Good evening everyone. It has been awhile since my last blog post and I must get back to consistency. Earlier this week I had the pleasure to host a trial run of cooking class in a joint venture with Nancy Abuaisheh of Nancy’s Candy and Spice located in Downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia. It’s a delectable shop filled with the scent of aromatic spices from all over the world along with the best tasting sweets that will leave your mouth and senses craving for more. We had an awesome time sharing and celebrating our passion for food, cooking, friends, fellowship and life. I presented two recipes for the guests that were received with enthusiasm, appreciation and sincerity. I featured a winter green salad with feta cheese, pistachios and chickpeas with lemon vinaigrette. The next recipe is a Mediterranean Cous Cous infused with Saffron and Pomegranate. Here are the recipes from last night.
Winter Garden Salad with Field Greens, Feta, Pistachios with Herb Vinaigrette
- 2 bags (5oz.) of Organic Field Greens (chilled)
- 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed)
- 3 oz. pistachios (roasted, salted and shelled)
- 3 oz. fresh feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp. of fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 bottle of herb vinaigrette (good quality)
- 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz. of fresh lemon zest
- Fresh grind sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Add diced tomatoes and sliced English cucumbers (optional)
First place field greens in large bowl. Add chickpeas and pistachios and set aside. Do not mix. This is your salad base. Next take herb vinaigrette (shake vigorously) and place in small bowl. Add chopped oregano, feta cheese, lemon juice and zest with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk everything together for a minute or so. This is your flavor profile. Add the flavored vinaigrette to the salad base and toss with your hands lightly for a few minutes until greens are coated with vinaigrette. Add a bit of salt and pepper to bring the flavors out. Plate up on chilled salad plates and serve with warm crusty French baguette or warm pita bread. Serve immediately.
Mediterranean Vegetable Cous Cous infused Saffron and Pomegranate
In this recipe if pomegranate is not available use pomegranate juice and add a few ounces in the cooking process with the aromatic vegetables.
- 1 medium eggplant ( small diced and burped***)
- 1 small red onion, diced small
- 1 each of red, green and yellow pepper (small dice)
- 2 oz. of EVOO
- 1 pomegranate or 2 oz. of pomegranate juice
- 1/3 bunch of chopped cilantro
- 3 each of fresh mint and oregano, chopped
- ½ tbsp. of cumin and turmeric
- (1 lb. box) of cous cous
- 1 qt. of vegetable or chicken broth
- Cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
- The key to the recipe is to build flavor and texture with the cous cous as the highlight
Before cooking the cous cous which takes just a few minutes cook the aromatic vegetables and set aside.
Add EVOO in to medium heated skillet. Add onions, peppers, herb mix and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add eggplant and cook and sauté for additional 3-4 minutes until eggplant begins to take on some browning on each side. Add pomegranate juice and turn off heat and stir liberally to enhance the flavor. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
In medium pot heat broth and heat to boil about 4 minutes. Add saffron (or turmeric) with ground cumin and stir in for a few seconds. Add cous cous in a steady stream and quickly stir for a few seconds like you would polenta or cream of wheat. Add additional fresh herb mix about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Place lid on top and remove from heat for 3-5 minutes. Take lid off and fluff cous cous with a fork. Add cooked vegetables and mix with wooden spoon for a few minutes. As an option you can add diced dried apricots or dried cranberries for an added texture and natural sweetness. Serve immediately.
The burping of the eggplant which means adding salt to the diced eggplant before application will extract the excess of water and moisture within the eggplant that will make the eggplant hold its firmness rather than rubbery and soggy.
We had a great time! If you’re looking for some sweet treats to cap off an evening or Friday stop by Nancy’s Candy & Spice and tell her that Chef Donnell referred you for a special treat. She has some awesome candies. The eggnog coated almonds are to die for amongst her many sweet treats. So stop by, its worth the trip. She’s located in downtown Lawrenceville on West Crogan Street next to Dominick’s Italian Restaurant.
Nancy’s Candy & Spice
Nuts, Fried Fruit, Candy and Spices
186 West Crogan Street Lawrencville, GA 30045
Look for the next post soon!