Thursday, May 8, 2008

Orange Israeli Couscous with Snow Peas

I have been thinking about trying Israeli couscous for a while, but have never seen it in the stores. I tried a salad from the Goode Shop at Lancaster Central Market that had Israeli couscous (their salads are so so delicious). They had a honey lime salad. Then, I finally found it sold in bulk at Rhubarb's, the health food store I like to shop at. The store is a little pricey for some things (not as cheap as Trader Joes unfortunately) but their bulk packaged items are a great price.
So I had to pull together a quick dinner idea for tonight. I had the couscous, and had my husband get oranges, green onion, and snow peas on his way home. One ingredient I am excited about is my Tunisian Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. I got this at S. Clyde Weavers. I noticed once while shopping there for imported cheese they had about 6 or more different olive oils you can buy. You can bring your own bottle, or buy one of their own for 50 cents. I found a recipe for smoky chickpea dip I am planning to make next week that called for lemon olive oil. A perfect excuse to buy it! It has a great flavor.

Orange Israeli Couscous with Snow Peas
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
1 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
about 1 cup snow peas
6 small green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp slivered almonds
1 orange, peel and white pith removed, sliced into1/2 inch piecess
salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tbsp lemon olive oil
3 tbsp olive oil (I just poured some into my salad dressing shaker. You could certainly add more.)
salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil in a small pot. Add the couscous and toast for 2 minutes. Add the broth and simmer, covered for about 8-10 minutes. Take pot off of heat.
In a salad dressing shaker or a jar with a lid, add dressing ingredients and shake.
Steam the snow peas for about 4 minutes. Put into an ice bath to stop cooking.
In a medium bowl, add the couscous, snow peas, green onions, almonds, oranges, and some salt and freshly ground pepper. Re-shake and pour some dressing on. Mix and serve at room temperature.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Deconstructed BLT

I wanted to enter an additional recipe for the chicken contest. I had some bacon at home so I thought up this. I called it a Chicken BLT Salad when I entered it....but really like calling it a "Deconstructed BLT" better.

I had seen a bread salad recipe somewhere else, where the bread is seasoned and toasted, then mixed with the other salad elements. I used that basic idea here. I think this salad will be better this summer with fresh, local, heirloom tomatoes and lettuce. We joined an organic CSA last year, and have again this year. All that good produce spoils you! I would like to try this with the arugula we get. It is the best darn arugula I have ever had. I can just eat it plain.
But anyway I loved the crust on this chicken and the mustard dressing. The bread I used is Pan Bigio, an Italian wheat bread. Using good bread is very important in this recipe. I think sourdough would be great also.

Chicken BLT Salad

8 pieces-bacon

¼ cup-olive oil

½ tsp-dried dill

¼ tsp-salt

fresh ground pepper

1 pound loaf-Italian bread, ripped into small pieces

3 tsp-mustard seeds

1 ½ tsp-black pepper corns

½ tsp-sea salt

1 tbsp.- canola oil

1 lb chicken tenderloins

1 head-romaine lettuce, ripped into bite sized pieces

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp.-whole grain mustard

2 tbsp-white wine vinegar

¼ cup-olive oil

1 bunch-green onion


Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook the bacon on the stove top until crisp. Reserve the bacon on a plate with paper towels to cool. Save 1 tablespoon bacon drippings.

In a large bowl, mix the ¼ cup olive oil, dill, salt, pepper and bacon drippings. Add the ripped bread and toss to coat. Spread the bread out on a large baking sheet. Cook in oven, stirring occasionally until lightly toasted, 10-15 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the mustard seeds, pepper corns and sea salt. Coat the chicken tenderloins in the mustard mixture. Heat the canola oil in a non-stick pan. Cook the chicken until no longer pink inside. Remove to a cutting board, let cool then slice.

Meanwhile, in the same large bowl, whisk together the grain mustard, vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Add the lettuce. Thinly slice the green onion and add to the bowel. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces. Add bacon, chicken and bread pieces to the salad. Toss all ingredients to coat well in the dressing. Put in the fridge for 45 minutes.

Chop and de-seed the tomatoes. Add to the salad and toss again before serving.

Serves 4-5

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