Tuesday, January 27

Couscous with Zucchini & Feta

A versatile dish that can work as a side or stand alone meal

Sprouted Kitchen Couscous with Zucchini and Feta

I know that the other side of the country is experiencing a blizzard right now, but it's been sunny and summery on the west coast. The weather really controls what I feel like cooking and eating, and  the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time over the stove on a warm weekend day. This couscous from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook is a fresh and quick-cooking dish that can act as either an all-in-one side dish to any grilled or roasted meat or as a complete meal for a light lunch. Zucchini is technically in season during the summer, but I can find it at my farmers' market year round. It adds a hearty vegetable component to the couscous, which I love because it takes care of serving both a starch and vegetable. This recipe is very forgiving and can be served hot, room temperature, and even after a few days of sitting in the fridge as leftovers.

Note: I recently discovered French sheep's milk feta at my local Whole Foods and have become obsessed with it. Compared to other feta cheese, especially cow feta, it has a creamier texture and a much more complex (almost nutty) flavor. Look for it at your supermarket and prepare to be amazed.

Related Recipes:
- Couscous with Pine Nuts & Preserved Lemons
- Grilled Swordfish & Zucchini Skewers
- Grilled Zucchini Salad

Couscous with Zucchini & Feta:
- 1 box (10 oz.) couscous, preferably whole wheat
- 3 large zucchini, diced small
- 1/3 c. feta,* diced small
- 1/4 c. chopped basil
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. red chile flake
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until almost smoking.
  • Add in the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, or until browned and tender.
  • Meanwhile, bring 2 c. water to a boil in a saucepan, stir in the couscous, cover with a lid, and turn off the heat. Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  • Transfer the couscous and zucchini to a large bowl and let cool a bit.
  • Stir in the herbs, vinegar, remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil, red chile flakes, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Gently stir in the feta and taste for seasoning.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves six (side dish)
*Preferably water-packed sheep's milk feta.

Monday, January 26

Scrambled Eggs Florentine

Start your morning with a protein-packed egg and spinach scramble

Scrambled Eggs Florentine

One of the things we've been trying to do to be more health-concious is to eat more nutritious breakfasts. It's not that difficult during the weekdays (although I did get into a pretty serious croissant phase over the holidays), but the weekends are tough. We generally go out a lot and usually pick up bagels before heading out to do whatever activities we have planned for the day. It's quick, it's cheap, and it gives me a break from cooking, but it's certainly not the healthiest option. These scrambled eggs are a much better alternative and are still a quick and easy breakfast option. It takes less than ten minutes to make them and only dirties one pan in the process, so it's even doable for a workday. Serve with a piece of whole wheat toast or an English muffin.

More Ways to Eat Spinach:
- Sautéed Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts
- Mini Spinach & Onion Frittatas
- Green Smoothie

Scrambled Eggs Florentine:
- 5 eggs
- 3 c. loosely-packed baby spinach
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- red chile flakes

  • Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add in the baby spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until wilted.
  • Remove the spinach to a bowl and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. 
  • Let the spinach cool slightly, then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Roughly chop the spinach and set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, a large pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of red chile flakes until light yellow in color.
  • Heat the skillet over medium high heat and melt butter in it, swirling the pan to coat the entire bottom and sides with the butter.
  • Pour the eggs into the pan and gently stir until the eggs are mostly set but still a little runny.
  • Stir in the spinach, scallion and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with goat cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves two

Thursday, January 22

Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Savory biscuits flavored with three types of herbs and cheddar cheese

Cheddar Herb Biscuits

There are many perks to living in Southern California, and not having to deal with a cold winter is one of the best ones. We had beautiful spring-like weather over the weekend, which was a great excuse to host brunch in our backyard with a few friends. I ended up serving a bunch of different foods to cater to guests with different tastes - a mix of sweet and savory, naughty and virtuous, hearty and light. These cheddar herb biscuits (from the Huckleberry cookbook) were eaten by all, either as a sandwich with scrambled eggs and sautéed greens or on their own with butter and honey.

The biscuits are very simple to make and no special tools or ingredients are required, but you have to have a little faith. The dough is quite crumbly and a little tough to come together, but freezing the biscuits before baking helps to keep them intact. Don't over mix and you'll be left with super flakey and light biscuits that can be pulled apart into buttery layers.

Related Recipes:
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Buttermilk Cornbread
- No-Knead Bread

Cheddar & Herb Biscuits:
- 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
- 1/3 c. buttermilk, cold
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp. chives, minced
- 1 tbsp. dill, minced
- 1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp. whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- fleur de sel

  • Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add in the butter and quickly work it into the flour with your fingertips until the butter is pea-sized.
  • Add in the buttermilk, cheddar, herbs, and parmesan and stir to combine.
  • Quickly dump onto a clean surface and use your hands to flatten it out and then mound it together in a ball a couple times only - do not overwork the dough.
  • Pat the dough into a 1" thick rectangle and cut out the dough into biscuits. Pat the scraps back together to cut out the remaining biscuits.
  • Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least two hours.*
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Take the biscuits out of the oven and put on an unlined baking sheet.
  • Whisk the egg together with a splash of water (or cream, if you have it) and brush on the top of the biscuits. Immediately sprinkle the tops with fleur de sel.
  • Bake the biscuits for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve.

Makes eight biscuits

*At this point, you can wrap the biscuits tightly in plastic wrap and keep in your freezer for up to one month.