March 31, 2008

Back to Basics

March has been a crazy month for me so I've been looking for some easy things that I could prepare that don't require alot of time or make alot of dishes. These three recipes to follow fit the bill.

Curried Israeli Cous Cous Salad and Grilled Romaine

1 cup Israeli Cous Cous (Look in the Kosher section. Once you find it, you'll be hooked. It is sooooo good. I currently have 4 boxes in my pantry so I always have some on hand.)

1/4 white onion, minced
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup dried currents
3 scallions (green parts only)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (depending on the strength of your curry powder)
2 Tablespoons plain, low fat yogurt
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preapre Israeli Cous Cous according to package directions. If your package is in Hebrew and you can't read the directions, just cook it as you would pasta omitting the salt. Drain and rise it slightly when done. Add all the other ingredients to the drained and rinsed cous cous and stir until mixed through. Place it in the refrigerator in a covered bowl for about 30 minutes to take the edge of the heat off. This dish is best served at room temperature to slightly chilled. Serves 4.

Grilled Romain is a favorite at my house. It sounds weird but it is awesome and takes alot less time to prepare than a salad.

Slice a Romaine Lettuce Heart in half lengthwise. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place the cut side down on a heated grill pan (or outside grill) and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and diced Roma tomatoes. Delish! Serves 2.

Serve the two above dishes with a garlic and rosemary crusted grilled chicken breast. mmmmmmm.....

Finally, here's a French onion Soup Recipe that I SWEAR tastes better than any French Onion Soup I've had in Paris.

French Onion Soup

4 White Onions
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 teaspoon sugar
6 cups Beef Broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
Dash soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

4 slices French bread
1/2 cup mozzarella or fontina cheese (grated)

Heat butter and oil in a pot over medium heat. Slice the onions into thin strips and add them and the sugar to the heated pot.

Turn the heat to medium-high and stir the onions until they're slightly covered with the oil and butter. Let them sit in the pot and begin to caramelize. (Stir them every 10 minutes or so until they're done. This should take about 25-30 minutes.)

Once the onions are really caramelized, add the broth, red wine, soy sauce and salt and pepper. Heat through.

Toast the French bread and top it with the shredded cheese.

Broil the cheese-topped toasts for about 2 minutes, until gooey and bubbly.

Place in soup bowl and ladle the soup over the toasts. Oh la la...perfect for a rainy Sunday.

March 21, 2008

Apologies and News

So I have been a major slacker for a while. Sorry!! I do have a few excuses though...

First was the vacation in Mexico (check out my pics here)....

Next, I got really busy at my day job.....

Finally, the Husband tore his Achilles tendon and required alot of my attention. (He hasn't revovered yet but is getting better)

However, loyal readers and decdicated cooks, I will be back in the swing of things shortly.

In the meantime, it seems that I have won a recipe suggestion contest at Birches, a restaurant in my neighborhood that was bestowed the honor of one of the 12 Exceptional Restaurans in the Mid-Atlantic by Gourmet Magazine . Birch's will be featuring my modern take on Spaghetti and Meatballs on their menu tomorrow through next Friday.

Birch's is located at 641 South Montford Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21224. Their phone number is 410.732.3000. BE THERE! (Reservations are suggsested)

Happy Easter!