Monday, August 05, 2013

Couscous Salad with Balsamic and Basil

...because you asked.


John usually makes this quick salad, but since he doesn't measure anything, here's my best attempt to duplicate his delicious version. 

-2 cups dry couscous, prepared according to package directions
-1 large white onion, chopped
- about 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tomatoes, diced in small pieces
-at least 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or cut chiffonade, more to taste
-olive oil
-balsamic vinegar (2+ tablespoons?)
-salt (1/2 - 1 tsp.?) and freshly ground pepper (1/4- 1/2 tsp.?)

Saute onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil until translucent and fairly soft and then add the minced or pressed garlic.  Cook over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes to cook and sweeten garlic.  Fluff cooked couscous and stir in the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and basil.  Whisk a bit of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and then stir into the couscous, mixing thoroughly.  Add salt, pepper, and more vinegar, to taste.

Best eaten at any temperature.  :)

Lemony Blueberry Bread


The first time I made this, I revamped a standard recipe but carelessly burned the loaf.  The second time I made it, I revamped the revamped recipe and achieved perfection, which is not a boastful statement because anyone can achieve perfection when lemon and blueberries pair up.  Give it a try.  I dare you!

 I like my lemon-blueberry bread heavy on the lemon, so be aware that the lemon flavor of this bread is not at all subtle.  (Please don't use this bread in making any analogies about my personality, either.)

Lemony Blueberry Bread 
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 - 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup confectioner's sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon juice, and eggs.  In a second bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir into egg mixture alternately with milk.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into a greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until bread tests done.  *I tent the loaf with aluminum foil after about 45 minutes to the top won't brown over-much.  Let rest in pan for 10 minutes before removing onto plate or cooling rack.   For glaze, mix lemon juice and confectioner's sugar until smooth and drizzle over slightly cooled loaf.

p.s.  If you have fresh lemons available, by all means stir a tablespoon or so of zest into the batter along with the blueberries.

Watch out.

 It disappears quickly...