Mediterranean Couscous Salad and Spiced Israeli Couscous Chicken Salad

 

There are times when we just want to cook up a simple and delicious meal quickly and easily. Other times, we want to create a spectacular culinary feast for entertaining or a special occasion. Finding recipes to meet our needs can be daunting –so many cookbooks to look through and so many different ingredients. Now there is one cookbook that provides recipes for both tasty weekday meals and elegant sit-down dinners. EVERYDAY TO ENTERTAINING: 200 Sensational Recipes that Transform from Casual to Elegant by Meredith Deeds & Carla Snyder (Robert Rose Inc.; April 2011; Softcover/$24.95; ISBN: 978-0-7788-0271-6) is full of recipes that any home cook can whip up with ease for a simple, satisfying meal, or serve with confidence at a dinner party.

All the recipes in this book come in pairs. Each dish starts with the “basic” version that is sure to please. The second recipe offers a more sophisticated take on the basic, perfect for when you need something with a bit of pizzaz. For example, White Wine-Braised Chicken involves only a few simple steps and ingredients, while its counterpart, Coq au Vin, takes the recipe to the next level with a more elaborate preparation and ingredients.

Many recipes include a section titled “The Dish” which showcases important ingredients, techniques and entertaining ideas. Meredith and Carla provide confidence-building tips, drawn from their many years of teaching, which help home cooks execute the recipes with ease and style. In addition, for the time-pressed, they include hands-on and start to finish times as well as make-ahead notes.

Chapters include everything from appetizers to meat and poultry, fish and seafood, sides, and– the finishing touch — desserts. Carla and Meredith’s Everyday and Entertaining recipes include:
EVERYDAY     ENTERTAINING
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallop Skewers     Prosciutto-Grilled Scallops with South Seas Salsa
Baby Greens Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette     Frisée Salad with Warm Bacon and Balsamic Vinaigrette
French Onion Soup     Creamy Three-Onion Soup with Crispy Shallots
Macaroni and Cheese     Quattro Formaggio Baked Penne with Wild Mushroom and Pancetta
Arroz con Pollo     Chicken, Sausage and Seafood Paella
Braised Short Ribs     Guiness-Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream
White Wine Poached Pears with Rosemary Syrup and Triple Crème Cheese     Zinfandel Poached Pear Galettes with Almonds and Red Wine Raspberry Syrup

With over 200 outstanding recipes, EVERYDAY TO ENTERTAINING provides home cooks with answers to the perfect meal, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner – an everyday meal or a special occasion.

EVERYDAY Mediterranean Couscous Salad
(Excerpt from EVERYDAY TO ENTERTAINING by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. http://www.RobertRose.ca. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.)

Couscous can be a culinary lifesaver. It’s so quick to make – just 5 minutes and it’s ready to serve as a side dish, stuffing or in this case the foundation of a vegetarian salad. The mix of bell pepper, zucchini, chickpeas and pine nuts give this salad a Mediterranean feel, but it could just as easily swing into the Italian, French or California mood by substituting the vegetables, beans and herbs with whatever you have on hand.

Serves 6 Hands-on time – 30 minutes Start to finish – 30 minutes

1/3 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1-1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1-1/2 cups couscous
1 red onion, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into small dice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 can (14 to 19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups water to a boil with currants, 1tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl.

In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté for about 6 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, bell pepper, zucchini and 1?2 teaspoon of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. The vegetables should still be crispy but tender. Stir vegetable mixture into couscous with vinegar, chickpeas, parsley, pine nuts, remaining oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. Make Ahead: The salad can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated.

Spiced Israeli Couscous and Chicken Salad
(Excerpt from EVERYDAY TO ENTERTAINING by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. http://www.RobertRose.ca. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.)

Warm spices of the Middle East like cinnamon, ginger, cumin and allspice come together to perfume this hearty main dish salad. Instead of the standard couscous, here we use the larger Israeli (sometimes called “pearl”) type of couscous, which gives a chewier texture to the dish. Shredded chicken, an array of colorful vegetables and fresh herbs make it a meal. Try serving it in hollowed-out tomatoes for the perfect luncheon entrée.

Serves 6 Hands-on time – 40 minutes Start to finish – 40 minutes

1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt 1 box (8.8 oz/250 g) Israeli couscous
1 red onion, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups shredded cooked or deli-roasted chicken
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted lightly
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups water to a boil with raisins, 1 tablespoon of the oil and salt. Stir in couscous and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to bowl.

In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Sauté red onion for about 6 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and allspice and sauté for 2 minutes. The vegetables should still be crispy but tender. Stir vegetable mixture into couscous. Add chicken, pine nuts, cilantro, mint, remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Make Ahead: The salad can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated.
__________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

With over 30 years combined experience in the food industry, Meredith and Carla’s energetic approach to cooking has changed thousands of students from the “I can’t cook” mentality to “I love to cook.” Their combined passion for great food is preceded only by their enthusiasm for helping individuals gain confidence in their cooking skills via their cooking classes, books and magazine articles.

After a semester studying in Europe, it became obvious to Carla Snyder that a large portion of the world didn’t eat to live, but lived to eat. With a BA in Journalism in hand, she began a 30-year culinary journey as a caterer, cooking school teacher, artisan baker, food writer, corporate culinary event planner, cookbook co-author and co-owner of Kitchen Counter Points cooking school. Carla’s passion for all cuisines has helped thousands to get delicious food on the dinner table with more ease, fun and style.

After growing up in the restaurant business and spending two years at California State Polytechnic University’s Restaurant School, Meredith Deeds set out on a career that, 20 years later, has allowed her to cook, teach, and write (all over the country) in all places big and small. Meredith’s passion for fresh, seasonal cooking combined with her fun, energetic, “you can do it!” approach to teaching, writing, speaking and culinary event planning has not just helped hundreds of people feel good about cooking, it’s given them the confidence they need to express their own creativity in the kitchen. Meredith recently joined TheInformedChef.com as Director of Cookbook Development, working on multi-media cookbook applications for the iPad.

The duo joined forces back in 2002, while teaching at the same cooking school in Cleveland and have since written 6 books including the bestselling The Mixer Bible (Robert Rose, 2005), the James Beard nominated The Big Book of Appetizers (Chronicle Books, 2006) and the most recent 300 Sensational Soups (Robert Rose, 2008) which was chosen by Good Morning America as one of the 10 best cookbooks in 2008. In addition to their 5 cookbooks, Meredith and Carla have also written together for publications such as Bon Appétit, Family Fun, Better Homes and Gardens, Chile Pepper andCoastal Living. For more information visit their website, http://www.MeredithandCarla.com.

For More Information, Contact: Trina Kaye / The Lisa Ekus Group, LLC / 310-915-0970 / TrinaKaye@tkopr.com

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5 thoughts on “Mediterranean Couscous Salad and Spiced Israeli Couscous Chicken Salad

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