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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Shawarma style chicken wraps

There are a lot of “do ahead” steps, but they don’t all need to be done at the same time.

Notes for next time :

  • Cook the chicken on a grill to let the fat drip away
  • Roast the garlic for the yogurt sauce.

Ingredients :
8 chicken thighs
Pita bread

For the marinade
3 table soup olive oil
1 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon paprika
1 tea spoon turmeric
1 tea spoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
Zest and juice of a lemon
Zest and juice of an orange
Black pepper, to taste

For the garnish
1 red onion
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 table spoon olive oil
1 tomato, diced
Bread and butter pickles
Iceberg lettuce
ingredients

***

1. Combine the yogurt, garlic and olive oil for the garnish, Set aside and allow to mellow overnight.
garlic-sauce

2. Thinly slice the onion, cover with cold water. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
onions

3. Combine the marinade’s spices and grind them to a rough powder.
spices

4. In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients.
marinade1

5. And stir to dissolve the spices.
marinade2

6. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Cut each thigh in half. Put in the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and marinade overnight.
chicken

7. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cook the chicken on both sides to get some color.
color

8. Finish in the oven until cooked through.
cooked

9. Open the pita bread. Slather with some yogurt sauce. Add the chicken, tomato, lettuce, onions, and pickles to taste. Roll and enjoy.
assemble

 

Lazy Jambalaya

Wholly inaccurate, but easy enough on a weekday. A satisfying one-pot meal with plenty of leftovers for lunches. Leftover portions freeze rather well, so that is always a bonus.

Ingredients :
3 Italian sausage (spicy)
1 onion, chopped
3 celery branches, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 table spoon cajun spices
1 table spoon paprika
1 lb shrimp
olive oil
ingredients

1. In a large enamel faitout or dutch oven, warm about a table spoon of the oil. Remove the casing from the sausages and add to the pot.
sausage1

2. Break apart into clumps as it cooks.
sausage2

3. Once the meat is almost fully cooked, add the onion, bell pepper and celery.
veggies

4. Stir in and cook for a  minute or two then add the frozen peas.
peas

5. Give the peas a mine to start thawing then add the tomatoes and garlic.
tomatoes

6. Add the rice. Stir it in, to coat the rice.
rice

7. Add the chicken broth, paprika and cajun spices.
stock

8. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes (to get the rice started)
cook1

9. Add the shrimps, still frozen, in a single layer on top.
shrimp

10.  Cover and return to heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimps are nicely pink.
shrimp2

11. Allow to stand for a few minutes (the liquid will be absorbed). Portion out and enjoy!
serve

Garlic Lamb Shank over potatoes

An easy dish to throw together, warm and filling for winter. Might make the house smell like garlic.. but that’s not all bad is it?

Ingredients :
3 lamb shanks (thawed)
3-4 garlic cloves
1-2 sprigs of rosemary
2 table spoon olive oil
salt and pepper
about 1 bag of new or baby potatoes

ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Slice the potatoes into coins and cover the bottom of a baking dish.
slice

2. Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a small blender. Or a mortar and pestle, if you prefer.
garlic1

3. Process until the garlic is mostly gone into a paste.
garlic2

4. Lay the lamb on top of the potatoes. Brush with some of the garlic paste. Add salt and pepper.
shank1

5. Flip them and spoon the rest of the garlic paste over them. Add salt and pepper.
shank2

6. Cover in tinfoil and put in the oven for 2h.
cover

7. Remove from the oven. The meat should be pulling away from the bone.
Poke with a fork. if it’s still tough put it back for 30 minutes.
cooked

8. Plate. Use a slotted spoon for the potatoes.
Keep the bones (I throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer) for making stock later.
plate

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