Warm salad of carrots, lamb, and leek

September 28, 2010 § 3 Comments

Fall is a time of transitions, and what better reflects seasonal shifts than a warm salad that combines the crispness of fresh vegetables with the savoriness of meat? This meal or appetizer has a bit of a French twist: thyme gently infuses the richness of the lamb; champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil make a classic vinaigrette for the multicolored carrots; pine nuts add some Mediterranean nuttiness; and then a hint of mint because, well, lamb and mint go great together…and I had some from the farmer’s market, which is always a source of seasonal inspiration.

While in Vienna during study abroad in college I ate a carrot salad that tasted completely different thanks to spices and herbs typically associated with Austro-Hungarian cuisine, so while the base ingredients of leeks, carrots, and lamb might stay the same (though you can certainly change those up too!), you could switch up the flavor using different oils, spices, nuts, and herbs and never serve the same salad twice.

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Pan-fried tilapia with caramelized shallots

September 22, 2010 § 7 Comments

So, to follow up on the cranberry beans and lemon couscous from the previous post, as promised here is the recipe for pan-fried tilapia with shallots. I love tilapia because it’s easy to cook, and even people who say they don’t like seafood often find they like tilapia. Plus, often it can be bought in bulk and then frozen. However, any other white fish fillet could easily be substituted depending on what you have around, or what your fishmonger has in stock.

I love the contrast between the silky fish, the tangy shallots, the butter, and the hint of lemon from the couscous, along with the tender beans, but of course you can definitely serve this with a nice leafy salad, or maybe some crusty bread and green beans…basically, anything you think would go well with butter and caramelized shallots would go great with this dish. « Read the rest of this entry »

Cranberry beans with lemon couscous

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

Where did the summer go? All that free time that I used for cooking and hanging out vanished with the sudden arrival of autumn, with its early dusk and brisk winds and schoolwork. Two weeks after the start of classes I realized I hadn’t even posted my last end-of-summer recipes! Thankfully though, these cranberry beans with lemon couscous are a great way to enjoy the last beans of summer, yet are still hearty enough to warm up with on a cool early-fall evening. Of course, if you don’t have fresh beans either from your garden or the farmer’s market, dried beans can easily be substituted; just be sure to soak them overnight.

Cranberry beans are, I think, named for their beautiful reddish-veering-on-fuchsia coloring. Sadly it cooks out, but peeling the beans is very simple, if time-consuming, so I recommend asking someone to help. Or sip a glass of wine while shelling; it seems very pastoral and idyllic…or that might just be the wine talking! Anyway, once the shelling is done, these beans go great with lots of dishes and are quite simple to prepare. If you like to cook in batches, these two dishes store well and go alongside lots of other dishes, or the beans and couscous can be the star in their own right. « Read the rest of this entry »

Eggplant with goat’s milk feta

September 7, 2010 § 3 Comments

…also known as ThereIsNoFluffy‘s Eggplant. I changed the original recipe a tad, but the concept remains the same: combine eggplant, onions, garlic, basil, mint, and enjoy. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I added in some rosemary, roasted the onions and garlic with the eggplant, and added in goat’s milk feta from the farmers’ market.

This dish is a great snack or appetizer to go with fresh bread. It also goes well with roasted chicken, for dinner, as a side dish that can go in the oven for almost the same length of time. Other variations to try: grilling the vegetables, or tossing the eggplant with pasta. No matter how you make this eggplant dish, I think you will enjoy it!

First, get some eggplants. I used small ones from the farmers’ market, but you can easily do this with a larger one; simply cut the eggplant into equal-sized pieces. I do find that smaller eggplants tend to be sweeter, but this will definitely work with any type or size of eggplant.

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