Saturday, November 26

Chopped Couscous Salad

Here's a relatively easy couscous salad to put together. Most of the prep is dicing things up. You can also easily modify this with what you have on hand. You could swap cannelloni beans with garbanzos, Israeli couscous for the traditional style or even orzo, and veggies can really be anything seasonal.

 My garden is still going (and yes, it's nearly December!) with cilantro, parsley and arugula so I grabbed a bit of each to chop up which adds a great herbal tone and contrast to the sharp vinaigrette dressing.

This is great on its own, over greens, or even with grilled chicken.

A photo posted by Jane (@caff) on

Chopped Couscous Salad

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 8.8 oz bag or 1 cup couscous (I used the Israeli style as that's what I had on hand, but either will work), prepared following directions on box/bag/etc
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated (I like to use a microplane)
  • 1/2 to 1 whole shallot, minced (can swap with some red onion)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar (or swap with your favorite)
  • 1 TBPS honey
  • 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses (optional - can find it at Whole Foods near with the molasses/baking section)
  • 1/4-1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 1-2 handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5-6 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • handful fresh arugula, chopped
  • salt & pepper
METHOD:
1) Prepare couscous per package directions.
2) In a large bowl, prepare the dressing by mixing olive oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, pomegranate molasses (optional), and lemon juice together with a whisk. Add a couple pinches of salt and pepper to taste.
3) Add cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, avocados, beans, cumin, parsley, cilantro, and arugula. Stir to combine. 3) Stir in couscous and taste for seasoning. You might need to add more salt and pepper and lemon juice to your taste.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Saturday, May 28

Avocado & Chickpea Salad

Last night we needed a side to go with our burgers. Hubs suggested guacamole, but that wasn't as helpful but it did spark an idea to use the perfectly ripe avocados for a salad. I used up some "end of the week" produce and made up a dressing that was a mix between middle eastern and latin in flavor.

The result was quite tasty and can be good on a bed of lettuce like arugula. You can also easily modify it; add some diced bell pepper if you have it, radish, fresh corn, etc. Or turn it into more of a meal by adding some grilled chicken or serve it in a wrap with falafel. If you do give it a try, let me know what you think.

Avocado & Chickpea Salad

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 15.5oz (438g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (can do 2 cans if you like)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated (I like to use a microplane)
  • 1 scallion, cut in half and diced (could also use about 1/4 cup of finely diced red onion)
  • about a thumbnail size of jalapeno, finely diced (or more if you want more heat)
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half and sliced (you want half moons)
  • 1-2 handfuls cherry tomatoes (cut in half) or regular tomato, diced
  • 2-4 TBSP oil, enough to coat
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2-3 TBSP pomegranate molasses (you can find this at Whole Foods in the syrup area)
  • 2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • squeeze of lemon juice (1/4-1/2 lemon - squeezed for juice)
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped (could substitute with parsley)
METHOD:
1) Combine everything in a bowl.
2) Stir gently to combine and make sure seasoning and dressing is evenly coating. Be careful to not mash the avocado up too much. But, it will break down a bit, which will add a creaminess to the dish.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, May 8

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I've had this recipe from King Arthur Flour bookmarked/pinned for a couple years, waiting for the right opportunity to make it. OMG, why did I wait? They are super tasty. I loved the lemon curd and the cake, which has buttermilk in it, is superb on its own. They do take a bit of time and a little finesse, but nothing extraordinary; although the results definitely are.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
For Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
For Lemon Curd (Yield: a scant 2 cups)
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large, juicy lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 TBSP) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
For Meringue
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 TBSP sugar
METHOD:
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a 12-cup cupcake or muffin pan with paper liners; spritz the liners lightly with cooking spray.
2) To make the cupcakes: Place the following in the bowl of your mixer: the cake flour blend, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor. Add 1/3 cup of the buttermilk.
3) Blend the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick at first, but will smooth out as you mix.
4) Add the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly, if necessary.
5) Fill each well of the pan 2/3 full, and bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes, until they're light golden brown on the edges. Remove them from the oven, and immediately transfer them from the pan to a rack. Cool completely.
6) Combine all of the lemon curd ingredients in a pan on medium heat and stir well.
7) When curd starts to thicken, coats the back of a spoon, and starts to mound a bit as you stir, it's done. This will take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes. The curd's temperature should have reached at least 185°F. Stir the curd one more time, spoon it into a storage container, and refrigerate until firm. (Extra curd keeps refrigerated for up to 3 weeks; freeze for longer storage.)
8) Core each cooled cupcake with a cupcake corer (or an apple corer), leaving a small well in the center of the cake. Fill to the brim with cooled lemon filling. Fill all cupcakes, then prepare the meringue.
9) To make the meringue: In a very clean work bowl, whip the egg whites and Bakewell Cream or cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the salt. Gradually add the sugar, increasing the whipping speed and continuing to whip until the mixture is light and billowy, and stiff peaks form.
10) Mound or pipe meringue onto each cupcake, then toast the meringue with a cook's torch; or carefully broil until golden brown. Serve warm, for a flowing lemon lava; or cool for a more set filling.
Makes 12 cupcakes.

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