Tabbouleh with Persimmons and Almonds and a Knife Giveaway

EDIT: Due to an error with my server, the original version of this post along with all of your comments disappeared!  Talk about bad timing!!  The only choice I have is to start from the beginning and ask you to please leave a new comment if you wish to enter the the contest for the knife giveaway.  All the same rules apply, but I am extending the deadline to allow everyone to catch up to the new development!  Thank you, and sorry for the last minute change!

Remember those gorgeous knives from New West KnifeWorks that I gave away last September?  It’s happening again!  But this time, I have the pleasure of giving away a beautiful 9-inch Chef’s Knife from their Phoenix Line.  And although I’m not keeping it, I just had to test this baby out before giving it away to one of you lucky, lucky people.

One of my favorite things to do with a chef’s knife is to chop fresh herbs.  To me, it’s very relaxing and satisfying to attack a huge pile of leafy parsley and end up with a much smaller pile of finely chopped herbs.  And what better way to get a feel for this knife than some nice, soothing, rhythmic chopping.

This knife is a pleasure to use.  Although it’s a pretty big knife, I was surprised at how light and well-balanced it is.  The blade is nice and thin but not flimsy by any means.  I didn’t chop any onions today, but I know that this blade would be perfect for the job.  In fact, like a good chef’s knife should be, this knife feels like it would be up for just about any task in the kitchen.

As you can see, it fits in my hand perfectly, and the handle is very comfortable.

And it’s just as comfortable when I choke up on the handle and grasp the blade between my thumb and forefinger, which is my usual knife grip for chopping.  I made it through a pile of parsley and a pile of mint in no time and was ready for more!

From the title of this post, I’m assuming you already know why I was chopping all those herbs!  In addition to testing out the knife, I also planned on making some tabbouleh today.  But since it’s fall, I decided to try substituting persimmons for the usual tomatoes.  So I peeled a couple of persimmons (using a peeler, not the chef’s knife) and chopped those up, too!

Another flawless performance from The Nine.  I want this knife.  But I guess it probably wouldn’t be right for me to enter my own contest, right?

Now let me tell you a bit more about my Tabbouleh with a Twist, and at the end of the recipe, I’ll fill you in on how this knife giveaway is going to work!

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad made of bulgar wheat, chopped herbs, spices, tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil.  I’m sure there are many variations, but the versions I’ve tasted have all seemed pretty standard.  I’ve never actually made tabbouleh myself, which is strange considering how much I love to eat it!

Well my version today isn’t exactly traditional.  I’m using whole wheat couscous in place of bulgar because that’s what I had in my pantry and because it’s quicker to prepare.  I’m also adding sweet persimmons in place of the tomatoes, which take the salad in a completely new direction.

Although I kept the lemon juice and herbs (lots of fresh chopped parsley and mint) in the recipe, I decided to add orange zest, almonds and a dash of cinnamon to complement the persimmons.  It might sound a little strange, but it really does work.  I just ate a huge bowl of it for lunch and it was delicious!

In addition to tasting great, the dish turned out to be beautiful!  The orange persimmons and green herbs turn an ordinary plate of couscous into a gorgeous side dish for your Autumn table.

And perhaps the best part about this salad is that it’s both delicious and super healthy!  Whole grains, tons of fresh herbs, fresh fruit, nuts, and olive oil?  Your body will love you for it!

Tabbouleh with Persimmons and Almonds

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
Juice from one lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
dash of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring 3/4 cup of water to boil.  Add couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat.  Allow to sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Put couscous in a large mixing bowl, add lemon juice and olive oil, and stir to combine.  Allow to cool while you chop the herbs and fruit.
3. Stir in chopped herbs, orange zest, persimmons, and almonds. Mix well then add a dash of cinnamon, and salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield: four servings

Recipe notes: Tabbouleh is traditionally made with bulgar wheat, feel free to substitute an equal amount of bulgar but allow to steam for 20 minutes (or follow package directions).  Toast the almonds in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir constantly and remove from pan when lightly browned (only takes a few minutes). If you are new to using persimmons, please read my earlier post where I explain the difference between fuyu and hachiya persimmons.  You really want to make sure you use the correct type!

Now although I’m sure you’re happy to have yet another recipe from me this month (I think this is number 17), I know why you’re still reading this.  You’re hoping to win the gorgeous knife from New West Knife Works! So without further ado, here’s how this is going to work.

All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me your favorite thing to eat during the holidays.  I don’t care what holiday you want to discuss, just tell me one thing you look forward to eating each year.  That’s it!  The winner of the knife will be chosen using a random number generator, so you aren’t being judged on your answers.  I’m just curious about what you like to eat!

The rules:  Only one comment per person is allowed.  Don’t try using several different false names, because I have ways of figuring it out. 😉  Last time there were a few of you who had problems leaving a comment.  If for some reason this happens, please e-mail me at pinchmysalt (at) gmail.com with your holiday food answer and I will add the comment for you.  Any other questions, please e-mail me.

EDIT:  In order to enter the knife giveaway, you need to leave your comment on this post by Friday, Nov. 21 at 5pm PST.  I’ll announce the winner on Saturday morning.  Good luck!

Now I want to extend a big thank you to New West KnifeWorks for sending me another knife to give away.  I have been extremely impressed with the quality of their products and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.  If you haven’t already, go check them out for yourself!

EDIT: The contest has now ended.  Comments were closed on Friday, Nov. 21 at 5pm (pst)

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262 Comments
  1. Claudia

    so I think of things like foie gras and truffles and the stuff that I’d never really have during the year because it’s so decadent…
    actually, I think of these things a lot
    as in too much

    12:24 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  2. Christopher

    It’s a toss up for me between sweet potato casserole (walnuts and marshmallow style) and stuffing. I would love to see something incorporate the two, since I will usually just mix the two anyway…

    12:28 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  3. Elizabeth

    Along with the requisite favorite holiday food which is the Cranberry Upside
    Down Cake. Also have to mention another favorite…steamed, cubed rutabaga
    with butter, salt and pepper.

    12:41 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  4. Ingrid

    Hi, I’m originally from Austria and like to eat Vanilla Crescents at Christmas. They are my and my family’s favourite Christmas biscuits.

    12:51 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  5. Sara

    I look forward to eating tea time tassies which are little pastry cups of a walnut and brown sugar filling that we only make at Christmas.

    12:59 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  6. A.D.

    My fave thing for T-giving is my sister’s homemade cornbread dressing, made with homemade cornbread and chicken stock, and her giblet gravy. To die for!

    1:21 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  7. Carrie Oliver

    Hello! Gosh, last time I was number 5 or 6, guess I didn’t come back fast enough 🙂

    My favorite holiday meal: Dungeness crab with squeezed lemon, super high quality sourdough bread buttered and then toasted, Marcella Hazen’s pasta with smothered onion sauce, bottle of bubbly. A perfect Christmas or New Year’s dinner.

    3:00 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
  8. Aaron

    Sounds like a great recipe and I could use a great knife. All of mine are from the combo packs at the stores. My Favorite holiday food is my Mom’s stuffing, which is actually more a dressing I guess. A 9×13 pan of that cooking is the BEST, especially as cold left overs.

    4:10 pm  Nov 21st, 2008
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