Pearl Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This makes for good lunches because it keeps for a while, a nice side dish, or an interesting offering in a potluck. Most importantly it’s easy and quick to get together.

Adapted from Foodiecrush.

Ingredients:
2 cups pearl couscous
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted, unsalted)

For the dressing:
1 french shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tea spoon dijon mustard
2 tea spoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine the dressing ingredients.
dressing

2. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
smooth-dressing

3. Cook the pearl couscous (like pasta) until done but it still has a bit of texture. Drain and coat with the dressing,
add-dressing

4. Cut the dried apricots into smaller pieces. Add the cranberries. I aim for roughly 1 1/2 cup of dried fruits total.
dried-fruits

5. Add the fruits to the couscous.
add-fruits

6. Add the pistachios and pumpkin seeds.
nuts

7. Mix well to combine and transfer to a serving bowl. This can be eaten cold or warm.
serve

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Orzo and tomatoes salad

A nice summer dish, Perfect for a potluck, for a pic-nic or to make easily carried lunches for the office.

Ingredients
500g orzo pasta
1 cup green peas (frozen)
3 bell peppers (varied colors)
1 bundle of green onions
1lb heirloom tomatoes (varied)
1/2 a bundle of parsley
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup + 2 table spoon olive oil
2 table spoon red wine vinegar
1 table spoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
water
ingredients

***

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the pasta into the water, stirring to avoid clumping. Cook for 15 minutes or so.
pasta1

2. In the last 2-3 minutes add the frozen peas.
pasta2

3. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
drain

4. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the 2 table spoon of olive oil and allow to cool fully.
cool

5. While the pasta is cooling, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Grill until softened and nicely charred.
I kept the skin on for a bit of the smokiness, but you can remove it at this stage.
grill

6. Combine the grape seed oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard.
dressing1

7. Shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
dressing2

8. Thinly slice the green onions, both white and green parts and add to the pasta.
green-onions

9. Cut the peppers into a large dice. Add to the orzo.
peppers

10. Chop the parsley and throw it in with the rest.
parsley

11. Cut the tomatoes into quarters (or into eighth if they are on the larger side). Remove the core and add to the bowl.
tomatoes

12. Mix in the dressing in two times to coat evenly.
mix

13. Plate and eat up.
As a side dish would probably feed 10.
As a main meal made for 6 large meals.
plate

Dijon Pork

Super easy recipe but very tasty.

Ingredients
2 pork tenderloin
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2-3 table spoon dijon mustard
olive oil
salt and pepper
ingredient

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Season the meat with salt and pepper.
season

2. Warm some olive oil in a skillet and sear on all sides. Transfer to a baking dish and cook for 25-30 minutes,
baked

3. In the pan, sweat the onion until translucent and deglaze with the chicken stock.
deglaze

4. Add the cream, dijon mustard and a good amount of black pepper. Simmer until it thickens.
cream

5. Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes. Slice (it will be very pink) and finish cooking in the sauce,
slice

6. Serve immediately.
plate

Chickpea and spinach salad with marinated chicken

Simple, low effort and tasty. The left overs make good lunch, this is great of week-night cooking.

Ingredients
2 cans of chickpeas
1 pack of boneless, skinless chicken thigh 
1 small jar roasted peppers, in oil not brine
3 capers, quartered
Baby spinach (a good handful per plate)
Olive oil
4 lemons
salt & pepper
Dijon mustard
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh basil, to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine together the juice of 3 lemons, a good amount of olive oil (1/4 to 1/3 of a cup), the garlic, pressed of finely minced, a bit of salt and plenty of black pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Massage a bit to make sure everything is coated, then allow to marinate for an hour or so.
chicken-in-marinade

3. The marinade will make the chicken look paler. This is normal. Get the chicken cooking, and discard the marinade.
marinated-chicken

4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
chickpeas

5. Remove the roasted peppers from the jar and drain the excess oil. Cut into strips and add to the chickpeas.
add-peppers

6. Add the capers. They add a salty/briny/crunchy element. Skip them if you don’t like them or don’t have any on hand. Olives would probably work instead.
add-capers

7. In a small jar, combine the juice of the remaining lemon, some olive oil and about a tea spoon of Dijon mustard. Add black pepper. Shake until emulsified.
dressing

8. Add the chicken to the chickpeas. Drizzle with the dressing and mix everything together.
mix

9. Serve over a good handful of spinach. Add cut or thorn basil on top. 
plate