Hot muggy weather and people are swearing that this summer has been the worst ever; as a result, the streets of Beirut are deserted on the weekend, with Beirutis fleeing en masse to the beach or the mountains for a brief respite. Well I am happy I get to drive in the city when it has been vacated.
A chilled soup; the roasted green wheat or freekeh is an huber-nutritious grain, actually smoked wheat, once very popular in Lebanon until it was replaced by white rice; freekeh is experiencing a revival due to its delicious smoky taste and its amazing nutritional benefits (lots of iron and minerals).
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes
- water, with a dash of salt and pepper .
- cut up cucumbers, green peppers, chili pepper
- dash of red pepper paste
- one small onion
- one cup of chopped cilantro
- juice of a lemon
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2 cups of cooked freekeh
- Peel and cut the tomatoes and place in a blender (one half at a time).
- Peel and cut the onion and place in the blender; add the cilantro.
- Add some water (about one and a half cup), lemon juice, olive oil, salt, red pepper paste and process to get a smooth but still a bit chunky texture; taste for seasoning. Add the freekeh, mix and serve.
To cook the freekeh:
- Soak in water for one hour or longer; drain and make sure no dirt remains or small pebbles. Rinse several times.
- Bring double the volume of freekeh to a boil with a dash of salt, add the freekeh and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the grains are soft. With a spatula, clean off all the froth that will come up on the surface. Serve.
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