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Friday, March 6, 2015

Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms and Mixed Vegetables

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We were given two beautiful tuna steaks today and I wanted to pair them them with something that would highlight, rather than mask, their flavor. We haven't had Israeli couscous in an age, and I thought this would be a great time to start working it back into our meals. I also had a bag of it in my pantry that had to be used before it became fodder for the compost pile. My first adventure with the grain was a sorry looking mess that tasted like a lumpy gruel and looked like BB pellets. The fault was entirely mine, and normally, I would have given myself credit for the old college try and moved on to something else. However, I was sick to death of rice and potatoes, so I decided to give the couscous one more try. I looked around but couldn't find a recipe that appealed to me, but the 2 cups of couscous sitting on my pantry shelf kept nagging at me. Sad to say that most most of my creations start as failures. For those of you not familiar with the product, Israeli couscous is a small, round semolina pasta. It's sometimes called pearl couscous or maftoul, and it resembles barley or very small, white peas. I wanted to give the couscous as much flavor as possible, so I decided to toast it and use spring vegetables to give it more flavor and take it to another level. I'm happy to report my fixes worked and the recipe has achieved "keeper" status in our household. While I highly recommended this dish, I do have a small caution to share with you. Not everyone likes the chewy texture or size of these pellets. Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do about that, so do be forewarned and consider working with a smaller pasta. Here is how my version of Israeli couscous is made.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Skillet

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I just saw a cartoon that inferred, nay actually said, "If it is fast, easy and cheap, it's not food." Hah! The food police can't scare me 'cause I carry a knife and have been in the kitchen for more years than they have been alive. I've developed formidable knife skills that more than match my attitude, so they generally stay clear of me. Chop enough onions and that is bound to happen. So, whilst they while away, I went ahead and made a fast, easy and cheap meal for our dinner just to spite them. I'm happy to report it's good enough to share with all of you tonight. While I've made a few changes, my recipe is based on one that was first posted on the blog Happy Living with Tina which you can find here. This dish has the added attribute of being easy to clean up after. Everything is mixed and cooked in one skillet, so even if you choose not to make this now, keep the recipe in mind for the barely adequate kitchens that are found in summer rental cottages. I do hope that at some point you will try this. Here is how the casserole is made.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Meatless Meals - Spicy Thai Noodles

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Now that Lent is here, I'm on the lookout for untried meatless meals that promise to be delicious while remaining simple to make. These noodles met that criteria. I found a photo of them on Pinterest, and they looked so luscious that I tracked the recipe back to its source, a blog called A Small Snippet. The noodles are made with pantry items and they take about 20 minutes to prepare. I think you'll agree that meal preparation doesn't get much easier than that. I made these for myself on Sunday, and I've been enjoying them for lunch everyday since then. I did want to briefly talk to you about the heat levels in this recipe. Anyone who has been to Thailand knows that Americans and Thais have different ideas about what is hot. They have a much greater tolerance for heat and that is demonstrated in this recipe. Leana's recipe called for 2 tablespoons of crushed pepper flakes. That is hot enough to take out most taste buds in a single bite and it is meant for courageous dragons who need an infusion of gasoline to fan the flames. While one tablespoon is hot, it is not unbearable, but even that may be too much for many palates. I decided to get around this by listing the quantity of pepper flakes recommended in the recipe as a range that is measured in teaspoons to make it easier to control. The Silver Fox is out of his comfort zone when I use a tablespoon of crushed pepper, so, when I am making the noodles for the two of us, I only use 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of the pepper flakes. I suspect you already know your family's tolerance for heat, so adjust accordingly. The noodles are delicious and I do hope you will try them. Here is how they are made.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Norwegian Apple Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple Norwegian cake is all about apples. It is a "remembered" cake from the files of Hege whose blog Repolished contains a number of Norwegian recipes that she enjoyed as a child.  I decided to add her recipe to my already large collection of apple desserts because of its peasant quality. I happen to love apple desserts. Apples are always available and they keep well. Quantity purchases are inexpensive and it is hard to find desserts that cost less than those made with apples.  I use Golden Delicious apples in almost all my apple desserts. They are sweet without being cloying and they manage to keep their shape as they cook. This is a homely dessert that I'm sure can be found in any Norwegian kitchen.  If I had done an exhaustive search, I suspect I would have found dozens more recipes for this cake, but I stopped because this one seemed very authentic and the directions were a bit old-fashioned. I liked this cake and will make it again. I think salt and a small amount of vanilla should be added to the ingredient list. I added them to the recipe below. My additions are in red. Here is the recipe.


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