Couscous is a grain and a staple throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The boxed, pre-steamed versions you can find in the supermarket makes it a convenience food and an alternative to rice or pasta. Serve it as a side with meat either plain or mixed with vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts.
Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category
For a refreshing summer salad, combine cucumber, avocado, and mint with a little olive oil and lime juice.
We’ve been holding our church services at Spontaneous Celebrations, a community center in Jamaica Plain. I was standing outside after the service in the bright sunshine with Rebecca and Jenny when I noticed there were huge bunches of mint growing between the sidewalk and the bottom of the stairs.
Mint can take over a garden like an invasive weed, so I had no qualms about helping myself to a bunch of mint. It’s wonderful to not only have a mint in a vase to perfume the air but also to keep it handy to chop into salads, or add to a glass of refreshing ice water or lemonade.
As a city dweller, I don’t have the luxury of stepping outside onto the cool night grass to fire up the backyard grill and fill the air with the smell of smoky burgers, marinated chicken breasts, and melt-in-your-mouth salmon fillets.
So when the urge strikes for a bit of warm salmon to toss into a salad or serve alongside tender-crisp asparagus I turn toward this technique for oven-roasted salmon perfected by America’s Test Kitchen. It is hassle-free and provides some consolation to the fact that it is illegal to grill off my deck three stories up. (Apartment and condo dwellers across Boston break this rule all the time but my condo association happens to be very, very vigilant. My next-door neighbors moved in not knowing this rule and days after they had set up their brand-new grill they were harassed for months until they finally found a buyer for it.)
A few weeks ago I received a cookbook to review: “The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook” by Matt Kadey. With summer temperatures in Boston this year especially sultry for days and days on end, tonight seemed like a perfect time to test out one of the recipes.
Flipping through breakfast, starters and sides, main dishes, and desserts, Peach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette caught my eye. Fresh peaches, prosciutto, mozzarella, mint, dried cherries, and almonds drizzled with a chocolate dressing? What’s not to like? And it was considered a main dish. Chocolate for dinner, hooray!
Do you ever have one of those days where everything just comes together without even trying? It has something to do with fruit being ripe and in season. Like perfect mangoes.
I had a perfect mango encounter last Friday.
I was going to meet up with some friends for a “dp” (dinner party) in the neighborhood. I texted my friend Nate to see when and where.
Me: Dp tonight? Heading home now.
Nate: Sure. But I’m also up for going to free Fridays at the museum of fine art and eating here (I’m here now — it’s great)
So that’s how I ended up at the Chihuly: Through the looking glass exhibit at the MFA.
Just like that. I wandered over there and then wandered in, because it was free and all.
I had an epiphany at the Boston Local Food Festival on Saturday. I was standing in line at a farm stand, arms overflowing with vegetables, bright sunshine bathing rows of colorful vegetables in white light, and listening to the jangle of banjos from a Cajun band playing on a nearby stage when I realized: Why can’t buying produce always feel like this?
Going to the grocery store, bracing against its uncomfortable chill, wandering aimlessly in aisle after aisle of fabulously packaged goods competing for my attention as Top 40 music wails of love gone wrong – simply fills me with dread.
Would I consider buying kale in that kind of environment? No. Would I consider it in a sunbathed pile while a smiling farmer stands nearby? YES. (more…)