Chef Jon Koobation’s Cracked Wheat and Kale Salad

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This Cracked Wheat and Kale Salad recipe from award-winning chef Jon Koobation is a healthy twist on traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh, using fresh kale instead of the parsley. “The addition of dried fruit and Feta cheese gives this salad a sweet, tart and salty element. The salad can be adjusted to the fresh ingredients available from your garden, such as tomatoes, peppers, squash or cucumbers,” Jon says. “Kale is far more milder than parsley so the taste is more palatable for many people. This is a different way to try your favorite tabbouleh recipe using kale instead of parsley, which can often be slightly bitter. When you chop kale finely, it looks just like parsley. And you won’t believe how unbelievably similar it is in taste and texture.”

The recipe is featured in Cooking With Jon, the engaging collection of many of Jon’s favorite signature recipes and highlights about his vast culinary and professional history. Cooking With Jon is more than just a cookbook – it is a walk down memory lane for Jon about his life growing up in the San Joaquin Valley – interspersed among the recipes are these interesting stories. Stories of how he came to be a chef, of his love for racing, what it was like going from just being the chef to owning his own restaurant, and his lifetime love of food and entertaining. “Cooking has been my passion in life. It has filled my life with joy,” shares Jon in the book.

Born in Dinuba, Jon was the owner and head chef at Jon’s Bear Club for several decades before retiring in 2013. He served as a prep cook and sous chef at several Lake Tahoe-area restaurants before returning home to the San Joaquin Valley. He worked at the famed Vallis’ Restaurant in Kingsburg, the Redwood Inn of Sultana, Dinuba Ranch and the Swedish Mill, and became the Bear Club’s executive chef in 1973.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup medium cracked wheat (bulgur)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

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1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup dried fruit: raisins, dates, cranberries, cherries, diced apricots, or combined

2 large green onions, thinly slice

3 or 4 cups rough cut baby kale or a blend of baby kale and arugula

3 or 4 lemons, zest and juice, to taste

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Serves 4.

 

Preparation:

Place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with warm water, toss with a fork, and leave to absorb for 30-45 minutes. Squeeze water out of the bulgur in handfuls to eliminate all the liquid.  Add the remaining ingredients to the bulgur, and mix with a fork to combine.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, checking lemon flavor and seasoning to taste.

Hint: A drizzle of fine olive oil on the top of the salad at the time of service will enhance the flavor.

Note: While any type of kale will work for the recipe, curly green kale is best. That’s because it most resembles curly parsley, which is traditionally used in the recipe.

Cooking With Jon is a collection of some of his favorite recipes through the years, and the favorites of many of his patrons at Jon’s Bear Club before he retired. Also included are wonderful photos to go with the recipes — photos that make you feel like you could just reach down and pick up the delicious food. Recipes include: Charred Asparagus Roll-Ups, New York Steak, Lobster Bisque, Tortilla Crusted Salmon, Shish Kebab, Meyer Lemon Homemade Ice Cream, and how to make your own kettle corn at home.

ORDER TODAY: Jon is the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award in the California Restaurant Association’s “Best of the Valley” awards. Contact Jon at chefjonkoobation@gmail.com to order his book and for a personally signed copy. Jon’s book is also available for sale at The Market Grocery Store and at Sam’s Deli & Cucina in Fresno. Or order his book directly at Amazon Books at https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-JON-Jon-Koobation/dp/0692769315

 

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