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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Grain and butternut squash salad

I made decadent cupcakes yesterday. I mean it… these are good but so darn rich. So I made a grain based salad for dinner tonight, to make myself feel less guilty.

Ingredients
8 oz farro
4 cups chicken stock
1 butternut squash
1 pack of turkey breast strips
1 bunch green onions
juice of one lemon
small handul italian parsley
2/3 cup apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 tea spoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 tea spoon honey
8 table spoon olive oil
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Peel the butternut squash. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Then cut into cubes.
cut-squash

2. Toss with 1 to 1 1/2 table spoon of olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put on a baking tray in a single layer.
raw-squash

3. Put in the oven until tender but still holding it’s shape, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
cooked-squash

4. Mean while, combine the farro and chicken stock.
raw-farro

5. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Cook, uncovered until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring once in a while. It took me about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.
cooked-farro

6. Cut the turkey into cubes. Heat 1/2 table spoon to 1 table spoon oil in a skillet. Cook the turkey with the smoked paprika and a bit of pepper.
turkey

7. Roughly chop a small handful of Italian parsley and add to the cooled farro.
add-parsley

8. Add the cranberries.
add-cranberries

9. Finely chop the green onions and add to the salad.
add-green-onions

10. Add the cooked turkey.
add-turkey

11. And as much of the squash as you care for. I added about half of the baking sheet.
add-squash

12. In a different bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and honey. Add the remaining 6 table spoon of olive oil in a drizzle while whisking.
dressing

13. Add the dressing to the salad and mix well to combine.
done2

Marinated Bavette

To be fair, this is a template more then a definitive recipe. The vinegar can change (my roommate is partial to red wine vinegar), as can the mustard or source of sweetness (maple syrup comes to mind). Delicious either and all ways.

Ingredients
1-2 large bavette pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 table spoon moutarde de meaux
2 table spoon honey
black pepper
ingredients

***

1. In a mason jar, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
combine1

2. Shake to emulsify.
shake

3. In a large freezer bag, pour some of the marinade, add the meat and pour the rest. Massage into the meat, making sure all sides are coated. Stick in the fridge overnight.
combine2

4. When ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 400F. Heat a griddle. Add salt to the meat.
meat

5. Cut into portions and sear on all sides. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking until desired temperature. But bavette is better rare to medium rare.
sear

6. Allow to rest for a few minutes out of the oven. Serve warm.
serve

Goat Skewers

I had stumbled over this recipe over at Inn at the Crossroad years ago, but never quite got around to making it. I wish I had cooked this much sooner! The skewers are delicious, and the marine would go well on all sorts of other meats. I have half a mind to try it on flank steak and then grilling that… I made a few changes on how I made the marinade, mostly because I dislike raw lemongrass but still wanted the flavor.

Thanks to Chelsea for letting me repost the recipe here! But seriously, go check out the blog (and buy the book : A Feast of Ice and Fire) for a staggering amount of things you’ll want to eat.

Ingredients :
1 lb. goat meat, cubed
2 table spoon olive oil
2-3 yunnan peppers, dried
1 pasilla de oaxaca (smoked)
1/4 cup tart cherry juice
1 table spoon tomato paste
small handful raisins
1-2 table spoon honey
1 table spoon chopped lemongrass stalk

ingredients

***

1. In a small pot, warm the olive oil. Add the lemongrass and allow to infuse the oil for a few minutes.
lemongrass

2. Add the tomato paste and peppers. Stir well to coat the peppers in the oil to soften them. Then add the cherry juice and raisins.
peppers

3. When the marinade has thickened a bit (and the peppers softened and released their seeds), remove from heat and stir in the honey. Add the marinade to the meat and set aside for several hours.
marinade

4. Loosely thread the meat unto skewers. metal skewers will give you better result but I only had bamboo skewers on hand.
skewers

5.  If you have a grill use it. I did not have that option so I seared the meat in a griddle pan… The sugar from the honey will char almost instantly, but that plays well with the meat.
sear

6. Transfer to a 375F-400F oven for about 10 minutes, until the internal temperature reads at least 145F.
If you want, you can bring the marinade to a boil then brush it unto the meat before putting it in the oven to give the skewers at glaze.
oven

7. Once they reach temperature allow the meat to rest for a few minutes then serve.
serve

Red Wine beets

I like pickled beets. I like them on their own. With pâté chinois. With sweet potatoes and goat cheese. But the ones available in store tend to be heavy on the vinegar. These are just perfect. And so easy to make! 1 pound of beet gives roughly 1 pint, so scale accordingly.

Ingredients
3 lb of beets
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
Olive oil
black peppercorns
Thyme
Rosemary
salt and pepper

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Brush and peel the beets. Put on a baking tray line with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roll the beets around a bit to coat them well.
beets

2. Cover with foil.
beets2

3. Roast for 1h or until tender. Remove foil and allow to cool until they can be handled.
beets3

4. Combine the red wine vinegar, water, honey, brown sugar and red wine in a pot. Bring to a boil. Sterilize 3 jars. Add a few springs of thyme, 1 of rosemary and 1/2 teapoon of black peppercorns to each jar.
beetsjars

5. Slice the beets and stuff into the jars. Ladle the hot brine over the beets. Leave 1/4″ of headspace. Wipe the rims, add the covers and process for 10 minutes.
beets4

6. Allow to cool fully and check the seal of the jars.
beets-done

Apple Pie

I had been shying away for pies for years, for no good reason. My aunt makes the most amazing pies but it always seemed complicated to me. Then I decided I wanted apple pie. So I made this rustic version and it’s deeply satisfying…

Minot Doré is an apple brandy type of liqueur done by a local cider place. Feel free to substitute any apple liqueur of your choice.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks frozen butter  (unsalted)
12 tablespoons Minot Doré
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
8-9 apples (I use a mix of Gala, Spartan and Empire)
ingredients

***

1. In a large bowl, mix the all purpose flour, salt and sugar.
flour

2. Grate the frozen butter using the coarse side of a box grater. I got this trick from watching the Micheal Smith shows. It works and it’s awesome.
butter

3. Gently toss the flour and butter until the butter curls are covered in flour.
buttermixed

4. Add the Minot Doré. Make sure it is ice cold. Seriously. If it’s not cold enough by the time you get to this step, stick the flour and butter mix in the freezer until the liquor is cold enough. You will need to work quickly to knead the dough together without the butter melting from the heat of your hands.
knead

5. Split into 2 parts, making sure one is slightly bigger then the other. Flatten into disk, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator over night.
disks

6. The next day, pre-heat the over to 375F. Peel, core and slice the apples. In this batch I sliced them a bit too thick, it’s better to make them half as thick as they are pictured here.
appels

7. Add the honey, cinnamon and whole wheat flour to the apples. Make sure all the apple slices are covered.
apples2

8. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and unwrap the larger of the two pieces of dough.
roll

9. Roll the dough until thin and flexible then transfer to the bottom of a glass pie plate.
base

10. Pour the apples (and any honey left at the bottom of the bowl) into the pie plate.
stuff

11. Roll the second piece of dough and cover the pie. Brush with a beaten egg and cut vents on the top.
vents

12. Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden and you can see the juices bubbling around the vents. Allow to cool before cutting.
baked

Spice Poached Pears

A delicious, light desert. Also easy to make and can be made in advance. The pears will keep for well over a week if kept in the syrup.

Ingredients
8 Bartlett pears
1/2 cup honey
1 Yunnan pepper
13 black peppercorns
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half
Zests of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
2 star anise.
4 cup of water + enough to fill a large bowl
ingredients

***

1. In a large soup pot, combine 4 cups of water with the honey, spices, orange peel and the juice of half a lemon. Warm gently and stir until the honey is dissolved.
liquid

2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of half a lemon.
water

3. Peel the pears, slice in half and remove the core.
peel

4. Put the pears in the water with the lemon juice. This prevents them from changing color.
bath1

5. Once all the pears are ready transfer them to the spiced liquid. Try to keep them in an even layer.
in-liquid

6. Using the lid of a smaller pot, push them into the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook until the pears are tender when poked with the toothpick but still holding their shape.
lid

7. Allow to cool in the syrup, then cover the pot and cool completely in the refrigerator.
cooked

8. When ready to serve, heat about 1 cup of the syrup and reduce to about 1/3 cup.
syrup

9. Transfer the syrup to a double boiler and melt some chocolate into the syrup.
chocolate

10. Spoon the warm chocolate sauce over the cold pears.
serve