Monday, August 25, 2014

Got Parsley?

It's late summer and the herb pot is full and luxurious.  There's a lot of parsley out there needing to be eaten.  What to do?  Make tabouli!

Tabouli (also spelled tabbouleh) is one of my favorite salads -- so fresh, yet hearty.  Late summer is the perfect time to make it, with lots of parsley and garden fresh tomatoes available.  Making tabouli requires a fair bit of chopping.  You can use a food processor if you wish, but I like to chop everything by hand, so that I get the sizes exactly the way I want them.  I enjoy it.  Plus, after chopping all that parsley and mint, my kitchen smells divine.  So, turn on some fun music and get chopping!

This particular salad was made to strains of The Supremes and Sly and the Family Stone.
"Everybody is a Star," especially you when you serve this yummy salad to friends and family.


Adapted from Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine

1/2 cup cracked or bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1 large tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
3 scallions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak the wheat in hot water for about 15 minutes.  Drain well, squeezing out all water.  Toss all ingredients together, stirring to mix well.  Chill or serve immediately at room temperature.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Meet Percy, FFD

Meet the newest member of our extended family -- Percy.  I call him Percy, FFD, which stands for Face Free Dog.

This is the best I could do to capture what little face this dog has.

Our daughter got Percy, a shih tzu puppy, over the July 4 weekend, so he's now about 15 weeks old.  We got to meet him a couple of weeks ago.  What a funny, nutty puppy he is!  Poor Alfie didn't know what to make of him.  Percy wanted so much to be his friend, but Alfie quickly got fed up with having this little nipper following him around and trying to bite his tail.

Our daughter is a youth services librarian, and she plans for Percy to become a library dog.  He already goes to work with her every day.  Right now, he stays in his crate in the break room, and the librarians visit him during their lunches and breaks.  She will start him in puppy classes soon, though, and eventually have him certified as a therapy dog. Once that happens, he will be able to serve as a reading buddy for the kids.  Read to a Dog programs have become very popular at libraries and schools as a way to encourage reluctant readers with a non-judgmental audience.

The future library hound and his librarian owner.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I've never done a Throwback Thursday post before.  Never even thought about it.  Then last week, my father-in-law e-mailed my husband some pictures he had taken of us in 1984 -- thirty years ago!  This was before we were married, after we had known each other about a year.  I'm not sure I had ever seen these pictures before, and I had completely forgotten the day they were taken, so they came as a real bolt from the blue.  Who were those impossibly young people?  What did they imagine their lives held in store?

When these pictures were taken, we lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, on the same street -- Harper Avenue -- a block apart.  I lived in a comparatively large first floor studio that cost $300 a month.  My dad built a large bookcase that I used to divide the room into a sleeping half and a living room half.  The future husband lived in a tiny studio with a Murphy bed.  I believe his kitchen was basically a closet.  There was a little shopping center, Harper Court, in between our apartment buildings.  When I remember Harper Court as it was then, it was something of a marvel.  This was before chain stores flooded the neighborhood.  Harper Court had, among other things, a fabulous independent toy store, just perfect in every way, a Danish furniture store, a florist, and an artists' co-op with work by local artists.  There were checkerboard benches in the center of the square where old men played chess on sunny days.  The pictures were taken in a wonderful Japanese restaurant in Harper Court that was the first place I ever saw with a sushi bar.  They also served very tasty tempura and salmon teriyaki, but the biggest treat was the red bean ice cream that they flew in from Japan.  

Sadly, the restaurant no longer exists.  And really, neither do these two impossibly young people.  After thirty years, of course we're older (with more girth and less hair) and, one hopes, a bit wiser.  Less dewy-eyed, with perhaps fewer dreams.  The people we've become, though, are okay too -- even if we no longer know where to find red bean ice cream.