6 servings of cooked couscous
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small hothouse cucumber, deseeded and chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 small bunch dill, roughly chopped
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped (I didn’t have any on hand but think it would complete the dish)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1. Cook 6 servings of couscous (I used whole wheat) according to the package’s directions.
2. Combine the couscous with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
This paired wonderfully with baked salmon topped with cucumber yogurt sauce:
Last year, this was the best salad. This year, some of the same elements remain, but have been reworked into the Best Salad of 2013. Unless I come up with something better. And then that’ll be the new best. I make up the rules, so…
I visited one of my best friends in Philadelphia this weekend. She wanted to make a salad using precooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, but needed some ideas. I offered to make this super easy, fresh salad that took no time to put together.
1 package precooked lentils, or about 2 cups cooked French green lentils
1 hothouse cucumber, julienne
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
5 oz feta cheese, medium dice
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently stir to combine.
I did it. I followed a recipe. And it’s one I wouldn’t have thought up on my own. Except I did make a couple of changes (does that still count?).
Instead of high-quality crab, which, let’s face it, I just cannot afford, I opted for shrimp. Both are delicate and mildly sweet and I thought the swap would be appropriate. And because I couldn’t find the chiles that were called for, I used regular old jalapenos. I stuck with lemon zest and juice, but looking back I think lime would work well with the chiles.
The combination of heat, tart, and sweet worked beautifully (yes, beautifully) with the creaminess of the sauce, which was made by combining a crap load (official term) of butter with pasta cooking liquid.
My S.S. said it tasted healthy. “Is it healthy?” No, I’m sorry. It’s not. Keep your pants on.
Though the flavors and ingredients remind me of summer, this is a surprisingly hearty pasta dish perfect for a chilly winter’s dinner. Click here for the recipe.
There is something about peas that really bothers me. Perhaps it’s that they’re not all that great. Seldom do I eat something with peas as the centerpiece and think, Damn—these peas just make me wanna take my pants off. For this reason I question my motivation to torture myself with a pea and mint crostini.
Heat frozen peas in boiling water or in the microwave until fully defrosted (they don’t have to be warm, just thawed). Combine with chopped fresh mint, minced garlic, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly squeezed lemon juice, S & P. Mash gently with a fork. Don’t puree to oblivion; we want to know we’re dealing with crappy old peas. Spread on toasted baguette and garnish with a bit more shaved or grated Pecorino.
After trying this crostini, I turned into a pea fanatic! No, that’s a lie. But I did quite enjoy the brightness of the peas, the fresh mint flavor, and the contrast of the mash to the crunch of the baguette. I’ve become less offended by the little guys, and perhaps more inclined to use them in the future.
For now, however, the pants are staying put.
Diets suck. The key is to eat less, cook more, and include plenty of fruits and veggies. That’s the concentrated advice. Trust me, I’m a dietitian. Whether or not you want to diet, I assure you you need to make this recipe for marinated zucchini before summer disappears. (Adapted from a lunch at al di la.)
Finely dice zucchini and summer squash (alternately, thinly slice lengthwise). Marinate in freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, chopped fresh mint, red pepper flakes and salt. Say what? Yes, that’s it.
This raw salad is so healthy and guilt-free, you’ll feel so good about the way you look, you’ll want to do more than just eat in your underwear.