Monday, June 27, 2016

Whole Wheat Couscous with Zucchini and Pistachios

I hate being so busy that I can't keep up with blogging.  It is not so much that I cannot find the time to blog; it is that my brain is so overloaded with work that all I want to do when I am home is to plop down on the couch and watch lowbrow TV while consuming massive quantities of crap.  And all of that sucks because it is unproductive, uninspiring and unhealthy and becomes a cycle of feeling like crap which makes me eat crap which makes me feel like crap and you get the idea.  Eve at Eating Is Important recently wrote this post about World Eating Disorder Action Day and how almost every woman in America has most likely at one time or another developed some kind of eating disorder and I am no exception.  My issues tend to resurface when I get busy or stressed so the fact that I am both busy and stressed has led to an embarrassingly rapid backslide to some not so great habits from the past (ice cream for dinner, anyone?).

I am forcing myself to participate in some social activities so I do not fall completely down the rabbit hole and as always happens, no matter how much I do not feel like going out I always end up having a great time and enjoying myself so it is not completely hopeless.  But I would like to be cooking more and in particular, cooking more new and healthy dishes.  But I take what I can get and try not to be too hard on myself as that only adds to the downward direction of my spiral.

So more time than I would like has passed between posts but I have been wanting to share with you this couscous dish I created to go with my Yogurt and Harissa Roasted Chicken.  It was a perfect match for it, and it was simple to make.

It would also work really well with lamb.  Or add chickpeas for a vegetarian meal.
Home Cookin Chapter: Grains Pasta and Potatoes
makes 6 servings

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large or 3 medium zucchinis, chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried apricot (optional)*
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pistachios, chopped, for garnish

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and then the garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent and has begun to color.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, bring the vegetable/chicken broth or water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the salt and then the couscous and immediately turn the heat as low as it will go. Cook for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini to the onions and garlic and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the zucchini is just tender. Season with the salt and pepper. Fluff up the couscous and add it to the skillet with the onion and zucchini mixture. Stir everything together and serve topped with the toasted chopped pistachios.
[update]*Oops, I left the apricots out of the recipe. Add them with the couscous to the boiling broth/water.


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Monday, June 13, 2016

Coleslaw with Cashew Spread

Have I mentioned that work has gotten crazy busy again?  Well it has and I am stressing but I am determined to continue posting as much as I can this time.  No more 8-month hiatuses for me.

In my last post I showed you how to make cashew spread and I mentioned that I have been using it for coleslaw.  Using cashew spread instead of mayonnaise and raisins instead of sugar makes for a healthier dish, one that I can enjoy all the time rather than having it be more of a special occasion kind of treat.

As with most of the salads I make, this recipe is more of a suggestion in terms of ingredients and amounts and I have been known to improvise.  For example, I have been thinking this would be really good with blueberries or apples instead of (or even in addition to) the raisins.  I only recently started adding the broccoli since I made a commitment to eat more of it and have been buying it and using the florets on a weekly basis and needed to find a use for the stems.  (If I am not putting them into coleslaw I will cut them into sticks and eat them like carrots as a snack.  They are also tasty that way.)

I like using buttermilk instead of regular milk because I almost always have it on hand and am looking for ways to use it between baking sessions.  Because of the lovely tang it provides, I do not add vinegar to the dressing.  If I were using regular milk I would add a tablespoon of vinegar to it.

I cannot recommend this version of coleslaw highly enough.  I have made it every week for the past month, and have no plans to stop any time soon.  I have eaten it for breakfast, at lunch and with dinner.  Because there are no eggs as there are with regular coleslaw, it keeps for about a week (longer for me, but I tend to play fast and loose with "best by" dates.)
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes
Makes 6 large servings

1 large carrot, grated
3 stems from a bunch of broccoli, grated (optional)
1/2 small head purple cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded in the food processor*
1/2 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded in the food processor*
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 cup golden raisins (or regular, if preferred)
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch cashew spread (approximately 1-1/4 cups)
1/2 cup buttermilk (milk would also work)

*or any equivalent of 1 small head of cabbage

Combine all of the vegetables with the raisins in a large bowl and season to taste.

Stir the buttermilk into the cashew spread. Add it to the mixed vegetables and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Serve at room temperature.


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