Episode001 - Chocolate, Cheese and Tabbouleh, Please

From Egypt to Lebanon, to Italy and France, this mother daughter duo can’t imagine eating anything less than a mosaic of ingredients from their world travels and multicultural heritage. Gretchen Clardy and her mother Paola Durant chat with me over their treasured stash Milano cookies, Belgian chocolates and Italian espresso - the trifecta of happiness. Do you ever meet someone who lives not only in your community but also in your orbit? The first time Gretchen introduced me to her mom was on a requested tour of the top 3 international markets in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can’t get enough of our international markets, so I happily obliged guiding their family on my own “tour des supermarchés” one summer. Paola and Gretchen filled their carts in each market while our kids bopped around familiar goods with unfamiliar names. It was a lovely day.

Paola’s pantry must-have: Bulgur Wheat
Gretchen’s pantry must-have: Za’atar and Sumac (seasonings)

Gretchen’s Wine With Me Wine Tasting Services:
Facebook: @winewithmeorg

Paola and Gretchen - Cheers to good friends!

Paola and Gretchen - Cheers to good friends!

Snaccident  inducing milano cookies and gorgeous belgian chocolates

Snaccident inducing milano cookies and gorgeous belgian chocolates

Paola’s Tabbouleh Recipe

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-5 bunches of curly parsley finely chopped (discard stems)
-2 cups of fine sized ‘Borghol’ (bulgur) wheat, soaked in water with
the juice of a lemon until it doubles in size (about an hour).
-Two lemons squeezed into the parsley and Borghol. 
-5 big juicy red tomatoes diced.
-1 bunch of green onions, cut up (use the whole stalk too but remove the ‘beard’ from the onion itself)
-Extra virgin olive oil and salt (sea salt preferred)
-Dash of cinnamon
-Mint leaves chopped up

I start by mixing the top two ingredients with my hands. Then I add olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Every time I add an ingredient I add olive oil, salt and lemon juice. 
The taste should be not too lemony (although it is preferred by the lebanese) and not too oily. It should not make you ‘wince’ in pain from the sourness of the lemon. Add salt, lemon, oil as you keep on tasting it. Garnish with whole lettuce leaves and eat it with those! It will keep for 48 hours in the refrigerator.