Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black Lentil Couscous Salad with Pomegranate and Pistachios

Thanksgivukkah is almost upon us and I haven't even had a minute to think about it or plan!And if Chanukah is upon us that means my blogoversary is almost upon us and I haven't even attempted to plan for that. Basically, it's time to buckle down and get crackin' on some menus! In the meantime, I will leave you with this salad which honestly is pretty festive and might actually make a great addition to your Thanksgivukkah table. I came up with this salad for a fair we were doing this past weekend selling salads and dips and wanted to present an interesting and unique grain salad. This one was a big hit and my husband loved it so much he is hoarding the leftovers. Crunchy pistachios, sweet tart pomegranate, tiny currants, earthy lentils and light and airy couscous all with the delightful undertone of orange zest. This would be a nice change to the traditional Thanksgiving wild rice pilaf and it is officially going on my menu- one dish down, lots more to plan! Enjoy!

3 cups cooked couscous (cooked according to package instructions)
1 1/2 cups cooked black lentils
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup currants
3 Tbl parsley, chopped
2 Tbl fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Mix all together and dress with the dressing.

1/4 cup of orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients until emulsified.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mushroom and Avocado Quesadillas

This might be the easiest lunch I have ever made. I have had a hankering for Mexican food for a while and while I am obsessed with my Rice and Bean Enchiladas I was looking for something a little less time consuming, something I could just whip up for a hungry husband with little patience to wait for his meal. These Quesadillas just perfectly fit the bill. I used a sandwich maker to make them and from start to finish they took 6 minutes. Quesadillas are sort of like Mexican grilled cheese and you can add whatever you desire to them- veggies, refried beans, the works. I used what I had lying around so it was mushrooms and avocado for us. I like the addition of some salsa inside the quesadilla itself to give a little extra flavor but its important to add just a little so the quesadilla does not get soggy. I also added the salsa on top of the cheese to avoid it touching the tortilla. I dunked my crispy tortilla in some salsa and sour cream and loved every crispy, cheesy, gooey, spicy bite of it. Enjoy!

4-8 flour tortillas (depending on whether you are making them omelet tyle or traditional-see below)
3/4  cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4  cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 Tablespoons salsa
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
1 ripe avocados, sliced thin
1 tsp oil, for frying if using a fry pan
salsa and sour cream, for serving

If you are making the quesadillas "omelet" style where you will fold them over then only add the ingredients on one half of the tortilla so you can easily fold them over. If you are making them the traditional way then you place the ingredients over the whole surface of the tortilla and top with a second one. Lay out the four tortillas and divide half of each cheese mixture among them. Drizzle one tablespoon of salsa on top of the cheese and then top with sliced mushrooms and avocado and then add the second half of the cheese on top. Fold over to make them "omelet" style or add another tortilla on top for traditional style. Heat oil in frying pan and fry on one side till crisp and then gently flip over to crisp the other side. They are ready when they are crisp and the cheese is melted. Alternatively you can add them to a sandwich maker.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

What image does "veggie burger" conjure up? To me, it has always meant brown, hockey puck like discs with questionable ingredients masquerading under a cloak of lettuce and tomato as the real thing. Blech. Double blech. Not to mention most of those veggie burgers are soooo unhealthy- it is like the ultimate deception- you think you are making a smart decision to go healthier and avoid the beef and you really are eating lots of processed soy and other garbage. But let me tell you about these veggie burgers. They are soft yet crisp, flavorful and healthy, good for you and taste mighty, mighty good on a bun slathered with some roasted garlic mayo and topped with avocado and tomato. I used quinoa because I had some leftover and it adds great protein but if you have leftover brown rice, millet or bulgur lying around you can use that instead. The sweet potato adds great subtle sweetness, color and texture and the hint of spice from the chili powder compliments it nicely. No chickpeas lying around? Use black beans, or white beans or whatever you have. That is the beauty of these babies, customize them to your taste and then sit back and enjoy your top of the line, out of this world, veggie burger. Enjoy!

2 medium sweet potatoes, (boiled, baked or microwaved)
1  14 oz can chickpeas
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 zuchinni, shredded
3 Tbl oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 eggs
3/4- 1 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

In a large bowl roughly mash the cooked sweet potatoes with the chickpeas (it is ok if there are whole chickpeas left). Add the quinoa and zuchinni and mix. In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic. Once the onion is softened add it to the sweet potato mixture. Add the parsley, cilantro, cumin, chili powder and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs using as much as you need so that the mixture is not wet and holds together well but not too much that the mixture becomes dry. Form into patties and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Fry the patties in some oil until golden and crisp on each side.