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Posts tagged ‘herbs’

Mediterranean Cold Cous Cous Salad

Cous Cous salad

Cous Cous salad

No recipe required here, all you need is some Israeli Cous Cous and whatever vegetables you might like to add, make as much or as little as you want and adjust to your own personal preference, I am sure you know that there are two kinds of cous cous readily available there is a finer grain semolina and the Israeli which is much larger and when cooked al dente is nicely toothsome, it is my favorite and I use it all the time. It actually reminds me of Pastene which is almost identical in size and texture. I did not add onion or garlic although I think it would be good. For a milder onion flavor I used some chives. NOTE: Don’t skip the toasted pine nuts, they add so much to this salad.

Israeli cous cous

Israeli cous cous

I throw this salad together almost weekly, the ingredients vary depending on what I have that needs to be used. As shown, here is the list of ingredients:

Israeli Cous Cous

Fresh tomatoes



Feta Cheese

Fresh herbs, basil, parsley and chives

dried mint

toasted pine nuts

lemon juice

olive oil

salt and pepper

IMG_5790Make the cous cous first, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the cous cous and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from stove and pour into a strainer, run cold water over it to stop the cooking process, it’s ok if they are slightly hard. They will soften in the dressing and I recommend letting this sit for a few hours or even over night. I chop the tomatoes, add the herbs and olives and toss in the cous cous, toast the pine nuts and crumble the feta into the salad, squeeze some lemon and drizzle on the olive oil, do this according to however you like it. Season with salt and pepper. There is no right or wrong way to make this salad,  really!!!  Have fun with it.

How My Garden Grows, Hopefully…..

Farmers market finds

Farmers market finds

I am a notoriously bad gardener, I admit my limitations and unfortunately I am the kiss of death for plants. I don’t know why or what I do wrong. I can over and under water, put way too much compost and burn the roots, have too much or too little sun, not feed or prune because I am afraid of over pruning and feeding, The only plants that thrive for me are weeds. Despite my limitations and lack of ability every year I plant something, it will be good for a while and some years I get lucky and something actually works for me. Pictured above is my recent plant purchases, we’ll see how these do. I have some flowers, flat leaf parsley, cilantro, lime and Italian basil, rosemary, sage, creeping and regular thyme and spearmint.

One of the farmers at the market told me to come back in two weeks for a much better selection. I hope to get a few tomato plants, some thai basil and maybe a few other things that catch my eye.

The very handsome kitty in the photo’s is Justin, he was thrown out I believe, he is not feral but now he lives in my backyard, We have a kitty condo on my covered terrace for him and I have fed him every day for the last 3 1/2 years. We take him for checkups and vaccinations and he gets lots of attention from me and my friends. I cannot have him in the house because of my pugs and also severe allergies. He needs a home and is such a sweet cat, how can people just throw an animal away. It makes me so angry.


herbs and a Justin photobomb

So 2 weeks later I still had not put my plants in soil, very bad I know. I lost the 3 basil plants, they were seedlings and I think the snow we had a week ago killed them, or maybe it was me. Today I planted what was left. We’ll see how they do. I may re plant them in larger containers later on but at least I got them out of their little plastic containers and in pots with soil, they are happy now I think, well watered and in direct sunlight.


Herbs, cilanto, parsley, rosemary and sage

More herbs, chives

More herbs, chives, mint, thyme



Ricotta Polenta With Tomato Mushroom Sauce/Ragu

Creamy Polenta with Tomato and Mushrooms

Creamy Polenta with Tomato and Mushrooms

I posted this back in January 2012, it’s really delicious and worth posting again, I am not really doing any cooking because of my injury so I thought it would be fun to go back into the recesses of my blog and re post some of my recipes. This is a wonderful, filling vegetarian dish, you can of course add meat to the sauce but I love it with just vegetables. Tailor to however you like it, adding lots of fresh herbs, different types of mushrooms, I think eggplant would be wonderful. You don’t really have to follow a recipe for this.

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 cups whey or water

1 cup polenta (corn meal) I used stone ground

pinch of salt

1/2 cup ricotta (well drained)

2 tbs butter

black pepper (2 or 3 turns of the pepper mill)

In saucepan add the whey or water and pinch of salt, bring to a rolling boil. Whisk in the polenta, don’t dump it all in add slowly while you are whisking it thickens very quickly. Lower heat to low and continue whisking until its done. It takes approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat add the butter and stir, now add the ricotta. Stir until its all incorporated. Cover pan and set aside while you make the sauce.

8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced or whatever type of mushroom you like

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 28 oz can whole or chopped tomatoes

splash of white wine

2 clove garlic peeled and minced

1 whole shallot peeled and chopped

handful italian parsley chopped

olive oil for pan

salt and pepper to taste

Put some olive oil in a saute pan and heat on medium high. Add the shallots and cook until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook until they start to caramelize. Now add the mushrooms  and cook until the mushrooms lightly browned, add the tomato and wine and cook on med/high until sauce thickens approximately 30 minutes uncovered, I like to cook this in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add the chopped parsley.

Celery And Potato Gnocchi With Herb Sauce

Celery and Potato Gnocchi With Herb Sauce

I created this for the latest food52 contest, the ingredient we have to work with is celery. I found this pretty challenging, I like celery raw in salads as opposed to cooked. I struggled to find a different and creative way to use celery in a dish and I thought, gnocchi might be good venue for the celery challenge, my instincts were correct, the gnocchi have a subtle celery flavor and to dress them I made a quick, fresh herb sauce utilizing the leaves and thin stems of the celery, parsley, mint, garlic, butter and olive oil. The result is delicious and I am already thinking of ways to incorporate other vegetables in the gnocchi.

Serves 6


5 large stalks of celery cleaned and chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 large potato (I used russet)peeled and sliced in thick pieces

1 large egg at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp celery seed (optional to intensify celery flavor)

large pot of boiling water that is salted

Slice potato and celery and boil together. boil until they are very soft, drain and let cool in the strainer until they are just warm, press with a fork to remove any liquid. Add to food processor and process until smooth, add egg, salt, optional celery seed and 2 cups flour. Pulse until you have a cohesive but somewhat sticky dough add more flour and pulse if its too sticky. Dump the remaining cup of flour onto work surface and plop the dough on the flour, knead until you have a soft dough incorporating all the flour. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add enough salt so that the water is salty. Dust surface with more flour and cut dough into 8 pieces cover dough you are not working with with a clean kitchen towel. Roll a piece of dough with your hands until it forms a long (like a thick dowel) cylinder shape, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, If you want to get fancy roll each piece on the back side of a fork so you have tine marks, place gnocchi on floured sheet pan, dust with a little more flour, and cover until ready to cook, continue until all dough is used. This makes a substantial amount of gnocchi so use what you need for a meal place the others on a floured parchment lined baking sheet in one layer and freeze. Transfer to a freezer bag. Put the gnocchi in the boiling water and stir to separate them, they are done when they float to the top, remove with strainer and add directly to skillet with the sauce.


1/2 cup celery leaves with tender thin parts of the stalk finely chopped

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped

1 clove garlic minced

splash of olive oil for skillet

4 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted your choice)

Heat olive oil in skillet, add garlic and saute until soft add the butter and when butter has melted add the herbs, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Saute the gnocchi in the sauce for a few minutes, top with grated parmigiano or romano cheese.