Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Israeli Couscous Salad

Even though you are not a vegetarian, and for sure not a vegan, have you wondered lately that what you are consciously cooking might be...could be vegetarian, or vegan?...well it happens to me a lot, without even thinking or planning it, do to the fact that I always have fresh veggies on hand and like to use them up with whatever I happen to think of making. Same goes for the dry beans, and for the canned beans, rice, lentils, and couscous that I like to prepare to have around as a snack, or a side dish!

Israeli couscous is made of small, round pearls of pasta. Similar to regular couscous, it resembles a grain but is made of wheat flour. Because of its large surface area, it holds sauce well and is very versatile; Israeli Couscous can go in soup, be baked, served as a pie, or made into a risotto. It is widely used in the Middle East, and in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. So delicious with cooked vegetables or used as a side dish with stews. It has a nutty flavor, and it does not get a sticky texture when it is cooked properly. I love to eat this as a cold salad, but you can eat it warm as well!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baba Ghanoush

As you can see, from my previous eggplant posting, that we love eggplant, of any kind, but Baba Ganoush, the Middle Eastern dish is one of our all time favorite. It is easy to just simply roast in the oven and cut it open, let it cool a little, and scoop out all that goodness from the pulp. Just chop it up with a potato masher, and add all the nice spices that it calls for...and don't forget the Tahini!

 Baba Ghanoush

2 large eggplants
1/4 to 1/2 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lemon
a pinch of ground cumin
a pinch of dry oregano (fresh is even better)
salt and pepper to taste
a small handful of fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup brine-cured black olives, or Kalamata olives

On a baking sheet, line aluminum foil, prick the eggplants all over with a fork, drizzle with a small amount  of vegetable oil and roll it around, so that it's all covered with the oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 35t-45 minutes and test to see if it's soft. (It has to be totally soft.)
Remove from the oven, and cut in half, as show in photo, let it cool a little before scooping the pulp out. Place the eggplant in a bowl, and with a potato masher mash it to a nice paste. Add the Tahini, the garlic, the spices and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a nice serving dish and drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the parsley, and place the olives around the sides. Serve with toasted pita bread, or crostini. Naan is very good too to serve with. Serves 6.

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