Displaying items by tag: grains and legumes

Israeli couscous has a larger grain than the more familiar Moroccan version. The pea-sized wheat bits can be found in many grocery stores alongside rice and is sometimes labelled as super couscous, maftoul or pearl couscous. Unlike Moroccan couscous, Israeli couscous can be prepared in the same way as pasta, by boiling in salted water or chicken stock.


2 cups Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon butter

4 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Sprinkle in couscous. Boil for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and cook until spinach is limp. Add the slivered garlic and cream and bring to boil. Boil until cream thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in couscous and cook until couscous has absorbed some of the cream. Serves 4

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This filling dinner soup is light and flavourful.



3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

¼ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons grated ginger


8 ounces (250 grams) salmon, skinned and thinly sliced

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 cups baby bok choy, broken into leaves

4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

1 piece nori, thinly sliced

4 ounces (125 grams) udon noodles, cooked

Handful coriander sprigs

Togarashi or chili flakes to taste


Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar and 1 teaspoon ginger in a small bowl. Brush over salmon slices. Set aside.

Heat chicken stock, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions and simmer for 1 minute. Add bok choy and mushrooms and cook another minute. Reduce heat to medium, add salmon and nori and cook 30 seconds longer or until salmon is cooked.

Divide udon between 4 soup bowls. Add salmon and ladle soup on top. Garnish with coriander sprigs and a sprinkling of togarashi or chili flakes. Serves 4.

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This warm salad is a takeoff on Thai beef salad. It is both spicy and refreshing. Bean paste noodles are also known as bean thread noodles, glass noodles, cellophane noodles or mung bean noodles. They are practically transparent when cooked. Thai curry pastes are available at the supermarket.


5 ounces (150 grams) dried bean thread noodles

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

¼ cup  vegetable oil

2 New York sirloin steaks, trimmed, about 10 ounces (300 grams)


¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

1 tablespoon chopped lemon grass

1 cup thinly sliced carrot

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup snow peas, cut in half

1 bunch watercress, trimmed


¼ cup chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, optional


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Cover noodles with cold water and soak until soft. Using scissors, cut noodles in water. Drain and reserve.

Combine Thai curry paste with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and spread all over steaks.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks and sear 1 minute per side, or until browned. Place skillet in oven and bake for 8 minutes or until steaks are medium-rare.

Remove steaks from skillet and let sit for 5 minutes for juices to recede. Slice beef in ¼-inch slices on the diagonal.

While steaks are cooking combine chicken stock, fish sauce, Thai curry paste, sugar and lime juice to make sauce. Reserve.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or skillet and, when very hot, add garlic, ginger and lemon grass and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots, onions and snow peas and sauté for 2 minutes. Add watercress and noodles and combine until softened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce and bring to boil

Place noodles on platter and top with beef and any juices.

Garnish with mint and chopped peanuts, if desired. Serves 4

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I have always found fresh spring rolls to be a bit boring, but this recipe, courtesy of chef Lawrence Eels of the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Hawaii, is full of flavour. It is also light on calories and makes a perfect appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. I buy the teriyaki chicken for this, or I grill a couple of chicken breasts marinated in teriyaki sauce and then shred. Glass noodles are also known as bean thread noodles and look a little like white steel wool.


1 cup shredded Napa cabbage

1 cup shredded radicchio

1 cup shredded baby bok choy

1 cup shredded carrots

½ cup julienne shiitake mushrooms

2 green onions, chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves

¼ cup mint leaves

8 ounces (250 grams) teriyaki chicken, shredded

2 cups glass noodles, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes

½ cup Cantonese Dressing

20 6-inch rice paper wrappers


Combine cabbage, radicchio, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, green onions, coriander, mint, chicken and glass noodles in a large bowl. Add enough Cantonese Dressing to make mixture flavourful but not wet.

Cover a section of your countertop with plastic wrap. Working in batches, soak rice paper wrappers in warm water for 30 seconds and lay on plastic wrap.

Lay about 1/3 cup of filling on each wrapper. Roll up about halfway, then turn in ends in an envelope fashion and continue rolling. Cover with a damp towel and reserve. Cut in half to serve with remaining Cantonese Dressing for a dipping sauce. Makes about 20 rolls.

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If green garlic, garlic scapes or wild leeks are available, substitute them for the leeks. Artisan-made pasta, available at Italian shops or upmarket grocers, is much tastier and comes in more interesting shapes, which are perfect for this elegant dish. Parmesan gives a more subtle finish to the dish but the ricotta salata is earthier. Your choice.


12 ounces (350 grams) short pasta such as orecchiette, penne or casarecce

¼ cup olive oil

1½ pounds (375 grams) asparagus, cut in 1-inch lengths

2 leeks, white part only, sliced

1 cup green peas

3 cups baby arugula

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup shaved ricotta salata or parmesan


Cook pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Add leeks and continue to sauté until leeks are softened and asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in pasta and toss in arugula and enough cooking water to loosen slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. As soon as arugula wilts, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve topped with shaved ricotta salata at once. Serves 4.

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The idea for this rich, complex dish comes from an excellent restaurant in Phoenix called Cowboy Ciao. Buy ready-made polenta that comes in a roll. The mushrooms are left whole or torn into large chunks.



2 tablespoons olive oil

8 slices ready-made polenta


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound (500 grams) mixed mushrooms (brown, honey, shiitake and oyster)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 cup tomato purée (fresh or jarred)

1 cup whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1 avocado, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

¼ cup torn coriander leaves


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add polenta and cook for 5 to 8 minutes a side or until browned. Keep warm.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms start to exude their juice. Add garlic and chili powder and stir together. Stir in tomato puree and bring to boil, stirring. Add cream and bring back to boil.

Turn heat to medium and reduce liquid for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide polenta slices between 4 plates. Spoon sauce over polenta slices.

Combine avocado and tomato and toss with lime juice. Season lightly with salt and crumble in goat cheese. Top each portion with avocado mixture and coriander leaves. Serves 4.

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Here is a Sicilian take on popcorn, perfect for a Godfather marathon.


¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

8 cups popped corn

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in a skillet over low heat and add garlic. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until oil is garlic-flavoured. Strain oil and add Italian seasoning. Toss with popcorn.

Grate cheese over top and toss again. Serves 4.

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We used large shrimp for this dish - 20 to 25 per pound (500 grams). The sauce is excellent with pasta, too.


8 large prawns

8 thin slices pancetta

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup butter 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

3 cloves garlic, chopped

12 ounces (375 grams) chopped canned tomatoes

12 ounces (375 grams) cooked or canned cannellini beans

Pinch red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup white wine

½ cup chicken stock

4 sage leaves

4 cups baby spinach

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Remove the tail shells of prawns and devein, leaving the body shell intact. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each section of tail meat.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to a hot skillet; add prawns and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until pink and curled. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Return pan to medium-high heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, shallots, garlic, chopped tomatoes, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and white wine. Reduce liquid by half. Add chicken stock and sage and cook for about 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and spinach to pan and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon bean ragout into a bowl and top with 2 pancetta-wrapped prawns. Squeeze lemon juice over prawns and top with chopped parsley. Serves 4 as a main, 6 to 8 as a first course.

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This squash-flecked quinoa risotto is a light yet substantial accompaniment for the rich, flavourful chicken.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups diced squash (1/2-inch dice)

1 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 cup washed quinoa

½ cup white wine

3 cups hot vegetable stock or water

¼ cup whipping cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)


Heat oil and butter in a wide pot over medium heat. Add squash and sauté for 5 minutes or until squash is browned and has just begun to soften. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add quinoa and continue to sauté for 3 minutes or until toasty.

Add wine to pot and cook until liquid has evaporated. Add stock 1 cup at a time and cook, stirring often, until quinoa is still a bit firm (about 12 minutes).

Stir in cream and Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a small drizzle of white truffle oil. Serves 4.

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I love this as a topping to liven up Eggs Benedict (another option is Caramelized Onions With Spinach), but it also makes a wonderful side dish, full of spice and flavour.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard

1 small onion, chopped

1 chorizo sausage, diced

2 19-ounce (540-ml) cans cooked kidney beans

1 cup chicken stock or water

Hot pepper sauce to taste

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons chopped coriander


Heat oil or lard in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and chorizo and sauté until onions are softened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans and sauté to combine flavours, about 5 minutes.

Mash beans coarsely using a potato masher. Add stock or water and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans thicken. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce and salt and garnish with coriander. Serves 12.

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