Israeli couscous with butternut squash and cilantro sauce

January 6, 2012 § 26 Comments

Let’s take a moment to reflect on couscous, shall we?  My family, as I recall, seems to have discovered couscous some time part of the way through my tenure in high school.  I don’t know how my mother stumbled on it or decided to purchase it, all I remember is that she served it for the first time for supper one day (alongside pork tenderloin and acorn squash if my memory serves me correctly, which it tends to when it comes to meals), and it felt like the epitome of novelty.

I was certain we were eating something flashy, exotic, new, the food equivalent of getting the first version of the iphone, right when it came out.  And this fit in lockstep with my budding epicurean ideals – which back in high school, I’ll admit, were more about the appearance of sophistication and taste than anything else.  High school.  Jeez.

Back then we just ate the Middle East brand couscous with the spice packet mixed in.  That was fancy enough for us.  (to extend the iphone metaphor: my phone gets internet!!!  Oh my gosh!  It totally doesn’t matter that it can’t seem to actually make phone calls most of the time…)  But, as couscous has completely mainstreamed, I think most of us have come to expect a little more in the preparation of this tiny noodle. « Read the rest of this entry »

Vindaloo curry with parsnips and halibut

November 21, 2011 § 5 Comments

Yes, vindaloo with parsnips and halibut sounds, well, weird, for lack of a more graceful word.  But it tastes really quite amazing.  So, you should give it a chance.

It’s alternate name is fish-nip-aloo, which, of course, really makes it sound awesome.

Actually, I rather like the name fishnipaloo for the dish.  It’s quirky.  It sounds a bit like the name of a Bollywood dance, and that fits this particular curry incredibly well.

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Spinach pancakes with mint-lime yogurt sauce

January 6, 2011 § 18 Comments

I’m really into “nibbles” right now.  Ooh, doesn’t that just sound shee-shee and a little obnoxious when I say it?!  “Why yes, dah-ling, I’m ever so posh, and I just adore nibbles.  Don’t you?”…Oh well.  So be it.  Because I am.  First off, I love the way the word sounds.  It’s so much more fun than “hors d’oeuvres” (which is nearly impossible to spell, anyway), and way more fun than “small-plates.”  I suppose I could go with “tapas”, but I just like “nibbles” better.  And, of course, I also love eating them.  In my mind nibbles are dishes that are small but immensely satisfying.  Bites that explode with flavors and textures in your mouth!  And because they are just little mouthfuls, you can have a wide variety of them in one meal, giving you a chance to sample a bit of this and a bit of that without finding yourself bursting your belt buckle by the end of the evening.

Because of this, lately I’ve frequently been finding myself creating meals that feature a spectrum of nibbles rather than a single coordinated main dish with sides.  Especially for parties (which there was a rash of lately.  What’s that about??!  Joking.).  You can coax your nibbles into a lovely unified theme, if you wish.  All Italian or Eastern Asian, perhaps.  But, because you eat each piece separately you can also give in to the desire to have a profusion of flavors with morsels representing cuisines from across the globe, or maybe just from your imagination.

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