Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing

Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing
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Dressing
  1. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Couscous
  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Israeli couscous, sometimes called pearl couscous or maftoul
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  5. 12 ounces grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or baby heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, halved (about 2 cups)
  6. 4 ounces (about 1 cup) feta, coarsely crumbled or chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  7. 1 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  8. 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  9. 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  10. 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  11. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. For the couscous: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, cheese, peppers, parsley, almonds and mint in a large bowl. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

One Pan Farro and Tomatoes

One Pan Farro and Tomatoes
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1 cup farro
  3. ½ large onion (use white for mildness)
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 9 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes
  6. 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  7. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less to taste)
  8. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  9. Few basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  10. Grated parmesan, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak (5-10 minutes is enough) while you prepare the other ingredients. Adding each ingredient to the pot as you finish preparing it, cut onion in half again, and very thinly slice it into quarter-moons. Thinly slice garlic cloves as well. Halve or quarter tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and set a timer for 30 min.
  2. Bring uncovered pan up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. When the timer rings, the farro should be perfectly cooked (tender but with a meaty chew), seasoned and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. If needed, though, cook for additional 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a wide serving bowl. Drizzle farro lightly with additional olive oil, scatter with parmesan and basil.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Smears and Dips, Slathers and Spreads; Ode to the Condiment by Kelly Sears

I confess, I have a condiment problem.  At any given time, our refrigerator looks more like an apothecary than a cooling unit, filled mostly with big jars, little jars, half-filled jars, and jars chock full. There are smears and dips, slathers and spreads all just begging for the star protein or vegetable to give it life and make it shine.

 

We all have our favorites.  Bright, spicy, smooth, silky, or chunky, condiments are the pop, the surprise, the little something extra that elevates ordinary to extraordinary.  Condiments work because they help us achieve balance.  When making any dish, we strive for balance to make that dish a success.  Balance comes from the ying and yang of tastes like bitter vs. sweet (dark chocolate brownies) or sour vs. salty (sour cream onion dip with chips).  Richness, temperature, and texture also play a part in keeping the palate scale level.  Yet balance can’t always be achieved by one component alone; enter the condiment!

 

Let’s start easy.  Ketchup and mustard are two of America’s most popular condiments so let’s examine why they work.  Vinegar give both their tang, both are bitter and acidic with sugar, salt and spices in the blend.  Usually served with burgers, brats, sausages or other grilled meats, the richness of the meat gets relief from the acidity (so you don’t feel like you are eating a stick of butter straight up!).  The meat is usually hot, the condiments cold; ketchup and mustard are smooth while the meats have some tooth.  Thus without even knowing it, balance is achieved just by eating a burger with the works.

 

Now let’s take another step up, relish, pickles, mayonnaise, and barbeque sauce. Again, these work just like ketchup and mustard to even out the flavors of the base component.  Fatty ribs love barbeque sauce, creamy mayonnaise and blt’s are great friends, and what perfect Chicago dog isn’t topped with a pickle or relish.  Starting to make sense?

 

Okay, we’re on a roll, so let’s not stop there.  A condiment doesn’t have to be just a store-bought accompaniment to food; a condiment can also couple as a solid component to a dish.  A condiment can be a dip, drizzle or dollop over a vegetable, a slice of meat, or on grilled toast to add sparkle and spice to the final dish.

 

I feel you starting to apply the brakes – work zone ahead!  I know its summer and the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time in the kitchen. So don’t!  Make a stop at the butcher and pick up some proteins for the week, visit your favorite farmers market for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and you’re almost there. We can whittle the kitchen time down to about an hour for two of my favorite condiments. Each one can be made and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week and each has multiple uses depending on your main course selection and meal time constraints.

 

Pepperonata plays nice with chicken, beef, and pork; it’s delicious added to Italian sausage, both on a bun or on a plate.  It can be a stand-alone side dish (although the true definition of a condiment is that it isn’t eaten by itself. Sssh, I won’t tell) or I like to serve it on grilled toast with a smear of ricotta or burrata.

 

The green goddess, although technically a dressing, qualifies as a smear, a dollop or a slather. It wears so many hats. This creamy green goodness is the perfect match for summer’s first bacon, lettuce and tomato; add a slice of avocado and a hard-boiled egg for an extra dose of flavor. Green goddess skips happily along when drizzled over garden fresh (or someone else’s garden!) lettuce, dolloped on cold shrimp, slathered on a roast beef sandwich, or served as a dip for roasted or raw farmer’s market fresh vegetables. A great way to utilize those fresh herbs in your garden, green goddess will make your taste buds happy.

 

The simplest definition of a condiment is that “it imparts flavor onto another food.” Beyond that, it gets subjective.  Make your own rules, combine your own flavors, find your own balance and enjoy a dip, a drizzle, a smear or a dollop of your favorite condiment.

Pepperonata (Caramelized Onions & Peppers) & Green Goddess Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. Pepperonata
  2. 2 large onions, julienne
  3. 3 large red peppers, julienne
  4. 3 large yellow peppers, julienne
  5. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  6. 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  7. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  8. 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley
  10. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  11. Green Goddess Dressing
  12. 1 ½ cup mayonnaise
  13. ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  14. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  15. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  16. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  17. 1 garlic clove, rough chop
  18. 1 anchovy filet
  19. Buttermilk for thinning (or regular milk works fine too but I like the tang buttermilk brings to the dish)
Instructions
  1. Pepperonata
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onion, oregano, red pepper flakes, and peppers until lightly golden; this should take about 20-25 minutes, longer if you want them super caramelized and sweet. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in basil, parsley, and thyme.
  3. Green Goddess Dressing
  4. Blend mayonnaise and all other ingredients in a food processor or immersion blender. Thin with buttermilk. The consistency should work for your intended purpose. This will vary per application, thicker for a smear or a dollop, thinner for a dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, adjust and enjoy!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Frizzled Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Walnuts

Frizzled Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Walnuts
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Ingredients
  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. 1 clove garlic, smashed
  3. Pinch of crushed red pepper
  4. ¼ pound pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
  5. ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  6. 1 pint Brussels sprouts, stemmed and leaves pulled apart
  7. Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil; add the garlic and red pepper and bring to medium heat. When the garlic has turned a lovely golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, remove it from the pan and ditch it. It has fulfilled its garlic destiny!
  2. Add the pancetta and walnuts and cook until the pancetta is crispy and brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and toss to combine. Season with salt, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sprouts have wilted.
  3. Remove the lid, raise the heat to medium-high, and let the sprout leaves brown and “frizzle”, 8-10 minutes more. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Adapted from Anne Burrell
Adapted from Anne Burrell
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/