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.
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).