Couscous Salad with Feta and Chickpeas.

this is a great little lunch recipe we found at ezrapoundcake.com. lunch is tricky for us, but this was simple and fresh tasting. i was actually pretty surprised at how nicely it turned out. we love feta, and i think it really makes the dish.

the original recipe uses cucumber, which i did not put in (i don’t like cucumber). we tend to go light on the onion as well.

  • 2 cups couscous, cooked (i believe this is how much i used? 2 cups measured dry)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 limes, juiced

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients with the olive oil and lime juice, to taste.

Creamy Corn Soup with Roasted Poblano Chile (October 30, 2011)

rick bayless time! recipe is online here, as well as in the wonderful “mexican everyday” cookbook that features “easier” recipes than some of the other ones.

this was a pretty easy recipe, all things considered. so much so that i was honestly a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. but one should not doubt rick bayless.

# 1 large fresh poblano chile
# 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
# 1 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
# 2 cloves garlic, peeled
# 3 cups corn kernels, cut from about 5 cobs or frozen
# 1 tablespoon corn starch
# 1 quart milk
# 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 8 oz. cubed ham
# Salt to taste
# Cilantro for garnish

Roast the poblano directly on the open flame of a stovetop or under a broiler until charred and blackened all over, 5-10 minutes depending on method. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel until cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, heat the oil over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan and add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Transfer to a food processor along with the corn, cornstarch, and 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Process into a purée and transfer back to the saucepan, straining out the corn kernel skins if desired. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently.

When the chile is cooled somewhat, rub off the blackened skins, pull out the stem and seeds, and rinse to complete the job. Cut into 1/4-inch strips or pieces, then stir into the simmering soup along with the chicken and remaining milk. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, if necessary, stirring as you go. Serve with sprinkled cilantro and avocado, if desired.

in my preparation i added more garlic (of course), used canned corn, used ham, and did not strain the corn puree. this thing is full of awesomeness. it has the warm richness of a corn chowder, but the chile really does make all the difference here. it’s not spicy in any serious way, but there is definitely a great presence there of chile.

this is a fantastic recipe, and one i will definitely make again!

Pasta With Prosciutto and Whole Cloves of Garlic (Sep. 12th, 2011)

from mark bittman’s how to cook everything; also located here.

Pasta With Prosciutto and Whole Cloves of Garlic (Maccheroni alla San Giovanniello)

Yield About 4 servings

Time About 30 minutes

Mark Bittman
Ingredients

* 1/3 cup olive oil or butter
* 10 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
* 1/2 cup prosciutto or other salted ham or slab bacon, cut into cubes or strips
* 6 plum tomatoes, or 11/2 cups drained canned tomatoes
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 pound cut pasta, such as ziti or penne
* 1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, or a combination

Method

* 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
* 2. Combine the oil, garlic, and ham in a medium to large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes deep golden, nearly brown, all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
* 3. Core and chop the plum tomatoes (or crush the canned tomatoes) and add them, along with salt and pepper, to the skillet. Stir and simmer while you salt the boiling water and cook the pasta.
* 4. Drain the pasta when it is tender but firm, re¬serving a little of the cooking water and adding it to the sauce if it appears dry (quite likely if you used fresh tomatoes). Toss the pasta with the sauce and most of the basil, along with the cheese. Mince the remaining basil, garnish the pasta with it, and serve.

some notes:
– i used butter, and just 3 tablespoons. it seemed like plenty, perhaps since i also used bacon, which had enough fat on it to never get this thing close to drying out. i also chopped a couple mushrooms and tossed them in with the bacon and garlic.

this thing is garlic-tastic, and completely delicious. i planned on having it for lunch during the week, but i instantly needed a bowl of it for dinner. i’m in love!

Butter Almond Bars (August 12, 2011)

saw this recipe at the website for sunflower market, a local grocer. though they call it a cake, i will call it bars, since it is so thin and crisp that cake doesn’t properly describe it. and three sticks of butter can’t lead you astray, right?

Ingredients

Bars
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, melted

Topping
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp almond extract

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the egg, sugar, flour, and butter with an electric mixer. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

To make the topping: In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat and stir in the sugar. Add the almonds, flour, and milk, stirring constantly. Add the extract and continue to stir for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Pour the topping over the baked cake, then place the cake under the broiler until shiny brown and bubbly. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm.

overall, very nice and buttery and delicious. they are right to say watch carefully when placed under the broiler at the end – it browns up VERY fast. i liked these a lot, and would defs have them again.

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna (June 10, 2011)

getting rid of food items around carla’s house! what to do with those lasagna noodles? make lasagna!

here’s a nice little recipe from the allrecipes dot com.

Ingredients

* cooking spray
* 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
* 1 onion, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
* 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
* 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
* 1 (4 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp. Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.
4. Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

i didn’t use any fresh rosemary, and bought the kroger brand organic marinara as my sauce. i bought the four balls of mozzarella floating in water, which felt like more than 3 cups (not sure), but either way it was a pretty tasty lasagna. we are both big fans of artichokes, and it’d been a long time since i’d eaten them in anything. i find it hard to imagine a bad lasagna, but this one felt better than some i’d made in the past. garfield would be proud.

Strawberry Spinach Salad (June 10, 2011)

found this one online; a really delicious little summer salad. it feels like cheating to add strawberries to a green salad, but it turns out fruit is actually good for you too, and so this one was a pretty simple double winner.

via allrecipes dot com

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
* 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon minced onion
* 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
* 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
* 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

it’s very simple, with greens, strawberries and almonds and an oil and poppyseed dressing. we used half the sugar in the dressing, but about a third of the oil we used was our fantastic blood orange oil from artisano’s in indianapolis. it really was the crowning touch.

a fantastic summer salad, while the strawberries are fresh and plentiful.

Revised Bobby Flay Spaghetti Sauce (April 18, 2010)

the bobby flay spaghetti sauce i’ve been making for a while has evolved a bit. i felt it would be wise to document it rather than just keep doing it from memory.

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
* 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
* 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf
* a bunch of chopped basil (i use the little container you can buy at Kroger)
* 1 cup red wine
* 1 small bunch Italian parsley
* 1 healthy sprinkling red pepper flakes
* 1 slightly less generous portion of oregano
* 1 Anaheim chile pepper, chopped
* 3-5 links spicy Italian sausage
* Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Chop and saute the sausage before hand, then set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup wine, bay leaf, parsley, Anaheim pepper, basil, sausage and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Eat.

a couple notes: i added the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and substituted wine for water in the original recipe. flay talks about meatballs, and you can use those too – i love the turkey meatball recipe we have on this blog. but i often don’t quite have the energy to do the meatball thing, and so the sausage is a bit faster.

the sauce clearly has a spicy zing to it, which i like. i think it’s a little more flavorful than the original, which was solid, but eventually got a touch boring.

a final note – my most recent making of this, and i forgot the sausage, and it wasn’t quite as good as i recalled. i think that it really does add something to the flavor, and so i wouldn’t leave it out in the future.