Thursday, April 22, 2010

Couscous salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

My camera is broken so I am taking pictures with my phone! I guess it could be worse! My phone actually has a 5.0 mega autofocus . . .I may be the problem, look at the blur! I took 3 years of photograph in high school and absolutely loved it. Now, with a broken camera, I am feelin it could be time to get a new one! With a nice big lense! Lots of megapixels and zoom! Of course my budget isn't going to allow me to go toooo crazy right now, but hmm... birthday's coming soon!
On to the salad! This couscous salad was delicious! I wanted to make it for quit a while and went to my cabinet to get a brand new box out. . . and it was not pretty. Something got at it and I was furious! Couscous isn't cheap here in Maui, not sure about anywhere else? And I was really in the mood for this! It's fast and easy to make, full of vegetables and a yummy lemony vinaigrette to give lots of flavor! I used broccoli the first time, but think crisp blanched green beans would be a better choice. The vegetables still had a little crunch, tang of the feta cheese, sweetness from the cranberries and crunch from the almonds. Soooo yummy! I think I'll go make some more!

Couscous Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 cup plain couscous
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 zucchini, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1/2 lb. blanched green beans, cut in half or thirds
feta cheese, as desired
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c dried cranberries
fresh parsley


1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
pinch cayenne
green onion, optional
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
1/2 clove garlic or garlic powder

Bring the stock of choice to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the couscous and cover. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until soft. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add zucchini and cook until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add green beans. Toss to coat with shallot and garlic.
Once couscous has absorbed all the liquid fluff with a fork. Add the vegetables. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Pour over the couscous. Toss with a fork so all the couscous and vegetables absorb the vinaigrette. Add the almonds, cheese, cranberries, and parsley. Toss once more. Serve at room temperature or cold!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Zucchini Appetizer from Spryte's Place

I came across the recipe for this Zucchini Appetizer quite some time ago and made it soon after. This is the perfect time to pull it out and share it with all of you! It tastes good, its a great way to use up some of the zucchini you'll have tons of in the months to come, and it's super easy to make!
Head on over the Spryte's Place for the full recipe. I'm sure you'll find something else to try too!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cranberry macadamia nut brie wontons w/ Chocolate wine sauce

I've had my fare share of computer problems lately. Once I finally got my laptop restored . . . my camera decided to take a hit. HOPEFULLY I'll get my electronics working soon so I can become a regular poster! For now, I'll post from the pictures I have on my computer.

These wontons are yummy! If you love baked brie . . . you will love these! I got the idea after I made the Jalapeno Popper Wontons w/ POM sauce and wanted to play around with ideas. I made these for a challenge with The Daring Baker's a while back.

Once you cut the brie into cubes, you MUST freeze it in order for this to work, otherwise the cheese basically disinigrates into the wonton before they come out of the oil. I love the combination of tart cranberries and the sweet macadamia nuts.

The Chocolate Red Wine sauce is yummy and super quick and easy! ENJOY!

Cran-Mac nut brie wontons

wonton skins
dried cranberries (about 3 per wonton)
Chopped macadamia nuts
brie cut into cubes
Oil for frying
small bowl of water to seal wontons
Maple syrup and brown sugar (optional)

To cut the brie into cubes, you will want to pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up. Cut the brie into cubes. You could either press the cranberries and nuts into the cheese before you freeze it OR wait until you are assembling.
Let the brie freeze until firm.
Lay out your wontons, have your water ready and your oil hot. About 350-375 degrees.
Place the brie, cranberries, and mac nuts in the wonton like so . . .

Dip your fingers into water and trace the outside of the wonton. Fold over and seal. Make sure the wonton is sealed completely otherwise you'll have a terrible mess!
Fry until golden, drain on paper towels. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with brown sugar if desired. Serve with Chocolate and red wine sauce

Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
8 oz. red wine
4 T bittersweet chocolate

Reduce red wine by half. Take off the heat and cool slightly. Stir in chocolate. Serve warm.

I've also varied this by adding some raspberry vinegar. Add a tab of butter at the end. Sweeten with brown sugar. The add ins are endless!