I thought I was going to cook these two dishes on Wednesday, but due to my forgetting "Meet the Teacher" night at school, I postponed till Thursday night. Armed with the usual suspects of cutting board and favorite knife, I diced, chopped, and butterflied my way to two DELICIOUS dishes from Cooking Light.
When you click that link and go the page, ignore the rating of three stars. I would give it at least 4 1/2. I must admit, butterflying shrimp made me nervous. In an effort to eradicate that nervous energy (nervous people should not use knives), I studied my cookbook, looking intently at the written directions and the corresponding pictures. I soon realized that placing the shrimp on the cutting board and cutting through that way is easier than the directions in the book. In other words, think of each shrimp as a filet of fish or breast of chicken that you're slicing in half, but do remember to not slice through all the way. I did cut the recipe in half, and I used frozen shrimp (Target: shell on, "easy to peel" 16 oz bag). I thought the frozen shrimp would not be as good as fresh, but my dear friend Susie dispelled that myth saying that frozen shrimp is the best option aside getting your shrimp directly from the boat. The recipe also calls for gratin dishes, of which I have only one. I instead took a glass pie dish and arranged my pound of shrimp on it. After a few minutes under the broiler, the result was pure shrimp deliciousness. If you don't want to serve it on pasta, simply have some crusty French bread to dip in the scampi sauce. You won't want to waste any of it!
With minimal effort, you will have a taste of Santorini. Well, at least a taste of your favorite local Greek restaurant that also uses couscous. You could do many variations of this recipe, substituting various veggies or using different olives. Some recipes online call for basil or parsley. Here's the one I used (sorry it's not online):
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups plum tomato, diced
1 cup peeled cucumber, diced
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup small kalamata olives, halved
3 tbsp onion, diced
1 (15 1/2 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous and oregano. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Combine couscous, tomato and next 5 ingredients. Combine 1/4 water, and next 4 ingredients; stir with a whisk. Pour dressing over couscous mixture; toss gently to coat. Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
The original recipe called for regular black olives, but I thought that since it had "Greek" in the name, those olives should be kalamata ones (plus I still had some from the polenta dish a few weeks ago). I think this dish would be great anytime of year, but especially in place of the classic (sometimes boring!) pasta salad. It's an easy one to whip up, and the ingredients are far from obscure. Enjoy it's fresh, simple flavors.
Here's the final presentation of both dishes:
Now to pick out this week's recipe...
That's the cover of this month's cookbook, the treasure trove of all September's creations. Yes, I am behind a week, and my atonement will be to cook Shrimp Scampi and Greek Couscous Salad. Barring a fresh cucumber, I have all I need to make these two dishes on Wednesday night and enjoy before So You Think You Can Dance, one of my favorite shows, debuts its latest season. Just wanted you to know that I'm not slacking.
So, I promise I made something new last week. Promise. I'm just a little slow in the upload of pics and update of the blog. But don't worry; this one is totally worth the wait.
I've had an old Rachael Ray magazine for a while, one of those you hang on to but you don't really know why (I totally take after my mom on this one; Southern Living is her vice). Full of many worth-trying recipes from Ms. Ray and her team of foodies, it was actually the recipe on a Ghirardelli advertisement that took my attention and eventually my oven. As I was thinking of what I'd make for this last week of August, I thought, well, why not bake a little? I have coveted my sister's KitchenAid mixer for many years, and I think I've used that as a bit of an excuse when it comes to making somewhat complicated sweet treats. And while this recipe's directions call for something I don't have (a double boiler), I would not be deterred. I thought, pondered, and voila! I improvised. See picture.
For anyone who loves the delectable depths of dark chocolate, this cook is for you. I was super excited to buy the 60% Cacao chips at Target. That Ghirardelli bag is just special, you know? From success with melting chocolate in the "double boiler" to having my roommate's boyfriend say these cookies exceed all items on a table at a recent choir event, I indeed feel quite proud of the outcome. It's pure yummy.
Ghirardelli Ultimate Chocolate Double Chocolate Cookies
If you are looking for a seriously delicious chocolate cookie, try this one. Your tastebuds won't be disappointed.
For fun, crumble on top of some banana pudding ice cream. Why not?