Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recipes from Fish Camp: Tabbuli

I mentioned before that I was going to post on the blog some of the most popular recipes from fish camp. In case you're wondering, "what's fish camp?," it's a week spent up North somewhere (this year, South Manistique Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula) with the extended family. Of course we fish (and eat the fish if they bite), but we also see the sights, hike and bike and walk and run, swim and sunbathe, play cards and chew the fat, and do lots of reading. (This is a given; almost every child in our family is born with a book in his or her hand; this summer my cousin's five-year-old ran out of his cabin naked except for the book he wanted to share with us.)

And, of course, we EAT. This year we had 26 people at camp, so that requires a lot of coordinating and cooking to make sure we have enough food for everyone. We take turns chipping in dishes for the evening meal, and have quite a spread. This recipe came from my Aunt Carole and was quickly devoured, nom nom nom nom. Was it because it was the end of the week and we were starved for something healthy after eating so many "homestyle" treats? I think it was just because this was extremely tasty.

Carole writes: "I'm fairly precise when measuring out the bulgur wheat, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices, but much less precise with the green onions, parsley, mint, tomatoes and garbanzos—sort of depends on the mood I'm in and how much of each ingredient I have on hand."


1 cup bulgur wheat*
1 cup water
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon each salt and ground allspice
1 cup chopped green onions (including tops)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup cooked garbanzo beans
2 tomatoes, finely diced

Bring bulgur wheat and water to a boil in a covered pan. Immediately reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed; bulgur should still be crunchy. Turn bulgur into a bowl and mix in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and allspice. Cool.

Add onions, mint, parsley, garbanzos, and tomatoes. Mix together lightly. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until next day.

Makes six servings. Per serving: 11 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 363 calories.

Adapted from Sunset Menus and Recipes for Vegetarian Cooking by the Editors of Sunset Books and Magazine, October 1981, page 20.

*Bulgur wheat is sometimes stocked with other whole grain products; you can usually find it at Whole Foods. Or buy Near East brand tabbuli mix, use the bulgur wheat portion and ditch their spices in favor of fresh ones.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


To get this title of this post, you have to picture me running around, my hands in the air, hair spontaneously combusting from all the work my brain gears are doing, and that will also give you an idea why my blog postings have been so infrequent over the past few weeks.

It's been my "vacation" time, you see. I finished my last assignment on July 8, writing furiously to the end, and then scheduled some "down time" before my next assignment was due (Sept. 3). That way I could devote my full attention to an upcoming conference and sending out some submissions to agents/editors, yadda yadda yadda. I would have six glorious weeks without worrying about due dates! And this is how I have spent them:

July 12-16: Catch up on at least two months' of updates for the website I administer; correspond with all my relatives to plan our camping menus; shop, do laundry, pack, and otherwise prepare for camp. Write a couple of blog entries to post the week I'm gone.

July 17-23: Go to camp up north! It's awesome, I have fun, I hike and bike and read and sleep and cook and eat and swim and hang out with my family. I do nothing remotely resembling work, because I have no internet access anyway. I promise I will get the recipes everybody liked and post them on my blog. Some day.

July 24-28: A couple of days to recover from camp—catch up on laundry, shopping, mail—and then a couple of days to prepare for the SCBWI conference. This involves double-checking my travel plans, installing software on my new little netbook (I will be writing in a workshop), getting supplies and making wings for the costume ball I'll be attending, making sure everything is arranged for my absence, blah blah blah. I manage to write one blog entry to post while I'm gone, but I figure I'll post on some of the exciting things from the conference while I'm there.

July 29-August 3: spend a day traveling to LA for the conference, arrive late with just enough time to have dinner and shop for lunches. Have four straight days of keynotes and workshops and classes that run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, with an hour break for lunch if I'm lucky. Attend events or try to network or write my workshop homework during the evenings. Fall into bed exhausted with barely enough energy to check my e-mail—I'll blog the good stuff later. Then, instead of arriving home after the red-eye, spend 7 hours in Chicago's O'Hell airport when my connecting flight is cancelled.

August 4: sleep.

August 5-6: watch over Boy, who gets his wisdom teeth out, and make treats like his favorite soup and pudding. Finish up last homework for conference workshop and send to editor. Prepare application for local conference in October, hopefully in time to score breakout workshop I want. Stock up on mushy goodies for Boy to enjoy over the weekend.

August 7-8: go with neglected husband for weekend at Stratford Festival. Enjoy two plays and riverside gardens, but do no blogging.

August 9: Crap. Deadline to submit photo requests for September article. Realize I need to start working on it.

Today: Wonder, where did all my free time go? Did I actually get anything done over the last month, because my "to-do" list looks unchanged. Look for fire extinguisher for hair.

So I promise, over the next few weeks I will try to have some postings of great family recipes from camp, great things I learned at the conference, along with my usual features. Once I get my brain under control, that is.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo of the Week--8/9/10

Yes, occasionally I relent and give over the camera to someone else. And this isn't a half-bad picture of me, standing in front of some of the beautiful architecture you can find in Quebec City. We went to Quebec in the summer of 2003 to visit some Canadian friends we made in England, and had a lovely week in Quebec City, Montreal, and the surrounding countryside. We went white-water rafting for the first time, and enjoyed the Old-World style of these New-World cities. Unfortunately Boy had not yet started studying French, but we did our best not to butcher the French names.