Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Couscous Salad

I got home late last night and did not have time to prepare one of those elaborated meals I like to cook for my family so, I checked the pantry and the fridge and decided to make a couscous salad with what I had.  

A short story about couscous for those who are are not familiar with it.  Couscous is originally from North Africa, more specifically from Morocco. Couscous is a grain product made from semolina.  It cooks really fast and it is very light.  There will be no guilt when you finish your meal. 

This recipe is all mine. 

  • One cup of whole wheat couscous
  • One cup of water
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup black olives, roughly shopped
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly shopped
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Organic Blue Agave
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Sea salt (if desire)
  1. In a saucepan bring water to boil with the salt, once boiling add the couscous, stir and remove from heat.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  I removed it from the pan to a serving bowl and put it in the freezer for a faster cooling. 
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and agave until completely mixed. Then add to the dressing the tomatoes, cilantro, peas, black olives and combine well.  
  3. Once the couscous is cold, add to the salad mixture and combine well.  The reason I wait for the couscous to be as cool as possible is to prevent the cilantro from wilting.        
It is that simple.  There are many variations to this salad, all of them delicious.  Please, try this at home and don't forget to share your experience.   

Buon Appetito!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Slow-Cooked Curried Brown Rice Green Lentil Soup

During the week we are eating light without sacrificing flavor.  I refuse to eat tasteless meals just because I need to lose weight.

Among my kitchen prized possessions I have a crock pot.  It can also be called a slow cooker.  If you do not have one, I recommend you to buy one.  For us working women is very convenient, we put everything in it before we go to work and come  home to a meal ready to be served.  In any event, I purchased mine in 1995 so they last, because I use mine frequently.

A few nights ago we were in the mood for something hearty.  This time I went to India for that.  This is a delicious recipe, low in calories and very satisfying.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 12 oz pack of Green Lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups of brown rice
  • Curry powder (I make mine at home)
Ingredients for the Curry Powder:
  • 3 pods Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Bay leave

Roast Fennel and cardamom until fragrant. Ground them and mix with the other spices to obtain the Curry Powder.


  1. Place lentil, brown rice, onion, vegetable broth, water, bay leave, spices into the crock pot, stir and cook on low for about eight hours. 
  2. Toss the Bay leave before serving*.                                                         

When you come home the aroma of this delicious soup will make you smile and you will know that dinner is ready.  Please make this soup, you will not regret it.  

*I don't remember how this came to me but always, before I am going to toss the bay leave, I close my eyes, suck on it and I ask for a wish.  It is supposed to be for good luck.  

Please let me know your thoughts. 

Buon Appetitto!


Last Weekend at Valia's

Last weekend we had a dinner party at my friend's house.  It was unbelievable!  Her husband, Leo, was craving foods from the South and we fulfilled his desired.  We prepared such a feast that I am still savoring it a week later.

In this post, I will showcase all the dishes and I promise you that I will come back with all the recipes individually because each of them is a star.  Here we go:
Photo by Laura
Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

My mouth waters just by watching these pictures.  I know yours will too.  It was a  wonderful night among wonderful friends and plenty of great food.  

Buon Appetito!