Hello? Summer calling…

 summer salad, corn, tomato couscous, basil lemon dressing
Hello Summer Salad

Israeli Couscous, Corn, Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, Jalapeño
Chunky Lemon Basil Dressing, Chervil

I forget how much I like Israeli couscous. It’s airy, toasty, and kind of fun. Perfect for summer. This roasted pasta is shaped like little balls and popular with kids in Israel where it’s called ptitim, we know it here as Israeli couscous. It makes a pasta salad that’s light and not too pasta-y. Vegetables are the star, but the couscous makes it into a meal. A beautiful colorful healthy meal for a hot summer day…

Continue reading “Hello? Summer calling…”

Rosh Hashanah 5770

Dinner for A Sweet New Year

Crispy Rosemary Chicken Paillard and
Grilled Apples with Truffle Honey
Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Walnuts

Israeli Couscous Side Dish
Roast cubes of butternut squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook Israeli couscous. Add squash, baby spinach leaves, toasted chopped walnuts to the cooked couscous. The spinach will wilt in the hot couscous. Season with salt and pepper, finish with a drizzle of roasted walnut oil.

We are celebrating the Jewish New Year 5770
which began last night at sundown.

Squeeze lemon juice on sliced apples, then brush with olive oil. Grill over high heat.

Make breadcrumbs out of day old baguette, add fresh rosemary, pulse to combine.

Have you tried air-chilled chicken? During processing, the USDA requires that the carcass temperature be lowered to 40 degrees within 4 hours to retard the growth of bacteria. Usually chickens are placed in an ice bath with chlorine for about an hour. In contrast, air-chilled chickens are sprayed with a chlorinated water and laid out on a track under refrigeration. Some say this method is safer, less contamination with other chickens. The meat definitely has a different texture from not soaking in water for over an hour. And they say the skin comes out more crispy with the air-chilled birds too.

These boneless skinless chicken thighs are from Whole Foods Market. I usually prepare this dish with chicken breasts but tried thighs this time. These air-chilled chicken thighs were the best ever. So flavorful and moist.
I put the thighs, one-by-one, in a ziplock bag and pounded them with a mallet to a uniform thinness. Seasoned each with salt and pepper, dusted with flour, dipped in egg, and coated with the breadcrumb/rosemary mixture.

Sautéed until golden brown over medium-high heat in canola oil.

Truffle Honey
La BOUTIQUE de la truffe

The Italian Truffle Honey is made of acacia honey and white truffles 3% (tuber albidum pico). In addition to the fabulous truffle carpaccio I served with heirloom tomatoes, La BOUTIQUE de la truffe also produces this dreamy truffle honey. Drizzle the truffle honey over the chicken and apples.

“the truffle is the very diamond of gastronomy”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
This truffle honey gives the chicken and apples complex intriguing flavors. Simultaneously sweet and earthy and exotic. It rocks! The open jar of honey was sitting on my counter top, truffle aromas filled the kitchen. (Link to these preserved truffle products here).

Crispy Rosemary Chicken Thighs Paillard
Grilled Apples with Truffle Honey

Wishing You a Sweet New Year
L’Shana Tova!
To observe Rosh Hashanah, traditional foods sweetened with honey and apples are served. They symbolize sweetness, blessings, abundance and the hope for a sweet year ahead.
L’Shana Tova Tikatevu

May Your Name be Inscribed in The Book of Life
For a Good Year
Last year’s dinner here.

Another Colorful Side

Colorful Side Dish #3
Spinach and Feta
Israeli Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo, Red Quinoa

Sauté chopped garlic, chopped scallions, and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add fresh baby spinach to wilt. Season to taste.

Toss spinach mixture with cooked Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo, and red quinoa. This blend is called Harvest Grains Blend and is available from Trader Joe’s. Crumble feta on top. This recipe was inspired by one in Gourmet magazine some years ago, they made theirs with Acini di Pepe (tiny pearl pasta) and used frozen spinach.
Something New at Home

I am very excited about this change that cost nothing but makes my home feel dramatically different for the new year. I switched the dining room and family room. The former family room is considerably larger and has a fireplace in the corner. I moved the dining table here so now there is a more open and casual space for dining, and we can eat in front of a beautiful crackling fire.

The former dining room is now a cozy den. The chandelier which was above the dining table is above the coffee table, so you can still walk by without hitting your head. Makes a great spot to sit and read cookbooks! I also switched some artwork around, and that has freshened up some of the other rooms in the house.
Have you made any changes to your home or kitchen for the new year?