Just think of all that you can do with a head of cauliflower. Its sturdy texture gives it enough umph to be turned into a steak. Puree it, add some liquid, and you'd think you had mashed potatoes. Pulse it in the processor and you may notice that it looks more like cous cous than long grain. If we have cous cous, than we can make tabbouleh.
Go grab the grape leaves. This Middle Eastern staple salad, traditionally made with bulgur, is loaded with fresh herbs, citrus, and the wonder-spice za'atar. Za'atar is a blend made with sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and sometimes thyme or basil. In the summer months, try this recipe the more traditional way with tomatoes and cucumbers. In the winter months, go with dried fruits and maybe even (pine) nuts. Try a mixture of dried fruits like apricots, figs, or currants. Preserved lemons would also be a great addition.
adapted from Aaron Chambers' recipe
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small shallot
1 lemon, zested with a microplane and juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
2 tsp za'atar
5 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsps each chopped cilantro, parsley, mint
Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the consistency of cous cous. Something like this:
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and cook the shallot and garlic until translucent. Add the cauliflower and cook for several minutes until it has softened and lost its pungent, raw odor. Add more oil, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl combine the raisins and lemon zest. Add the cauliflower mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Fold in the fresh herbs.
In a small bowl whisk the juice of half the lemon, the za'atar, and the remaining olive oil. Pour this over the cauliflower mixture and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chill the tabbouleh in the refrigerator for several hours before serving to let the flavors meld. Fluff with a fork and serve alongside fish or lamb.