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Tag: currants

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all purpose
¼ cup evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mixture of raisins, cranberries and currants, chopped
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed or powdered
4 tablespoons super cold butter, cut into little pieces
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400.
Grease a large cast iron skillet or a 10 inch cake pan.

Transfer the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl, whisk together. Add the butter and mix briefly with fingers, incorporating the butter. Add the raisins mixture, zest and fennel seeds and mix well. Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl and whisk well and refrigerate until needed (the key is to have this liquid as cold as possible) Add the liquid slowly to the dry mixture while mixing it with a fork. Once all the liquid is incorporated, gently mix everything with your fingers and form an 8 inch round loaf and transfer to the cast iron skillet or cake pan. Mark the top with an ‘X’ with a knife about ½ inch deep.
Bake for 20 minutes in the oven and check if the top is getting too brown. If it is, then top with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Take out of oven and keep the foil on till it cools off.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Currants

I’ve almost stopped cooking white rice… I am able to transform brown rice into so many different dishes, that I don’t end up missing white rice. Try this one and you will be surprised!

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Heat a heavy saucepan with the butter, add the rice and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook on a low medium heat with the lid mostly on the pan for 10 minutes or till the water has cooked off from the surface. Cover with lid and lower the heat to a very low and continue cooking for at least 20 minutes or till the rice is cooked through. Fluff the rice with a fork and let it cool.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Salt

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the green onions, garlic and cumin and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. Add the almonds and currants and sauté for a minute. Add the cooled rice and sauté on medium heat. Add salt, parsley and mint. Mix well and taste for seasonings. Serve warm.


Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower and Dill

The roast chicken from yesterday was served on this yummy concoction..

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the broth and salt. Bring to boil, add the couscous, cover with lid and turn the heat off. Let it sit for 10 minutes, take lid off and fluff with a fork. Keep aside.

  • 1 small cauliflower head (I used a broccoflower), cut into florets
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt

Place the florets on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix well and roast in a 400 degrees oven for 30 minutes. Take out and keep aside.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • ½ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. Add the currants, roasted cauliflower and cooked couscous. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until everything is incorporated and heated through. Check for seasonings and add salt if necessary. Garnish with dill and serve.


Greek Style Eggplant with Pine Nuts and Feta

This is a yummy dish for meatless Monday. It has delicious roasted eggplant flavored with mint, cinnamon, tomatoes and feta. It is a great side dish or a dip with warm pita bread!

  • 1 pound eggplant, I used small ones, sliced ½ inch thick
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt

Place the sliced eggplant on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle some salt. Broil under medium heat turning the slices once till both sides are golden brown- about 10 minutes. Take out of oven and keep aside.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • Salt
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup dill, chopped
  • ½ cup feta, crumbled

Add the olive oil to a heavy saucepan and add the mint and cinnamon. Cook for 15 seconds on medium high heat and add the onion, garlic and pine nuts. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and currants. Saute for another 5 to 6 minutes. Add the eggplant and salt to taste. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the parsley and dill. Once the dish is completely cooled off, add the feta and mix well. Serve room temperature.

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch squares
  • Salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup mint, chopped

Heat a frying pan with the olive oil. Add the pine nuts and currants and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggplant and stir. Lower the heat and cover with lid and cook for ten minutes. Take the lid off and add salt and cook for another ten minutes, stirring constantly. Check for seasonings. Add the cilantro and mint. Serve warm or room temperature.

Tomato and Egg Salad with Arugula

Tomato and Egg Salad

I was at Whole Foods and the farmer’s market today. Every where I looked, I could see tomatoes in abundance. I mostly buy the cherry or grape tomatoes- they make fabulous sauces and are great to cut in half for sandwiches or salads. Today the orange and green tomatoes were just too tempting and I decided to spend the big bucks to buy the colorful tomatoes. My first thought was to pair them with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil- it’s my husband’s favorite. I wanted to make something different- but couldn’t come up with anything. 

I came home and as dinner time came around- hunger levels were not too high. I thought of tossing the tomatoes with some salt and eating them as a meal- but then as I was putting the eggs in the fridge- egg salad came to mind. 

I boiled a few eggs and cut the tomatoes. I added mayonnaise and dijon mustard to the mix. Some salt, lemon juice and pepper finished it off. I asked my husband to bring some thyme from the back yard for the salad.  I always like a little burst of sweetness in my salad- currants came to mind. 

I dressed the arugula simply with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The tomato and egg salad was served on arugula with a garnish of currants. It was simply delicious- a whole meal with greens, protein and fabulous tasting tomatoes. It was a perfect end to the day.

  • 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 eggs, full boiled, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Add the tomatoes and eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and fresh thyme. Mix well careful not to break the tomatoes. Keep aside.

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, about a tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons currants

In a large platter, add the arugula. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the salt and pepper and toss the greens. Add the egg and tomato mixture on top. Garnish with the currants and serve.

Garlic Chicken with Pancetta served with Couscous with Pine nuts and Currants

garlic-chicken-with-pancettaI was watching food television the other day and saw someone make chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. It looked delicious but it seemed quite labor intensive. I have been meaning to make this dish for a while but have been lazy – so I made it simpler. I decided to use less garlic- it takes too long to peel 40 cloves. I used one head of garlic instead and it was more than enough. I also coated the chicken pieces with seasoned flour before I browned them. I saved a step by doing this- I don’t have to take the chicken out and make a roux separately. I also decided to add pancetta for an extra layer of flavor – boy, what intense flavor bacon gives to a dish! Everything is good with bacon! The fresh thyme is a great addition- it brings a very earthy flavor to the dish. I served the chicken with couscous that I made with pine nuts and currants. I usually add golden raisins to my savory dishes- never used currants before- well I am a fan! They are great tiny little balls of sweetness and go really well in the couscous. My daughter who usually takes the raisins out, somehow didn’t mind the currants in the couscous. I added a little extra chicken broth to the dish so we can enjoy extra sauce with the couscous. 

So, since the dish didn’t have any vegetables, I was planning on serving a salad. I had baby arugula in the fridge and decided to make it simple and add some lemon juice and salt. It suddenly occurred to me maybe I should serve the seasoned arugula on top of the dish! What a brilliant idea- actually it’s not mine- I have seen it many times on food television– they usually add seasoned greens on pizza, pasta, etc. Well it is a great idea- it tasted fantastic!  The lemony arugula was perfect with the creamy chicken and the sweet couscous. It really was a brilliant dish and I think great for company. We drank a Riesling with the chicken- the same one I used to make the sauce. It stood up to the strong flavors of the chicken dish but was light at the same time. It was a very enjoyable meal indeed- nothing better in life than to enjoy great food and wine with the people you love most! 

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