This is a great vegetarian dish, or it can be paired with meats such as lamb, rabbit, or poultry. Israeli couscous is a small, round, toasted semolina pasta that should not be confused with the tiny yellow North African couscous. Sauces stick to it perfectly!
1 cup (250 mL) Israeli couscous
2 cups (500 mL) vegetable stock
2 large organic carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp (10 mL) unsalted butter
1 cup (250 mL) prunes
1 tsp (2 mL) honey
1 cardamom pod
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
1 pinch dried chilies
Salt and pepper
Cilantro to garnish
Toast couscous in a 325 F (160 C) oven until lightly browned.
Heat vegetable stock to a simmer.
In small saucepan add carrots, butter, pinch of salt, and just enough water to cover carrots. Cook at high heat until carrots are soft enough to break easily with the back of a spoon, then purée and reserve.
Poach prunes in 2 cups (500 mL) water with honey and cardamom until soft.
In medium saucepan sweat onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil (over low heat and covered with a tight-fitting lid). Add cumin seeds, chilies, and couscous. Add enough simmering stock to cover the couscous and gently simmer, stirring occasionally. As the liquid reduces, keep adding enough to cover and cook until just tender. Season to taste.
To serve, combine couscous and carrot purée. Top with poached prunes and cilantro.
source: "Prunes", from alive #342, April 2011
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.