Food writer is a job description that’s easy to digest. Everyone, it seems, eats. Cocktail in hand, chitchat in air, I’m rarely met with blank stare. That’s a luxury few astrophysicists share.
And yet, misconceptions abound. Food writing springs from an affinity, not an affliction.
Consider the tack, if not tact, of my physical therapist, a genius with neck or knee. Introducing the exercise du jour, she translates into Epicure. “Pretend there’s a baguette attached to your shoulder,” she begins, “and you want it level with the countertop.” I offer blank stare. “You mean lift my arm?”
I may be weak on gravitational waves, but I’m good with arm and lift.
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Also other simple pairings like warm and cool, cooked and raw, sweet and sharp, all of which exercise good form in cold-weather tabbouleh, a wintry take on a summery side.
It’s an approach that anyone — even an astrophysicist — can grasp.
Yield: Makes 6 cups
Prep: 30 minutes / Cook: 25 minutes
1 cup bulgur, see note
1 3/4 cups boiling water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet potato, 1 / 2-inch dice
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
About 5 tablespoons olive oil
About 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Soak: Measure bulgur into a large bowl. Pour on boiling water. Cover and let rest at room temperature, about 30 minutes. (If any water remains, drain and squeeze the grains dry.)
Roast: Meanwhile, toss the sweet potato, tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the red onion, 2 cloves garlic and 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting or sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until potatoes turn tender, 25 to 27 minutes.
Toss: Scrape vegetables onto bulgur. Toss with remaining 1/4 cup chopped red onion and remaining 1 clove chopped garlic. Toss, to taste, with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let rest at room temp until ready to serve.
Note: Bulgur, a precooked cracked wheat with a nutty flavor, is usually stocked near the rice. If you’ve got options, choose a fine-grain version (or buy a box marked “tabbouleh” and toss the spice packet).