Tag Archives: couscous

Moroccan-Style Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Capers

It begins with a mea culpa. I thought that preserving Meyer lemons would be foolish. They’re slightly sweet, I thought, they are too floral to be packed in salt and preserved like yellow pickles. The wife disagreed. I told her to find a preparation or commentary about preserving Meyers and within all of five minutes she had found several, including the one we used from The Gourmet Cookbook.  The tome claims that the floral delicate nature of the Meyers makes them especially apt for preservation.

Who knew? Read More

Stracciatella of Tarragon, Semolina Flour and Pecorino Cheese

I have to say that I kind of love the habit of coming home after a weekend trip to Pennsylvania and indulging in a soup and an eggy dish. We did it back in August with gazpacho and our ugly-but-delicious tortilla, and after Thanksgiving we toasted to our uneventful Amtrak ride with lovely stracciatella and a simple fritatta. As we worked together to make the meal, both Michael and I started to channel Nigella Lawson a bit because both of these dishes seemed like ones you might see on one of her many BBC programs: fast, loaded with vegetables but all with a heavy does of indulgence. There may have been some bad British-accented commentary going on as we cooked, but I won’t say for certain. All I will confirm is that dinner came together in very short order that night–and that’s something, I think, we could all use in this otherwise hectic time of year. Read More

Grilled Cornish Game Hen with Roasted Asparagus

I’m going to be honest.  For whatever reason, the night I made this meal I was scared.  I was scared of my wife.  Why?  Honestly, I don’t remember.  Maybe I had made roasted chicken the previous weekend, maybe because I didn’t think E was up for asparagus… frankly, I’m not sure.  How do I know what I felt if I cannot remember the circumstances leading to the evening in question?  Simple.  I made couscous.  Couscous is my offering to the gods of egalitarian epicureanism in my own kitchen.  Whenever I think the Mrs. won’t necessarily pick up what I’m putting down, I put some couscous under that stuff. [Ed.--This put a smile on my face after a rather lousy commute this morning. Well done, sir.] Read More

Grilled (and perfectly brined) Pork Chop with Garlic Scape Pistou over Couscous

I have to say, when dinner becomes such a lovely picture you’ve gotta write something about it.  [Ed.--in all fairness, those perfect grill marks made me want to take a great picture.]  My pork brine has been touted many times over on this site but for purposes of clarity and focus, one final time: Read More

Chimichurri over Brined Pork Chops with Citrus Couscous.

Usually, traveling for me is reserved to hopping onto an Amtrak to visit either my family or Michael’s or both over a weekend and eating on the road is relatively infrequent: a bag of pretzels at the Montvale travel plaza here, maybe the errant late lunchtime meal at Maggiano’s in King of Prussia there.  We might bring some cold food on an Amtrak train or get some snacks in the cafe car, but ultimately, dinners were made by either one set of parents or the other–so aside from snack foods or the quick breakfast bagel I didn’t identify with the corporate traveling culture.   Read More

Panko-Crusted Cod with Mushroom, Garlic and Parsley Couscous

Panko-Crusted Cod with Mushroom, Garlic and Parsley Couscous

I really wanted Michael to write about this so he could explain how he used up some leftovers from this meal, but as one of the meals that he had right before he got sick last week, he didn’t want to look at it–negative associations and all that.  Since I fortunately was not stricken by a fever following this meal, I will sing its (and his) praises instead.

I’ll be honest:  we’re not always the best about saving things like bones, or shrimp shells, or the like, and when we do, we always forget about them and therefore never use them (a habit I’m working on breaking).  This, therefore, is a rare example of us really stretching our resources and ending up with a pretty tasty dish to boot.  There was excess mix, along with the stems, from our recent stuffed mushrooms dish lying in the fridge and Michael mentioned that he wanted to do something with them, like throw them into a veggie broth or similar.  It sounded reasonable enough to me, and I promptly put them out of my mind until I came home Monday night to see him whipping up a garlicky mushroom topping for the panko-breaded cod and couscous.

Not only was I thrilled that we had stretched our fridge contents to make two meals from one recipe, but the two applications naturally tasted completely different from each other:  here it was light an unassuming, while the originals were dense morsels of toasted goodness.  Needless to say, it took most of my willpower to not wolf it down that night so I’d have lunch the next day, but it was hard to do–and a delicious reminder to always find ways to re-purpose ingredients that you otherwise would be tempted to throw away.

Updated with video!

A few days ago Michael surprised me by presenting me with the most perfectly brined pork chops along with this Cuban-inspired mojo, and they were insanely delicious.  When approached about doing another segment for Connecticut Style, this emerged as a fast front-runner–especially since we can make couscous extremely quickly.

So here it is:

Sauteed Shrimp with Mango Mojo over Couscous

Serves 2-4

  • 1 mango (1 cup), peeled and diced
  • Leaves of one small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 T honey
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño chile pepper
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous
  • Salt and pepper
  • chopped mint

For the  mojo:  Combine mango, cilantro, half of the lemon juice, honey, garlic and jalapeño into a blender; pulse until blended and smooth.  Set aside.

For the couscous:  Pour one cup of water into a saucepan, and add a generous pinch of salt.  Swirl the pan to dissolve, and then place over high heat to bring to a boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, add couscous, swirl to make an even layer, and then remove from heat and cover for at least five minutes.  Use a fork to fluff and remove from pan.

For the shrimp:  Toss the shrimp with the remaining half of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Using a medium-sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the shrimp to the pan, keeping them all on a single layer.  The shrimp are finished when they turn pink, about two minutes, and then take them off of the heat.  Add them and all the joy from the pan to the couscous, toss with sauce, top with the mint and serve.

Greetings one and all.  Today we (finally) get around to posting the next installment in our foreign film-inspired-dinner series.  This time, selected Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night (originally la nuit américane).  Set in the French countryside, this movie-about-making-movies is a modern classic.  To mirror the flick that night, we opted for a French Bistro menu, straight out of Anthony Bourdain’s modern classic, The Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking.

There are plenty of clips from the movie available on the youtube, but below please find a loving tribute to the ideas and style of the film in the form of a hilarious AmEx ad by Wes Anderson.

We began with a simple mushroom soup consisting of little more than the beloved fungus, some onions,  butter, finished with a touch of sherry.

Mushroom Soup with Sherry

Mushroom Soup with Sherry

We found another pork shoulder recipe in this beloved tome, and dissatisfied with my first attempt, we struck out again (Avid readers may remember this trial being referred to already in the Cuban Sandwiches post.  Yes, this was the shoulder that born those self-same cubanos, consider this exposition for the sake of completeness or perhaps ret-conning, if you like.)  This shoulder wasn’t slow-roasted via oven, but rather simmered in our dutch oven for several ours with a crust of homemade breadcrumbs and mustard.  Pork Shoulder is a bit fatty, and a little on-plate surgery may be required when the finished product finally makes it to the table, but it’s completely worth it.

Pork Shoulder, browned and ready to stew.

Pork Shoulder, browned and ready to stew.

Breadcrumbs...before they were breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumbs...before they were breadcrumbs.

Pork Shoulder resting...

Pork Shoulder resting, breadcrumbs cooked on. Ah, the circle of life...


Pallette de porc à la bière, avec du couscous et des légumes braisés

Pallette de porc à la bière, avec du couscous et des légumes braisés

Above is the finished plate (consideration for authentic French titling provided by Elizabeth).  Onions, carrots and garlic from the roast pot decorate a little couscous, a holdover idea from the first attempt.  I highly recommend Bourdain’s book, Truffaut’s  film and any pig’s humble shoulder for a Saturday night that’s humble and exotic, relaxing and exciting.

Cod fillets, fresh from the oven

Cod fillets, ready for the oven

Baked Cod with Mushroom "Bolognese" over Couscous

Baked Cod with Mushroom “Bolognese” over Couscous

As we all know, I have grown very fond of Cod. Cod scores well across the board in the mercury, sustainability, nutrition and taste categories. I snagged a great pair of Cod loins from my boy Mo, but just slightly burnt out on Cod Tacos, I decided to try something new.

My friend Kathy was leafing through a fish cookbook at lunch on Monday afternoon and after annexing said text, I was quickly directed where to go that night. Cod Baked in Onions, recipe follows:

  • 1-2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Cod Loins, totalling less than 1 lb
  • 1 onion, sliced into circles (I used my mandolin, but careful slicing with a knife will be fine)
  • 3+ cloves of garlic, slivered
  • 1 bunch of herbs (I used thyme and a little sage, but dill also is good on fish)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Salt and pepper the cod (I also sprinkled on some Zahtar spice blend), squeeze half the lemon over the loins and let them sit for 15 minutes. While waiting, saute the onions over medium heat in the oil until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes., adding the garlic with about 2 minutes to go to keep it from burning.  Let them cool and place half into a baking dish, forming a bed. Then place the loins atop the onions, positioning the herbs between the fishies. Cover with the remaining onions and stash in the oven for 25 minutes. Spoon over the onions and squeeze on the lemon.

The side that night was a recipe from Tom Colicchio ‘s book, How to think Like a Chef. He proposes this fantastic cooked vegetable dish he calls a mushroom Bolognese (a traditional chunky meat tomato sauce). I don’t want to reproduce the recipe here, but it’s a conglomeration of several kinds of mushrooms and a slew of yummy veggies that’s quite unusual. We served it over couscous and it was very delicious. We really love his book here in the TBYK kitchen and recommend it to everyone.


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