Sunday, January 25, 2015

Couscous and Chick Pea Salad

This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant’s “Simple Suppers”. I use whole wheat couscous instead of ‘regular’ - couscous is the only grain product that tastes exactly the same to me in both versions.

Since all you need is 10 minutes, boiling water, and a bowl, couscous is definitely the easiest whole grain starch to prepare. The chickpeas in this dish add protein, which is the best appetite suppressant, and the oil will give you energy for hours. Adding generous amounts of chopped greens like parsley or mint will help boost your iron (and vitamin C) intake to increase strength and energy.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (from a health food store)
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 lemon or 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tablespoons or more olive oil
  • 1¼ cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • black olives, pitted and cut in half- e.g. Kalamata (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint (optional)

The amounts of these ingredients can be increased or decreased as you like- this recipe works well with many variations.

Put couscous and salt in a bowl, pour boiling water over it, cover, sit 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and break up lumps.

Grate lemon peel, juice lemon, and mix with oil. Toss with couscous. Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and salt to taste. Add more oil and lemon if desired.

Serve immediately, or store in fridge for flavors to deepen. Preferably take it out of the fridge an hour before serving to come to room temperature.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Salad

This salad is so tasty, a great side dish for grilled meats or as a first course. Spread it on sliced bread.  On it's own our spread chevre cheese on the bread followed by the peppers. Whichever way you use it, it'll be unique and delicious!
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup fine-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Serves up to 6 people.

Here you go ...

Preheat broiler. Broil the peppers, turning them frequently, until the skin has blackened on all sides. Spread the peppers on a baking sheet so they can cool to room temperature.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut them from top to bottom. Scrape away  the seeds from the insides, then turn each half over scrape away the charred skin. Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Put them into a bowl.  To the bowl add oil, raisins, nuts, parsley and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Most Amazing Tomato Salad!

This tomato salad should only be made during the tomato season, it is a crowd pleaser, enjoyed by adults and teenagers alike!!  You may double it if you wish. Enjoy!
  • 6 to 8 in-season tomatoes, washed, cored and cut into anyway you like them.
  • about 1/2 cup fine-quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into slivers
  • 4 or to your taste, garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • sea salt to taste, Maldon Sea salt is great!
  • 1/2  or more teaspoon dried oregano
Serves 6.

To tomatoes add oil and vinegar, then onions, garlic and basil. Spoon onto a serving plate,
sprinkle with oregano, add the salt, mix, add more oregano and basil and if you want, more salt.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Chicken Tagine with Olives, Almonds, and Yellow Raisins

Use a tagine to cook this dish, which is a shallow clay pot with a tightly fitting conical lid, that very efficiently captures steam, which drips back down into the dish. If you have a tagine, you will not need to add any liquid- the liquid from the onions, lemons, and chicken will form a delicious sauce. If you use another kind of pot, it should be heavy, with a tight fitting lid.
  • 4 T Olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 chicken thighs and 4 legs, preferably free range (or 6 large thighs)
  • salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and barely crushed
  • 2 lemons, in thin wedges
  • saffron
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • pitted Moroccan salted olives, ~ 16
  • whole almonds, sliced lengthwise to make large-faced halves, ~ 16
  • yellow raisins, ~ handful
Saute the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for around 15 minutes, until starting to become golden and tender.

Add chicken pieces, skin side down, pushing aside onion so that skin will brown. Cook over a medium heat until nicely browned.

Salt well, turn over chicken pieces, and salt other side. Tuck in garlic, lemon, saffron, and cinnamon. Top with olives, almonds, and raisins. Cover, and cook over a low heat, simmering, for about 1.5 hours, until very tender.

The tagine will conserve liquid so well that you may have to cook uncovered for a while to evaporate some of the liquid that will bubble over. In another type of pot you may need to add bits of water.

Serve with whole wheat couscous, prepared by adding 2.5 cups boiling water and a little salt to 1.5 cups couscous in a bowl, covering, and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • a few capers, optional
Combine above ingredients in a heavy ceramic bowl, pour over 1 & 2/3 cup boiling water, cover with a plate, and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

A great summer salad to go with this is cucumber and tomato. Use ripe tomatoes (beefsteak are good, but any ripe tomato will work including cherry tomatoes) and small pickling cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. Peel the cucumbers, cut vegetables into small chunks, toss with extra virgin olive oil and a little salt. You can add a few fresh mint, basil, or dill leaves if desired