Spiced Couscous

3 August 2010

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 1 cup couscous (should be a type that typically cooks quickly, <= 10 minutes in boiling water)

Bring the water to boiling, then take off the heat and add the couscous, butter, 1/2 tsp pepper, and parsley. Stir the couscous so that it is all submerged, then cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes.

In a pan, saute the remaining spices in the olive oil. Once the couscous has finished steaming, mix the sauteed spices into it.

These measurements are almost completely irrelevant. Just play with them until you find ratios you like!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup rotini or medium shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese or gorgonzola
  • 4 Tbs mayonnaise (light works fine)
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • 4 Tbs chopped green onions (I found red onion works reasonably well also)

Instructions

  • Boil pasta according to instructions (should take ~9 minutes) and drain.
  • Add mayonnaise while the pasta is still hot and mix until the pasta is lightly coated.
  • Add the blue/gorgonzola while the pasta is still hot and mix so that it melts slightly.
  • Mix in the grapes and onion.

This can be served immediately or refrigerate and serve later.

Applesauce

23 October 2006

Late fall is apple season, of course. Where I grew up, in the Appalachian Mountains, people would be outside making apple butter in large vats over open fires through October and November. I don’t have an apple butter recipe for you, but I do have applesauce, which is apple butter that didn’t quite make it. The recipe’s a little loosy-goosy because of my experience with the variability of apples, but it’s pretty easy to work out as you go.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb apples (~8-9 apples, if medium-sized)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, to taste
  • 0.75 cup water, or apple cider if you have it
  • <= 1 cup sugar (borrow from your next door neighbor if necessary)
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  • Core and slice apples. Peel if desired. Cut into 0.5-in chunks.
  • Place apples in large saucepan or pot. Add 0.5-0.75 cup water or apple cider, depending on juiciness of apples. Add cinnamon sticks and cook over medium heat until apples are soft and almost mushy, stirring frequently. (This may happen fairly rapidly or may take quite a while, depending on your apples.)
  • Mash (with potato masher, a relic of a bygone era when the kitchen wasn’t tricked out like NASA Control in Houston) or blend to desired consistency — some people like chunky applesauce and some like smooth.
  • Add sugar and ground cinnamon to taste and stir.

Notes:

  • Joy of Cooking recommends seasoning with a small amount of mace. I advise against this as it only creates a bitter taste that requires more sugar to counteract.
  • Be cautious when adding sugar or cinnamon. Some apples require no sugar at all. Ground cinnamon should be required only if the apples cooked down too rapidly to absorb enough from the cinnamon stick(s). A very little ground cinnamon goes a long way in any case — dust lightly, stir, and try again.
  • If your applesauce lacks a tart zing, you can add a small amount — no more than a tablespoon — of lemon juice and stir it in to give it a little life.

Later, when I’ve worked out the recipe properly, I will try to share an applesauce cake recipe here — it’s a little dry and crumbly yet.

Sweet Potato souffle

16 September 2006

2 medium-large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the sweet potatoes (oven or microwave oven) then scoop out the insides and mix with the other ingredients before placing in a piepan.
Cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (or until tilting the pan back and forth doesn’t remind you of jello). If you’re cooking in a deeper and less wide container
(sweet potato mixture is over 1.5 inches deep) reduce heat and increase cooking time.

Topping

butter
walnuts
brown sugar

Mix the ingrediants and top the sweet potato mixture after it has cooked, cooking for a further 10 minutes at 400 degrees.