Thursday, March 11, 2010

See you in a while

Please excuse me while I am vacationing...will be back soon, and hopefully will get to post from where I am....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Couscous with Green Peppers and Kale Salad (Serves 2)

(Above: Couscous with Green Peppers)

(Above: Kale Salad)
These combinations come alive in the kitchen when it is time to use up the remaining vegetables from the refrigerator, and I often come up with interesting dishes.

I got the chance to do that a while ago, having a single large green pepper and a large bunch of fresh kale leaves at my disposal. I had originally bought the kale leaves to make kale ‘chips’, baking them with some olive oil and spices until they turn real crisp. Some other time maybe.

Anyway, I quickly whipped up a simple dinner with some couscous and a cooked kale salad, with some nice red wine for accompaniment.

For the Couscous dish:

1 large green pepper, unseeded and cut into long slices
4 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic chopped fine
Store bought instant plain couscous (20oz/568g)
2 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper for seasoning
3 scallions washed and chopped fine
juice of half a lemon

For the Kale Salad:

1 bunch fresh Kale leaves chopped small
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 tsp Asian red chili sauce (store bought)
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp spicy brown mustard or regular mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 raw red onion chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Bring to boil 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and a tsp of olive oil. Add the couscous, stir for a few seconds and turn off the fire. Cover dish with a plate and set aside for 5 minutes for the couscous to finish cooking. Season with lemon juice when cooked.

In a non stick pan on medium heat, add 3 tsp of olive oil, cayenne pepper, garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Add the green pepper, salt and pepper for seasoning and roast for 5 minutes, turning the peppers around occasionally until they are nicely roasted and crunchy.

On a serving dish, make a bed of the green peppers and lay the couscous on top, garnished with the chopped scallions.

For the kale salad, on a non stick pan on medium heat, add 3 tsp of olive oil, garlic, Asian red chili sauce, soy sauce and sauté until the water drains off. Add the kale leaves and ½ tsp salt and sauté for a few minutes, mixing everything well. Add the mustard and sauté the kale leaves until they are cooked but retain their crunch.

Take off the fire, and let it cool down a bit. In a bowl, mix the cooked kale leaves with the raw red onions, balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of olive oil and ½ tsp of salt.

Serve along with the couscous. Delicious! The kale really comes alive in this salad, with the other ingredients adding a fantastic medley of flavors.
Health Rating: High

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Eyed Beans Salad with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Serves 2)

Sorry for not having posted in a week. I got caught up in a few things as we prepare for our vacation trip to India after 2 years. Very excited and looking forward to it.

Almost a week ago at dinner time, we were at a loss as to what to make, since there weren’t any vegetables handy. All we had was some brussels sprouts and leftover cooked black eyed beans.
We decided to make pasta and sauce, and a Mediterranean version of black eyed beans salad with roasted brussels sprouts.

The salad turned out excellent taste wise with all the ingredients complementing each other really well. I didn’t realize that black eyed beans in a salad would taste so good.

You have to try this. You will love it. The best part is it went really well with the pasta and sauce or on its own. And if you do have any leftover you can just spoon it into scooped tortilla chips and eat, which is what we did after dinner. It was really good and fun to eat too.

2 cups cooked black eyed beans
½ large red onion chopped fine
6-8 roasted brussels sprouts
1 large jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped into thin ½ inch slices
1 large bunch fresh parsley leaves chopped fine
1 sprig rosemary leaves chopped fine
½ tsp cumin seeds crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste coarse ground

Quarter the brussels sprouts, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil, some coriander and cumin powder, red chili powder, salt and pepper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until the sprouts are roasted to a light brown color, around 10 minutes. Remove and let them cool a bit.

In a large salad bowl, add all the ingredients together and mix well. Serve immediately. As simple as that, and so tasty that you will get a lot of compliments from your guests or significant other.

Health Rating: High
Ingredient Substitute/s: You can add any kind of beans for this salad and the resulting taste will be great – think chick peas, red lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, soy beans. The brussels sprouts can be replaced with roasted green pepper, roasted cabbage, grilled or roasted tomatoes, etc. More importantly have fun while experimenting with this, and let me know how it came out!