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
These Asian-inspired salmon burgers won’t leave you missing the beef < or > the bun. And keep this fruity and fiery salsa in mind the next time you want to jazz up grilled chicken or taco night. Serrano pepper or chile de arbol would be good swaps for bird’s eye pepper in the salsa. You can even mix some Sriracha sauce into the burgers to further punch up the meal. Skin deep Skinless fish is the only way to go for burgers. A helpful fishmonger will kindly skin fillets for you before purchase. As an alternative to salmon, you can also blend up skinless fillets of arctic char or rainbow trout.
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.