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Archive for May, 2009

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Happy Birthday.  

Has it been sixteen years, already? 

I’m very proud of you. 

Love, 

Mummy x x x 

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This was Little One’s favourite for a very long time in England. I brought it home from Sainsbury’s in Truro one day, just to give it a try. It was gobbled up in a flash. For years I couldn’t pass Sainsbury’s without calling in, to get her Special Salad. In England it is called Moroccan Cous Cous Salad. It has heat from chilli oil, but coolness from feta cheese. A great combination.  

Once we moved to America, poor Little One had to go without, until I was able to reproduce it, as closely as possible.  

This toasted cous cous is from Israel, but is the same product. I found it in the Kosher aisle. 

Here is what I’ve come up with.

Israeli Couscous

Israeli Couscous

 

Little One’s Toasted Cous Cous Salad with Chilli Oil and Feta Cheese


1 packet of Isreali Toasted Cous Cous

1 tin of Chick Peas, (Garbanzo Beans), rinsed

1-2 bunches Green Onions, washed, trimmed, and finely chopped or Purple Salad Onions. We like a lot of fresh onion. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Chilli Oil or Chilli Flakes

Fresh Lemon Juice

1 bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, washed, destemmed, and finely chopped

1 handful Mint, finely chopped

1 small block of Feta Cheese, cut into small cubes, not crumbled. Use more or less according to personal taste

Salt and Pepper 

Soak the cous cous in boiling water, cover, and let stand. It doesn’t need to be cooked. Add less water than recommended as you will want the cous cous to be a bit dry, as you will be adding lemon juice and oil later on.  

Once the water has been absorbed, and the cous cous has cooled, add the chick peas, 2 serving spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice to taste, onions, chopped parsley and mint, salt and pepper.

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Drizzle a tiny bit of chilli oil, but go slowly, as it is very potent. Taste for seasoning. This salad absorbs quite a bit of oil and lemon juice, so don’t be afraid, be generous. 

Lastly, add the chopped feta, mixing carefully, so as not to break up the cheese too much.  

Let it stand to allow the flavours to develop, for at least half an hour.  

It is delicious either cold or at room temperature. 

Toasted Cous Cous Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

Toasted Cous Cous Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

I have vegetarian friends who don’t eat diary, so for dinner one night, I made the salad, leaving out the chilli oil and feta cheese, substituting pomegranate seeds.  It looked, and tasted beautiful and is a great, vegan alternative. 

 

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This is another family favourite that doesn’t hang around for long. I ate mine with the golden beets that I brought home from the Farmers’ Market on Saturday. 

Delicious. Easy. Lovely for hot days, summer lunches, and picnics. 

Happy Memorial Day, 

Hug a Veteran, 

Myrtle.

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Aimee’s Wisdom

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I agree with the little girl who once said,

“The whole point of camping is make us appreciate our nice, comfy beds.”

I love the outdoors, so long as I come back in when I’ve had enough.

Myrtle.  

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Striped Tulips

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Red and Yellow.  

Two of my favourite colours. 

M.

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Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

 Although I haven’t done much cooking this week, it has been fun to go food shopping lately.  The other day I happened upon these fiddleheads, and couldn’t leave the market without them.  They are a classic Spring Wild Food, good for you and very tasty.  It has been years since I’ve had any. 

It is important to get your fiddleheads from a reputable seller, or, if you are gathering them yourself, make sure that you bring along an identification guide with photos.  I only say this as Ostrich Fern fiddleheads and Bracken Fern fiddleheads look very similar, but Bracken Ferns are not edible.  

I cleaned them and stored them, but just didn’t have the time to cook them with anything special, so I decided to steam them and have them as nibbles.  I also nibble steamed green beans and asparagus the same way, as they have a similar, crisp texture and fresh taste. They can be served in any dish that would be suitable for asparagus or green beans. Fiddleheads should not be eaten raw, as they do have a slightly bitter taste, which goes with a touch of cooking. Raw fiddleheads can give you an upset stomach as well. 

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They look fabulous. 

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I simply popped fiddleheads into a silicone steamer.  I only steamed them for a couple of minutes. Please, please, please, don’t over cook them.  Light steaming keeps the crunch, and loses the bitterness. 

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The second they are done, pull them away from the heat, and plunge them into ice water. This stops the cooking process, and helps to keep the colour bright. 

Once cooked, they will keep for several days, although it is best to eat them as soon as possible, as with any green vegetable. Although I love them plain, are are very good with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of basalmic vinegar.

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This was my delicious snack this afternoon.

Fresh fiddleheads, fresh bread, and fresh goat’s cheese from the Barn Goddess stand at the Phoenix Farmers’ Market. 

 

The fiddlehead season is short, as once the ferns start to unfurl, they are no longer edible.  So, keep your eyes peeled the next time you are at your local market.  They won’t be around for long. 

Happy eating. 

Myrtle. 

 

P.S. Here is a useful website with information about wild foods and fiddleheads – http://www.wild-harvest.com/pages/fiddlehead.htm

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Dear Reader, 

It never rains, but it pours. I was reminded of this expression many times this week. 

It has been a bit mad. The kids are winding down for the end of the school year, First Born is turning 16, so primping and pampering was organized, had a few housing showings, and the pool turned bright green with the high temperatures.

Then the heavens opened, the rains came, and the ceiling came down.  Again.

We need a new roof.  

Still, with the rains, the temperature has dropped to a lovely 86 degrees, I had to put a cardigan on to ward off the chill. 

When my lovely neighbor asked if I would like to come with her to the Public Market in Downtown Phoenix, I welcomed the chance to forget my troubles for a few hours.  

It was great fun, with lots of fresh produce from local farms, beautiful food products from local producers, as well as  flowers and local crafts.  

So, here are a few things that I picked up today.

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Some fresh flowers. 

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Some fresh herbs and pickles.

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Some olives stuffed with smoked almonds, Dilly beans,

and Bread and Butter pickles with chillies. 

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Some fresh salad onions and golden beets. 

 

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Some fresh, colourful eggs from carefree hens.

And more.  Much more. 

It’s a great market, with lots of variety, and something for everyone.  

I highly recommend a visit. 

Myrtle. 

 

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P.S. Here is a great magazine that details farm fresh, local food in the Phoenix area, season by season, http://www.ediblephoenix.com 

Public Market, Saturdays 8am – noon, Wednesdays 4pm -8pm, at Central Ave. & McKinley, Phoenix. 

PhoenixPublicMarket.com

 

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Amusing

 

Amusing

Amusing

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