Showing posts with label cherry tomatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cherry tomatoes. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Crunchy Green Bean, Tomato, Chicken and Pearl Couscous Salad

Just cooked crunchy green beans and ripe sweet cherry tomatoes perk up this lovely salad made with pearl couscous, augmented with chicken, and dressed with raspberry vinegar and whole grain mustard.

Once again, I’m sharing a recipe perfect for my self-imposed Salad Month. This Crunchy Green Bean, Tomato, Chicken and Pearl Couscous Salad is another of our favorites when it’s hot outside. It’s light yet, because of the pearl couscous and chicken, it’s filling enough to be a meal on its own. Or, if you want, omit the chicken from the salad and serve it as a side dish.

If you are not familiar with pearl couscous, also known as mograbia, it’s made from a moistened bulgur wheat paste which is rolled into small balls. The balls are coated with finely ground hard white wheat flour and dried. Those who still make pearl couscous in the traditional manner hand roll the balls and dry them in the sun. I bought mine in a bag at my local grocery store.

My younger daughter (and the Boxer boy) will eat green beans completely raw. I prefer mine blanched for salads but you do you. If you like them uncooked, skip the first step of this recipe. Either way, this is another instance where the ingredients are simple, but the finished dish is more than the sum of its parts. The bonus is that, if you make enough to last until the next day, this salad tastes just as good, possibly even better.

Crunchy Green Bean, Tomato, Chicken and Pearl Couscous Salad

Ingredients – serves 2 for a main meal
For the salad:
7 oz or 200g fine green beans, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup pearl couscous
1 small onion, sliced
Green onion tops, chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper
7 oz or 200g cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
Leftover roast or rotisserie chicken – two breasts or an equivalent amount deboned and cut in bite-sized pieces

For the dressing:
1/8 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Pinch sea salt
A few grinds of fresh black pepper

Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the green beans for 2 1/2-3 minutes. Drain and refresh them in some ice water so they stop cooking. Drain well.

Cook the couscous as you would pasta in salted water, boiling till the little balls are al dente, that is, soft but still with a little firmness. (Follow your package instructions for the best results.) Drain and rinse and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Toss the warm pearl couscous in a large salad bowl with the sliced onion and chopped green onion tops. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.

Shake the dressing ingredients together in a clean jar until well combined and pour over the couscous. Stir well.

Add in the crunchy green beans, halved cherry tomatoes and the chicken. Toss well. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.


Do you keep cool in summer by eating salads too? Here are a few you are sure to enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp

Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp are exactly what they sound like: Cherry tomatoes filled with seasoned feta and topped with shrimp make one of the prettiest, easiest appetizers you can serve.

Food Lust People Love: Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp are exactly what they sound like: Cherry tomatoes filled with seasoned feta and topped with shrimp make one of the prettiest, easiest appetizers you can serve.

I'd like to tell you that I made this with football games in mind but, truthfully, it was a great snack for taking on the sailboat.  I popped them in a small container and put it in the cooler with the cold beverages. Finger food and appetizers are great for picnics or celebrations of any kind!

14 oz or 400g shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 14 medium sized)
Olive oil
14 cherry tomatoes
3 1/2 oz or 100g goat milk feta cheese
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
Small bunch green onions
Freshly ground black pepper

Gently sauté the shrimp in a drizzle of olive oil until just cooked.  Set aside to cool.  I cooked them with the tails still on then took them off.  It doesn't make a difference so you can just as easily take the tails off first.

Cut the tops off of your cherry tomatoes and run the knife around the inside to loosen the flesh.

Scoop the insides out.  I used my quarter teaspoon measuring spoon, which worked beautifully.  Discard the seeds.

Cut just a tiny slice of skin off the bottoms of the tomatoes so that they will stand upright.  Lay the tomatoes, hollow side down, on some paper towels.

Mince all but two or three of your green onions.  You'll need a few kept long for garnish.

Crumble your feta cheese in a small bowl, add in the yogurt, the minced green onion and a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper.  Mix thoroughly.

Fill the tomatoes with the seasoned feta.

Cut your remaining green onions into short lengths.  Poke a piece of green onion into the feta.

Put one shrimp on top of each filled tomato.  Press gently to stick the shrimp down.

Food Lust People Love: Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp are exactly what they sound like: Cherry tomatoes filled with seasoned feta and topped with shrimp make one of the prettiest, easiest appetizers you can serve.

Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp are exactly what they sound like: Cherry tomatoes filled with seasoned feta and topped with shrimp make one of the prettiest, easiest appetizers you can serve.


Visit all the other Appetizer Week Blogs for more Snack Time Deliciousness:

Pin these Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp!

Food Lust People Love: Feta-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Shrimp are exactly what they sound like: Cherry tomatoes filled with seasoned feta and topped with shrimp make one of the prettiest, easiest appetizers you can serve.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Broccoli Chicken Couscous Salad

Lean chicken breasts pan-fried till golden, lightly steamed broccoli, tomatoes and radishes in a quick lemon yogurt dressing with red chili makes a tasty, healthy meal after weeks of indulgence. 

This salad is made up of the vegetables I had on hand so please use the ingredient amounts as a guide and feel free to substitute your favorites, add more or omit whatever doesn’t suit you.

Ingredients (to serve two as a main course or four as a starter)
For the salad:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Olive oil
1 cup or 150g couscous (medium grain)
1/2 medium-sized head of broccoli
9-10 small sharp radishes
9-10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup or about 50g sprouted mung beans
Large handful cilantro or fresh coriander leaves

For the dressing:
Juice 1/2 large lemon (about 1/8 cup or 30ml)
1 small purple onion
1-2 small hot red chilies
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1/8 cup or 30ml olive oil
Sea salt

Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and season liberally with salt and the ground cumin.  Stir it around so the pieces are seasoned all over.

Heat up a non-stick skillet and pan-fry the chicken until golden on all sides using just a tiny drizzle of olive oil.   Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Put a pot of water on to heat for steaming your broccoli.

Cut the broccoli into florets then cut the florets in quarters.

Steam them until they are still crunchy.  This takes just a few minutes.  Remove your steamer with broccoli from the hot pot and set aside to cool.  Reserve the water for making the couscous.

Put your couscous in a pot or metal bowl and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add just enough boiling water (From the broccoli steaming pot, if you’ve plan ahead!) to cover the couscous plus a bit extra.  Put the lid on and leave it while you get on with the rest of the salad.

Slice your radishes and halve your cherry tomatoes.  Chop the cilantro very roughly.  You want some nice big leaves still.  Finely mince the red chilies and thinly slice your onion.

In a bowl that will be big enough for tossing your whole salad, add in lemon juice, the onion and the chilies.  Let them steep for a few minutes.  This takes the sharpness out of the onion and infuses the juice with the heat of the chilies.

Add in the plain yogurt and stir.   Now drizzle in the olive oil and stir well.  Give the whole thing a small sprinkle of salt.  Set aside.

By now your couscous should be done.  Remove the lid and fluff it up with a fork.  Leave the lid off and allow it to cool further.

Add your radishes, tomatoes and mung beans to the salad bowl.

Heap on the couscous.

Toss well to coat everything with dressing.  Now add in cooled broccoli and the cilantro.  Toss again.

Finally, add in the chicken pieces and toss for the last time.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pan-fried Chicken with Bacon and Asparagus

A great, quick one-pan meal: pan-fried chicken with bacon, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, black olives and basil. Deliciousness on your plate in under 20 minutes! When you pan-fry chicken with bacon, the resulting salty stickiness creates its own delectable sauce, especially when you add a little butter and white wine at the end.

Back in 2002, I met a new love. He was witty and adorable in a crooked-tooth sort of way with a cocky grin and an easy manner that drew me in. We met almost daily, me with pen and paper in hand, ready to take down the words of deliciousness and technique that tumbled from his rosy lips as easily as his broad sunshiny smile.

It was the start of a beautiful relationship that added joy and laughter and good food to my life that has continued to this day. And he is not just a pretty face that could cook! Oh, no! He is also a philanthropist, educating young, at-risk men and women so they can earn their way and learn to be part of a team, bringing misfits into the fold of the tight culinary world.

He also aspires to get the world cooking healthy meals for their families and to bringing real food into the lunchrooms of schools, to better nourish and educate our growing children.

So I guess you all know I am talking about Jamie Oliver, right? Anybody else in love with him too?

Our Sunday Supper theme this week is one-pot meals and two of my favorites come from a single episode of Jamie’s show Oliver Twist, which first aired in 2003. Unfortunately the original has been taken off the internet. I make today’s dish almost exactly as written, only increasing amounts depending how many are coming for dinner.

Substitutions and variations
I’ve also been know to substitute fine green beans for the asparagus when they are out of season or hard to come by. The ingredient amounts are flexible, depending on your appetite so, by all means, if your pan is big enough, add more tomatoes or asparagus (or green beans) if you are extra hungry. I also use my huge non-stick pan to make this for four or six, doubling or tripling the amounts you see here.

Pan-fried Chicken with Bacon and Asparagus

Ingredients to serve two
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 slices smoked bacon, preferably thick cut
2 good handfuls asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off (or substitute green beans)
16 cherry tomatoes
10 Kalamata olives, stones left in
Handful basil leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine

Cut the thick end of the chicken breast into three relatively even pieces. I loved this trick when I first saw it and use it in other recipes now. It helps the breast cook faster and more evenly since the thick part is cooked when the thin part is. Season the breasts on both sides with a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a large (at least 12in or 30cm wide) non-stick frying pan and add a drizzle of olive oil. Put the chicken breasts in, round side down and pan-fry for two to three minutes or until the breasts are a lovely golden brown.

Turn the breasts over and lay one folded bacon strip on top of each. Add the asparagus, tomatoes and olives into the pan.

When the other side of the chicken is golden, which takes just a couple of minutes, carefully flip the chicken breast back to the other side, along with the bacon. You want the bacon to crisp up. It took mine only four minutes, so keep an eye on it. Your heat should still be up high so that the asparagus and tomatoes get a little charred on the bottom. Toss them around gently with tongs.

Turn the chicken back over so the bacon is on top again and add your basil and the butter. Add in the white wine and remove from the heat.

Give the whole pan a gentle shake so the wine and melted butter mix and the basil wilts. Jamie suggests smashing a few tomatoes to make a sauce, but I find that the sauce is lovely just as is from the butter and white wine and the sticky bits from the pan-frying bacon and chicken.


This is not only a great one-pot meal, but it lives up to the name of Jamie’s episode title, which was Flash in the Pan. I timed this and from the moment I cut the first chicken breast until the photo when I am dripping on the sauce on the plate, was 18 minutes!

If you’d love to see all the other great one-pot wonders the Sunday Supper group have for you this week, join me and our host, the talented Amy Kim from kimchi MOM,  and click on the links below.
Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters
“Put meat on your bones” Stews
“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes
“Can’t say no” Desserts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Halloumi, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

Here’s the part where I am supposed to tell you a lovely story about this salad and how to make it.  And I surely will!  But today is special because, for the very first time, I am guest blogging at Cooking with Books for the talented Marnely.  At first, I was nervous to put my virtual hand up when she was looking for guest volunteers because food bloggers who are actual qualified chefs sometimes intimidate me.  But Marnely isn’t like that at all!  In fact, I connected with her through two Facebook groups.  One is all about professional development but the other is called The Cookbook Junkies.  How can you not like someone who would join a group like that?!  Truth be told, it is not a self-help group because we tend to encourage each other in our addiction - sharing new cookbook finds and good-naturedly competing for cookbooks giveaways - but isn’t that how bonds of friendship form?  I knew at once that she was my kind of people.  First of all, she is into food.  Secondly, she is an expat like me, since she moved from her home in the Dominic Republic to live in the United States.  Lastly, and this may be my favorite reason of all, she has written a love letter to beets.   As a lover of beets, I only wish they could be a staple in my home.  Deep sigh. 

So hop on over and read my post and have a browse around Marnely’s site.  I know you are going to love her too!