsp parsley, plus 1 tsp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chili pepper
Salt and pepper
6 turkey breast cutlets

Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees.

In one bowl whisk the egg, mustard and 1 tsp of parsley - season with salt and pepper. In another bowl combine the Panko, parsley, olive oil and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Spread the Panko mixture out on a plate.

Working with one turkey breast at a time, dip the cutlet into the egg mixture and then press onto the plate of Panko, being sure to coat the turkey well with Panko. The transfer to a glass baking dish and repeat with the remaining cutlets.

Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered, and enjoy.

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