Bon Voyage!

November 13, 2007

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Last day in Paris and here’s what you do with Quick Tomato Sauce: Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over 1/2 cup of couscous. Add salt and a little butter or olive oil. Cover and steep for 3 or 4 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Pour sauce on top, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and stir in a couple of tablespoon of heavy cream or crème fraîche. Serve with a fresh baguette. Fabulous!

Nationwide strike beginning here tonight for trains, buses, and Métro. ‘Perturbations’ are expected to be extreme. If you don’t hear from us for a couple of days, we’re stuck in transit. But, with luck, we’ll see you soon Stateside.

Ciao,

Sam & Harry

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Curried Red Dal

September 5, 2007

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Like New Orleans red beans and rice, this hot, spicy lentil stew is the ultimate in comfort food. It’s great in winter made with canned tomatoes, but fresh summer tomatoes take it to new heights. Serve it with Pickled Slaw and Raita, that cooling combination of yogurt and cucumber

, and bask in the compliments. SAM

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound new potatoes
3 cups water, divided
1 cup red lentils
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin
1/3 cup marsala wine or dry sherry
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
4 cups fresh peeled, chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in juice
Sea salt to taste

Set aside one slice of onion. In a large chef’s pan sweat the remaining onions in 1 tablespoon oil until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Rinse the lentils and place in a medium chef’s pan with 3 cups water and the reserved slice of onion. Simmer, covered, until soft and flaky, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the garlic and bay leaf. When the onions are sweated, raise the heat to medium high and add the curry powder and cumin. Stir until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the lentil mixture, potatoes, black beans, and tomatoes and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until creamy, about 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or couscous with Pickled Slaw and Raita, or thin with yogurt, cream, or water for soup.
Makes 3 quarts.


Pesto Couscous Salad

July 13, 2007

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When it’s too darn hot to cook, reach for couscous. You may know this incredibly-easy-to-fix, North African semolina as a great bed for hearty vegetable and meat stews. What you’ll be happy to know this summer is that couscous makes a perfect hot weather salad. Mix it with a little Pesto and pile it on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, whatever summer bounty strikes your fancy. Add olives and flatbread, and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time. SAM

1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 cup uncooked couscous
3 to 4 tablespoons Pesto
1 large head romaine or Bibb lettuce
4 ounces mache or watercress
Thinly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and/or zucchini
4 ounces Mustard Vinaigrette

In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt, oil, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Place the couscous in a small mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over it, cover, and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add the Pesto, mixing gently but thoroughly. Mix the salad greens and add as many vegetables as you’d like. Dress with vinaigrette or oil and vinegar. Divide the salad among four plates and top with 1/4 of the couscous. Stir gently to mix.
Makes 4 servings.