Category Archives: Salad

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve been spending too much money on lunch lately and was looking for a filling, delicious salad that I could make instead. I had figs, I had hazelnuts, I had Israeli Couscous. It was a start! What was it missing? Cheese! And I guess some sort of salady something to make it pretty and healthier. And so this salad was born:

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

It was really freaking delicious. My recipe was enough for four very satisfying lunches. I love it when I can eat a salad for lunch and actually feel full! If you’re wondering why I chose Israeli Couscous (other than the fact that I had it in my pantry) it’s because I thought it would work better in a salad than the regular, smaller couscous. It mixed in well with everything, and didn’t really sink to the bottom. I used a baby spinach based mix the first time I made this, and a regular baby greens mix the next time. I say you should just pick what you like!

Israeli Couscous, Figs, Goat cheese, spinach salad

I went home this past weekend, and thought it would be nice to make it for my family’s Memorial Day picnic. I chose to double the recipe, and it made for a very delightful picnic salad. Also it was super convenient because I was able to make it the day before. People seemed to like it, and I promised I would have the recipe on my website, and I never lie! I’d write a more fun story, but I have lots of homework to pretend to do now.

Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
 
A perfect summer-time salad with a very simple lemon dressing.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup dried figs, quartered
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 5 oz baby greens mix (spinach, baby lettuce, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the couscous in lightly salted water according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large bowl mix cooked couscous, figs, toasted hazelnuts, and olive oil. Cover and let cool in refrigerator at least 10 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add goat cheese and salad.
  5. Toss with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Keep chilled before serving.

If you aren’t sure how to toast hazelnuts, here’s how I do it:

On the stop top, spread the chopped hazelnuts out in an ungreased pan. Keep heat on medium/medium-low, stir hazelnuts frequently until they are lightly toasted. Make sure you watch them so they don’t burn! It should only take a few minutes. Remove them to a separate bowl once finished, so they don’t continue to cook in the hot pan!

Wine Poached Figs

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls

Figs! For my Eat Write Retreat Culinary Apps Challenge I received a box of California Figs in the mail and had to come up with an amazing appetizer featuring them. I have never  cooked with figs before, so this was actually really exciting for me. Since I have no notion of what to do with them, I can just go crazy, right? Right! Luckily there was a handy information packet included in the box with the figs. For example, I didn’t realize that they are known to be a part of a Mediterranean diet. This is quite useful, because I wanted to try to eat a more Mediterranean style diet for the next few weeks so I can learn how to cook fish. Now I have all these figs that I should try to incorporate into this plan! Also, just 3-5 figs give you 5 grams of dietary fiber, so that’s pretty awesome too!

 

Wine Poached Figs

When I think of appetizers, I always think of some sort of something on some sort of bowl or plate made of food. Real specific, I know. So for this challenge I decided to go with a bowl shape. In my research, I found lots of recipes with figs being wrapped in other ingredients, like prosciutto. I figured this is a good chance to change things up a bit and rolled prosciutto, Pecorino Romano cheese, and dried basil into a pie crust, and used that as a bowl. And it worked!  Bonus: the pie bowls can be made the day before!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

The majority were shaped with the prosciutto facing up, because I was worried the cheese might stick to the pan. The four that faced down didn’t stick at all, and looked really cool. Next time I’ll definitely make them all like that.

bottom

See, these look just fine, and didn’t stick at all!

I wanted to make sure I kept the figgyness of the figs figgy. I like the texture of them and wanted to use other ingredients to enhance their flavor. I still felt the need to alter them in some way, so I poached them in white wine, honey, and a bit of orange juice. I used Pinot Grigio, and it was fantastic.

with wine

And then I obviously had a glass of wine too

With the shipment of figs I also received some tools from OXO. They really came in handy. Especially that measuring cup that twists up! It was perfect for measuring the honey and getting it to actually pour out of the cup. The cheese grater worked really well too!

Tray

And, to make this all even better, I made it for Mother’s Day so my parents were able to be my test dummies!

Ok, is it recipe time yet?

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Savory prosciutto pie bowls and a figs poached in a lightly sweet dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust, thawed
  • 1.5 oz prosciutto, chopped
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 6 dried figs, halved
  • 1 cup Spring Mix salad, loosely packed and ripped into smaller pieces
  • Optional Garnishes: grated Pecorino Romano, and orange zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. In a small pan, cook prosciutto until it's lightly crispy, and remove to a paper towel lined bowl and let cool.
  3. Roll out pie dough, and evenly sprinkle cheese, basil, and ¾ of the prosicutto. Press into dough, then use a rolling pin to lightly roll ingredients into the dough.
  4. Cut into small circles, and shape to fit into mini-muffin pan cups. Lightly prick each with a fork.
  5. Bake 6-9 minutes, or until lightly browned. If made the day before, store in an airtight container.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring wine, honey, and orange juice to a simmer. Add halved figs, and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove figs, and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  7. Toss salad with the remaining ¼ of prosciutto and 1 Tbsp of warm poaching liquid. Place leaves into pie bowls, and top each with a piece of fig. Garnish with orange zest and romano cheese.
White Wine Poached Figs
Lemony Farro Salad

Lemon Farro Salad

I had a lot of fun learning how to cook with farro and I wish I knew about this when I was a vegetarian because it is really easy to cook, super filling, and it seems to be very versatile. The reason I decided to try it this week is because I received free samples from the Eat Write Retreat Scholarship Challenge to win a ticket to their conference in Philly this year. The contest is being run by Tuscan Fields, who sent out samples of farro to all of the contestants.

My samples were Farro Perlato (organic semi-pearled Emmer) and Farro ai Funghi (organic semi-pearled Farro with ‘Porcini’ mushrooms”.  Both were delicious. And obviously I had to make two different recipes with them so I could play around and see how awesome these little farro fellas are. I wanted to make one hot and one cold dish to see what temperature I prefer farro. I like both! I decided to keep the recipes simple because this is a learning experience for me. Now I need to buy more farro and try some crazy recipes with it! This recipe was my favorite of the two, so I chose it to be my entry to the contest. It was also my cousin’s favorite, so I have to make it for her again because it is the perfect salad to bring to work for lunch!

So what did the farro look like uncooked?

farro

Pretty, right?

So what did it look like cooked?

Lemony Farro Salad

 A couple side-notes before we get started: I used a rotisserie chicken and cut up all the white meat from it for this (I ate the rest of it in the meantime…this was after work and I was hungry!). Obviously you can just cook a couple pieces of chicken breast instead if you want. For cooking the farro, I pretty much just followed the directions on the back of the box. Also, I would go light overall with salt since the feta adds a lot of salty flavor at the end.

On to the recipe!!

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