Spring Vegetable Couscous

Now that asparagus and fava beans are in abundance, I decided to make this simple dish for our dinner tonight – it is easy to make and you can use almost any combination of vegies that you have available.

1 cup pearl couscous
2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade or plain water
1/2 lb asparagus, woody ends removed
1 lb fresh or frozen fava beans, shelled
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 small shallot, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Serves 2-3
1. Saute shallot in butter, 1 tbsp olive oil and turmeric over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until translucent and soft.
2. Add couscous, chicken broth or water and salt and bring to a boil – reduce heat to medium and let it cook for 3-5 minutes until the broth has completely been absorbed and then, set it aside.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat, cook shelled fava beans for 2-3 minutes, transfer to a colander and then cool under cold running water. Drain, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat a pan grill over high heat for 2 min until very hot.  Mix asparagus with a little salt, pepper and the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.  Pan grill for 1-2 min, remove from heat and let it cool.  Cut asparagus to smaller pieces.
4. Gently mix all ingredients and add salt or extra olive oil to taste.

Wheat Berry Salad

Another vegetarian wonder dish that will keep you satisfied for hours – this recipe is inspired from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking 

1 cups soft wheat berries, rinsed
4 cups vegetable/chicken broth
2 tsp kosher salt and more if needed
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp light olive oil or any vegetable oil
1 small bunch of green onions
3 generous handful of spinach leaves, stemmed and well rinsed
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Grated zest of 3 oranges and the juice of two
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or more to your preferred taste
salt and pepper
Serves 4
1. Saute onions with 2 tbsp oil until golden and then add wheat berries, broth or water and 1 tsp salt in a saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boill, lower the heat and simmer covered until plump about an hour and 30 minutes
2.  If there is any broth left, drain and season the berries to taste with more salt, if need be.
3. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients
4. Toss wheat berries with the spinach, pine nuts, citrus dressing, then top with the feta and add more salt and pepper, if needed

Salmon with Crisp Chilli and Ginger Salad

I love Salmon.  In fact, when it comes to fish, Salmon is what I have almost all the time – I know …. I am very boring.

The first time I tried this recipe was at my friend’s house, Lila.  I loved the freshness of this combination and found out that the recipe was from one of Donna Hay’s cookbooks called Flavors.   As I have all Donna Hays cookbooks (I love the photos in her books) and had not ever made anything from those books, I thought it was time to try this one – it is easy to make, tasty and looks beautiful.

4 pieces salmon filet

Juice of 2 or 3 limes

2-4 tbsp peanut oil

4 large green chillies, seeded and thinly sliced

4 large red chillies, seeded and thinly sliced

4 tbsp shredded fresh ginger

1/2 cup fresh thai basil

1/2 cup fresh mint

1/2 cup fresh cilantro


Serves 4
1. Place oil in a frying pan over high heat, add the chillies and ginger and cook 5-7 minutes until crisp.  
2. Remove the chillies and ginger from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.  Set aside.
3.  Use the same frying pan and oil, heat to medium, add the salmon to the pan and cook for 2 mintes each side or until cooked to your liking.
4.  Toss the chillies and ginger with the basil, mint and coriander.
5.  Place the salmon on plates, top with the chilli salad and drizzle over the lime juice.

Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

This is an easy, nutritious and delicious soup for fall and it freezes very well.

1 cup Wild Rice, rinsed
1/2 cup lentil, rinsed
1/2 cup barley, rinsed
1/2 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 large onion, shopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
Serving 4-6

1. In a soup pot over medium heat, saute onion for 3-4 minutes then add garlic and mix; you can separate a small amount of saute onion and put it aside for garnish
2. Add wild rice, barley, salt, pepper, turmeric and chicken broth to the pot – let is simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes
3. Add sliced mushroom, lentil and all the herbs, mix well, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.  Feel free to add extra chicken broth, if the soup is too thick.
4.  Serve over

Summer Salad

If you are looking for a filling salad with a crunch, this is it.  This salad is great on its own or you can add Collard greens which are tougher and can handle the weight of the vegies.

Serving 1-2

4      small pickle cucumbers, cut according to your taste
1 bunch green onions or 1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2  avocado
2/3 cup chopped fresh cauliflowers
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper (or tomatoes, whichever you have available)
2-4 thinly sliced lemons or limes (optional)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup of toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt or more if desired
Mix all ingredients and wait 10-15 minutes before serving.

Fennel and Pistachios Salad

I love fennel and here is an extremely simple salad that you can make with fennel, radishes and pistachios or any other roasted seeds you have available.

Serving: 1-2

2 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
1 bunch of radishes, quartered
2 cups baby kale or Arugula (optional)
1/2 cup roasted pistachios chopped
4 tbsp White Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
fresh grind pepper
Mix everything together but the greens  and let it sit for 10-15 min.  Add the greens, mix and serve.

Zucchini and Quinoa Flapjacks

My daughter has recently become Pescatarian and since my son is not crazy about fish, I look for ways to add protein to our dishes.  This recent discovery was well received so I decided to add it to my recipes.

For those of you who are not very familiar,  Quinoa, although not a gain, looks very much like one and has some amazing qualities.  It is a great source of protein, contains eight amino acids, helps to build muscle, promotes weight loss and stabilizes blood sugar. Hopefully I will discover more dishes with Quinoa soon.

Servings: 2-4

5  Zucchinis
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs – you can also just use egg whites
1/3 cup oil (I use light olive oil)
1/4 cup Quinoa

1. Bring 1/2 cup of water and Quinoa to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.   Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.  Set aside.

2. Grate the zucchini using a coarse grater and place in a colander.  Fold in the salt and leave to stand over a bowl for 30 min to allow the moisture to drain.  Rinse and thoroughly wring out the zucchini.

3. Mix Zucchinis, eggs and cooked Quinoa – generously grind pepper in the mixture

4. Heat a layer of oil in a nonstick skillet.  Using a tablespoon, drop heaps of this mixture into the hot oil.  Using the back of a spoon press against the flapjacks to make them a little flatter.  Turn them over after approximately 3 minutes or when they are golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and continue to pan fry until you run out of mixture.

Today’s quotation:  ” … living is like licking honey off a thorn.” Louis Adamic