The Sensitive Kitchen

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

International Couscous

The couscous is from Israel; the flavors are Southwestern; the name is a natural.

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
1 3/4 cups water or broth (I like Better than Bouillon)
1/2 tsp salt, less if using bouillon base
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Corn & Chile Salsa (to taste)
2 Tbsp minced cilantro
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime

Heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Allow it to melt, then to cook until it sizzles and froths. When it begins to turn brown and smells nutty, add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Add couscous; stir to coat well with butter. Add water, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot. When pot comes to boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 12 minutes or until water is absorbed and couscous is chewy-firm. Stir in salsa, cilantro and lime juice. Serves 6 as a side dish.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pinto Bean Mash-up

My version of homemade refried beans, made possible by a good friend with a cooktop. All amounts are very approximate: winging it is half the fun.

1 Tbsp light olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeños, to taste, seeded and minced
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp cumin, to taste
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 sprig epazote (optional)
2 cups pinto beans, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked for 1 hour in boiling water, drained
juice of 1 lime
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Good salt to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in pressure cooker or large heavy-bottomed pot. Saute onion, garlic and jalapeño in oil until onion is translucent. Add spices; continue to cook, stirring, until onion begins to brown. Add soaked pinto beans and fresh water to cover. Cook until beans test done and smash easily with the back of a spoon. There should not be too much liquid. Mash beans to taste - I like them partially so, with some whole beans remaining - and stir in lime juice, tomatoes and cilantro. Salt liberally to taste.