As I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, I recently rediscovered the wonders of couscous. I became a little obsessed with it actually — I researched all kinds of varieties to see what new things I could play with. I fixated on tri-color pearl (aka Israeli) couscous. It just looks so beautiful on a plate! It’s like the couscous is its own adornment. Unfortunately for me, they didn’t seem to have any Israeli couscous in my local grocery store. I suppose I could have gotten it at another shop, but frankly, I am too cheap and lazy to shop anyplace else. I took it as a sign and tried to put the couscous out of my mind.
But one day, several weeks after the onset of my obsession, it revealed itself to me: tri-color pearl couscous in my regular grocery store, for under 3.50 a pound. I combined some of my favorite flavors — coconut, cilantro, and citrus — to celebrate my find.
This coconut couscous is lightly nutty and bright, fragrant with cilantro, garlic, and lime. To keep the calories and fat low, I used an unsweetened blend of almond milk and coconut milk instead of pure coconut milk. It works beautifully in this dish. If you can’t find coconut-almond milk, feel free to use a blend of coconut milk and water instead.
The coconut couscous is a great side for just about anything. Try pairing it with marinated grilled flank steak, garlic shrimp, or skewered chicken and vegetables. Read more… →
You guys, I’m so excited. I totally saw the sun today. I haven’t worn my parka in over a week. Spring is finally, finally here. What does that mean? It’s almost potluck season. And what does THAT mean? It’s time to break out the pasta salad.
Even if you’re not potlucking it up, pasta salad is a great thing to make during warmer months, when good produce is fresh and plentiful. It’s a serious workhorse. I love to make a huge batch of pasta salad on Sunday and chip away at it throughout the week. It gets better and better the longer it sits in the fridge: tangier, zestier… pasta-ier? Ok, maybe not that last one. Still, a good pasta salad gets appreciably more delicious as time goes on.
This tuna pasta salad is a slight variation on my usual recipe. I was poking around in my pantry the other day, looking for inspiration, and I saw that I had a stack of canned tuna that was a foot high. BOOM. Protein source found.
The tuna works great in this dish — it plays nicely with the red onion and lemony dressing. To keep the tuna’s flavor from overpowering the rest of the ingredients, I added just one can and made sure to drain it well. The tuna adds just the right amount of salt and makes the pasta feel extra-filling.
Here’s how I put everything together. Read more… →
Spring is officially here. Since today was still windy and cold enough for wool coats to be in order, I’m guessing no one mentioned this to Mother Nature. I’m hoping that I can summon warm weather with kitchen optimism. Case in point? These roasted baby artichokes.
Artichokes, like asparagus and sugar snap peas, are a sign of springtime. They require a little bit of work to trim, but the preparation is definitely time well-spent. Take some fresh baby artichokes, cut to them to their tender middles, and toss them with some olive oil and herbs. After a few minutes in the oven, it’ll hit you: that delicious, fruity aroma as the chokes caramelize on the pan.
These roasted baby artichokes are a beautiful side. I think they pair especially nicely with fish, like tilapia (my favorite budget fish) or sole. For an extra treat, you can shave a little parmesan or pecorino romano on top. Here’s how I put my roasted chokes together. Read more… →
I first had lotus root at a great little Korean restaurant in town. I had no idea what it was. My first thought? “…This may or may not be a cross section of ET’s pancreas.” Once I got over the initial shock, I began to appreciate the beauty of the plate. I took my first bite and was instantly hooked: the lotus root was delicious. It was tender and slightly sticky, simmered in soy sauce and something sweet. I’m still working out how to replicate that dish. During the course of my many (many, many) experimentations, I’ve found that lotus root makes a fantastic baked chip.
Lotus root is starchy — not unlike a potato, actually. After a quick, tenderizing boil in water and vinegar, I give the lotus root the same treatment I would give oven-cooked spuds. I grab a few of my favorite spices, season the lotus root liberally, and toss them in a hot oven. This simple process yields a lovely, flavorful snack. The baked lotus root chips are crisp at the edges and tender in the middle, a little chewy throughout. I like to eat them with a little bit of spicy-sweet gochujang on the side.
I usually use my favorite seasoning trio of chili, garlic, and onion powders, but you can change the flavors in a million different ways. The lotus root works beautifully with just about anything. Try it with garam masala for an Indian flair; for a Latin touch, try adobo or a mix of cumin, garlic, and parsley. If you like spicy North African flavors, harissa is a great choice.
Detailed instructions after the jump!
Read more… →
I’m happy that Brussels sprouts are finally getting some of the love and respect they deserve. They’ve popped up on restaurant menus all over the place. Of course, there are some stubborn holdouts that want no part of this Brussels sprouts business. Just means more delicious sprouts for me.
Anyway, this Asian-inspired recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. Sautéed in a healthy oil infused with garlic, onion, and chili flakes, the sprouts take on big, bold flavor. Sugar-free orange marmalade is the key to this recipe. It adds bright, citrusy sweetness without adding a ton of extra calories. A few drops of fragrant, nutty sesame oil are the finishing touch. All together, the sauce is similar to the one you find on takeout-style orange chicken. Needless to say, this version is a lot better for you.
These spicy orange Brussels sprouts are an easy, delicious dish for meatless Monday. Most people will prefer this recipe as a side (try it with steamed fish or chicken satay), but I really like it as a main over rice or noodles. Recipe after the jump! Read more… →