Amazing One Pot Tabbouleh Bread and Part 11May 14, 2012 at 5:23 am | Posted in BBD, Breads, Healthy, Middle Eastern, Salads, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting | 88 Comments
Tags: baking, Bread, Bulgur Wheat, Cucumbers, Feta Cheese, First Love, Jacques Pepin, Lemon, Mint, Olive Oil, One Pot Bread, Parsley, Tabbouleh, Tomatoes, Yeast
I’d like to preface this post to thank everyone for all the thoughtful, sweet comments and emails about my situation. You’re all the best.
Back in 2009, I watched Jacques Pepin mix, proof and bake a bread in one pot on one of his shows on Create TV, which I recorded and saved on DVR. I idolize the man, I think he’s an absolute demigod in the kitchen. Most everything I learned, in a high-end, culinary sense, is from him and he has been an incredible inspiration to me since the age of 13. I will get more into detail about what I learned from him and how he changed my life when it came to cooking, in another post, one most likely dedicated to him..with one of his amazing creations.
So, again, on that day in 2009, I watched him mix, proof and bake a bread in a non-stick pot. I knew I had to try it, it was too easy. I wasn’t sure the bread would turn out as crusty, with an artisan like crumb, as it looked, because it went against everything I’ve learned about artisan bread baking over the years, plus it was made using commercial yeast.
Well..here we are in 2012, and I finally got around to making it. I was wrong, this bread is as close as you can get to a wild yeast like bread. without a starter or sponge. I think it has a lot to do with the overnight – 10-14 hour – rise in the refrigerator, or maybe it’s just Jacques Pepin magic?
Once I made the bread plain…and loved it, I knew I had to play with this blank canvas of crusty, lovely crumbed, perfection. The possibilities were infinite. I could just add cheese and it would be wonderful, as one person in a forum about this bread, did, but I was feeling more ambitious. After eating some tabbouleh one night for dinner, it hit me – why not a tabbouleh bread? All the flavors of tabbouleh in this wonderful loaf, including the bulgur wheat..but would it work? Would the soaked wheat be too heavy for a decent rise?
I wasn’t taking any chances. After deciding not to add my homemade tabbouleh to the bread batter, since cucumbers and tomatoes could make it really soggy and also affect the rise, I decided to add just the bulgur wheat, herbs, lemon zest, green onions, and leave out the cucumbers to serve along with the bread. I felt tiny grape tomatoes would make a great topping, especially once I decided to create a design on top with the mint and parsley – the tomatoes being the fruit growing on the branches of my little trees, stems, bushes, or whatever you want to call them. Let’s just call it free-form.
Not only did the bread turn out, but it.is.incredible, and, it tastes like tabbouleh. The bulgur wheat adds chewiness to the crumb and also binds it so you can use it as a sandwich bread. When it’s plain, it’s more of a ‘rip off a hunk’ type bread than a sandwich bread, which is not a bad thing, but this little discovery with the bulgur wheat made me giddy, and of course I had to make a sandwich, pictured further down..
Oh, did I mention the crust? I think I did briefly, but please let me ooh and ahh over it for another second. It’s crisp, crunchy, and flaky, like a bread baked in a steam oven on a stone. I do think it’s magic, because, how do you get such an amazing crust from a batter bread.. mixed, proofed, and baked in a non-stick pot?
That being said, the decorative topping adds a nice texture too…a light crispy bite jam-packed with herbaceous flavor (that sounded so Grateful Dead, didn’t it?) complimented by the roasted tomatoes – a sweet, slightly juicy, concentrated punch, both enhancing the already perfect crust.
OK, a slight caveat..there is one thing you must have to make this bread..a 3-quart non-stick saucepan like THIS, or THIS or, for more money, THIS, to make the magic work. People have tried mixing the dough in bowls then baking it in loaf pans, and all kinds of methods to get this bread as it should be, but although they may get something ok, it will not be this bread. The whole point is everything being done in one non-stick pot..so not using it kind of defeats the purpose, not to mention, the amazing crust!
I know..it sucks to have to buy something for one use, but, you can cook in it too, so technically, it’s not a ‘one use’ item. However, trust me when I say you will be making this bread at least once a week, whether it be plain or with additions, because it’s simple, wonderful and convenient. Mix it up at 2 am if you like..as long as it gets the 1 to 1 1/2 hour room temperature rise and the 10-14 hour refrigerator proof, you’re golden.
I changed the basic recipe just a bit for my tabbouleh bread..using a whole packet (2 1/4 teaspoons – .25 oz) of yeast to insure a good rise with the bulgur wheat, and increasing the salt. You can also play around with the recipe..maybe using bread flour or decreasing the water, etc, but I think it’s pretty perfect as is. Be creative, add whatever you want to his basic recipe, sweet or savory. As I mentioned above, the possibilities are endless! My next ‘endeavor’ will probably be baby spinach leaves and gruyere.
‘One Pot’ Tabbouleh Bread
Adapted from and Inspired by Jacques Pepin’s One Pot Bread Recipe, with my revisions.
2 1/4 cups tepid water
3-4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package Active Dry Yeast – .25 oz
4 cups AP Flour
1/3 cup bulgur wheat (fine to medium grain)
1/3 cup boiling or very hot water
I very large handful parsley leaves
1 small to medium handful mint leaves
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1 lemon, zested..then juiced for olive oil dip
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fresh black pepper
grape or teardrop tomatoes
3 or 4 chives (optional for ‘stems, if making design)
1. Boil water, then add bulgur wheat. Let soak abut 20-25 minutes, until the wheat has absorbed all or most of the water.
2. Coarsley chop the parsley leaves with the mint leaves. I chopped mine too fine..you can barely see them in the bread. This is for aesthetic purposes only, so it’s really ok if you chop them finely.
3. Pour the tepid water into the pot. Add the kosher salt, yeast, and flour.
4. When you start to mix the bread batter, stir in the bulgur wheat (if any water remains, strain it out), lemon zest, parsley, mint, and thinly sliced green onions. Mix thoroughly. Cover and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, at room temperature.
5. After room temperature rising, lift off cover and stir down the risen dough. Cover again, tightly, and place in the refrigerator overnight 10-14 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 450F. Remove risen bread dough in pot from refrigerator. Top with grape tomatoes (keep whole if very small, slice in half if not that small), parsley leaves (no thick stems), mint leaves, and strips of scallion or chives (for stems if you want to make a pretty design).
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes (40 was perfect for me).
7. Combine the cup of olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper, then add some lemon slices to it. Dip slices of the bread in the lemon olive oil, if desired. Serve with sliced cucumbers and more tomatoes or make that awesome sandwich above – or eat it/serve it any way you want – it’s amazing without any of the above.
Once again, it’s my Bad Boy First Love memories/memoir/whatever. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, and Part Ten is HERE.
The rest of that summer was phenomenal – and every moment with him was electric – my legs still turned to JELLO every time he looked into my eyes.
He would occasionally tease me, calling me ‘little girl’, ‘kiddo’ or ‘half-pint’, the latter always met with a “Yes, Pa?” I had to know..so I asked..
“Did you watch Little House on the Prairie as a kid?”
He tried to keep a straight face “Naah, a baby sitter made us watch reruns of it – I played with my toy trucks”
My friends had to leave a week before Labor Day Weekend, (I knew this before we even rented the place, but I wanted to stay through Labor Day in hopes I’d reconnect with Dreamboat and have that extra week), so I had the place to myself. However, there were two casual friends from school that came down and one stayed with me for 2 nights, plus two close friends were staying in Ortley Beach, not to mention the local girls, so I was never alone.
That said, I did relish some ‘alone’ times late in the day or early evening, and I would separate from whomever I was hanging with, for a bit, just to take a walk to the pier to see him, always picking up a Sunkist soda and a bag of Doritos – his favorite mid-work snack. There were always girls there..watching…waiting. I got used to hearing..
“Damn, he has a girlfriend” or “#$%^! He has a girlfriend”
..when they would see him pop out of the booth to hug and kiss me, or take a break to go for a walk with me. I also had a few remarks thrown my way, but I don’t think it’s possible to clean them up for this blog. Let’s just say ‘bitch’ was a mild one. Some girls can be very evil when they want something bad enough. They never said anything when he was near me, and I never told him. There was no need to, my happiness being with him made those remarks disappear into thin air.
Of course, once my friends left..there were the slumber parties with Dreamboat. I finally Rumbaed- two days before I was leaving. I had already chosen him as my dance partner weeks before, and there was no one else I wanted that first dance with. There were many firsts that summer..first love, first Rumba, first time on an upside-down ride (with Dreamboat’s arms wrapped around me, but I still hated it..we’re meant to be right side up), and loads of brand new experiences, emotions and feelings I could fill a page with – but I won’t. It had been the best summer of my young life.
When Labor Day Weekend passed, it was time for me to head home. He would be home in two weeks. I cried anyway, because two weeks seemed like an eternity – but, at least I was going to see him again. I was getting a ride a home with the friends staying in Ortley Beach. but then I canceled….wanting to stay until the last possible minute so I could spend one more night with Dreamboat.
I was really pushing it, since school was starting the next day. I had already packed up and dropped my stuff off at the local girl’s house, for my last night with him.
I remember their Mother, who was from Germany, making us schnitzel for dinner that night, before Dreamboat picked me up. It was the best schnitzel I ever had – to this day
My parents had their number if they needed to get in touch with me. You better believe they used it when I wasn’t home by midnight.
When Dreamboat dropped me off – smack dab in the middle of a teary, passionate, goodbye kiss..I heard my father’s voice. Uh oh. I looked up, and saw my parent’s car in their driveway.
Deja ‘effin vu.
It was 3:30am. They had spoken to the girl’s Mother when they called looking for me..and although she was a very cool woman, she told them the truth – I hadn’t left for home yet, I was out with my boyfriend.
My father didn’t have to say a word, I knew I messed up again. I obediently got out of the car and just kind of stood there. The local girls and their Mom had already helped my parents pack up the car with my stuff, so they were outside witnessing the melee. Their Mom, in her cute German accent, felt terrible..I did too.
“If I had known she did not have a ride home, I vood have happily driven her”
Dreamboat was still there..window down, with an amused look on his face. I couldn’t blame him, everyone was talking at once. I just stood there like the village idiot, a goofy smile on my face as I watched him watching everyone talking about what I did. I snuck over to him one more time for a quick kiss. He said he would have driven me home. – we would have left right after he got off work..why didn’t I ask?
You see, I had planned on calling my parents the next morning, claiming I fell asleep and missed my ride, then going in late to school. I told no one this.
My father’s voice boomed before I could answer him..
“Let’s GO, get in the car, NOW!”
I guess this wasn’t a good time to introduce them to Dreamboat.
I gave him another kiss, told him I’d explain when he called, and ran to the car. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t upset..I was too damn happy for any of those emotions.
This time, the ride home was pleasurable. Don’t get me wrong – my parents were tearing into me like a Thanksgiving turkey, but I was smiling, my eyes closed..head back against the seat, reliving every moment with him. Their angry voices berating me were distant whispers in my ‘Dreamboat’ state. I briefly broke out of my zone to apologize sweetly over and over, then dove back in.
My father wondered if he had picked up the wrong daughter.
Yes, what I did was pretty selfish, but I was a teenager in love. Teenagers, in general, do stupid, selfish things, usually without thinking about the consequences to others, but teenagers in love can take it a step further.
I knew everything was going to OK when my father started extolling the virtues of cruise control.
I made it on time to my first day of senior year, sleepless and in the same clothes I wore the night before. There was no time to do laundry and it was too hot for Fall and Winter wear – BUT, like I’ve mentioned in earlier parts..I could still smell him on my clothes, so I didn’t mind – gross or not.
He called that night, when he got off work..
“How was your first day of your SECOND Senior Year?”
This had already become ‘our’ joke, or his joke, rather.
Two weeks later, the first Friday night, there was the Beetle, parked in front of my house..with a beep. I flew down the stairs, into the car and into his arms. We were so into each other, it was almost disgusting..well..to other people, I’m sure.
We spent the whole night mushing it up on a lookout on the Palisades. The Hudson and East Rivers were our new Barnegat Bay and Atlantic Ocean. However, if I fell and cut myself again, I wasn’t walking into either. There was no way he could convince me that floating bodies, oily gunk and garbage was good for wounds.
The next night, he took me to his town, since one of his friends had just gotten engaged, and he wanted to see and congratulate him.
When we got there, after a 40 minute drive, I couldn’t believe how inner-city like and almost sinister it was. The streets were narrow and dark, most off of a well-lit avenue – well-lit except for several neon letters not working on most of the shops, bars, etc. There was a lot of graffiti too. He lived on a steep hill where the houses were so close together, you could hear a person next door burp.
The initial engagement celebration was in a parking lot with a huge ledge to sit on. The guys were tough, the girls were tough..I was completely intimidated, but mesmerized at the same time. This was a complete culture shock for me. Some of these guys were baby Sopranos in the making, but not guidos, just really tough guys. Now I understood where Dreamboat got his grit.
“Yo, D..’bout time ya got here!” *loud slapping handshake with extremely hard back pats*
This went on with every guy there, with an introduction to geeky me, in between each one. A kiss on the cheek from every one of them – like they’d known me forever.
“Nice to meet ya, sweetheart – heard a lot about ‘cha” Hmm…I guess sweetheart was just something he grew up with – not just maturity.
I don’t think I said more than 10 words the first half hour we were with his friends. I’d never felt so scared, overpowered, dorky, and shy – all at once. I clung to Dreamboat like velcro. I couldn’t help thinking how uncool I was compared to these people – they were all self-assured, loud, rambunctious and again..tough. Any of the girls could have taken me down easily, simply because I could tell not a lot of things scared them. There was no witty repartee going on here – just pure, ruffian, good-natured, ribbing.
Brush the inside of both slices with the lemon olive oil, then layer butter lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese and cucumbers. I really like feta cheese – can you tell?
A very pretty, petite girl, with long, wavy, dark hair, came up to me. With all the introductions, I couldn’t remember who was who, but suddenly recalled she was the bride-to-be. She had a high, sweet voice, like the the C key on a piano, but it was peppered with that tough accent Dreamboat and his friends had. It didn’t fit. Regardless, we started talking, and soon I was at ease. She reintroduced me to her fiance when he came over to us, who wasn’t just Dreamboat’s friend, but his best friend. His name was Jimmy, but everyone called him Coco because when they were kids, they teased him, singing Jimmy, Jimmy Coco Puff, since Jimmy rhymed with shimmy.
A lot of these guys, and some of the girls, had nicknames, except for Dreamboat..or at least I hadn’t heard one yet.
The bride-to-be was also named Lisa, and I clicked with her almost immediately – but I also wondered if I could ever really fit into this part of his life. This was a whole new Dreamboat, a whole new part of him I hadn’t gotten to know yet. It was a strange feeling..an amalgamation of unease and a voracious excitement of what was to come. I was completely overwhelmed by the atmosphere, the people, and the nicknames I couldn’t keep straight;
Tony aka Cannelloni – his last name sounded similar, but with different consonants
Mike aka Mitts – Had a fantastic glove when they played softball
Kevin aka Kooky – He was kooky
Tina aka Tuna – They just thought it was funny to call her Tuna, swapping the i with a u
..and many more. They were coming at me from all directions – a blur of nicknames and really fast talking.
Suddenly, I needed to be alone with him in the worst way.
Well..I guess there will be a Part 12, but, 12 is a lucky number, right? Once I started writing this memory, I knew the finale wasn’t going to make it in. Stay tuned!